When scening, SaM and I engage in what is commonly called Role Playing. That term, in the past, gave me quite a bit of a problem. You see, like many kinksters of my generation, I grew up with tabletop role playing. Whether it was AD&D (2nd ed, of course), Rifts, Cyberpunk or any number of serious or silly game systems.
As I got older, and encountered the term within the context of kink, it always left me wondering just how in the world you could keep a straight face in the bedroom with that. The cliche of “I’m the evil wizard and you are the helpless elven princess, muahahaha!” really doesn’t do anything for us. If we need that level of characterization, we pull out the books and the dice and the character sheets and go to town.
Role playing in scene is, for us at least, much more subtle than that. We get to put on a face, a facade, a personality, that is not necessarily our “normal” one. There are a number of expressions, words or actions within a scene that we each wear to elicit a desired reaction out of the other or to enhance the sense of unreality of the scene.
Calling her a slut, a bitch or other such terms of endearment (heh) in scene are normal, given a certain mood. Her calling me master or similar is also normal in a scene.
I wear expressions in scene that are not normal for me in my mundane life. I sneer, I smirk, I’m very stern and demanding. Derision is a common mode for me at times when she’s being particularly shy about some command I’ve given her. Likewise, she’s shy, or petulant, or obstinent or even derisive in scene. She’s also submissive, or if things are going well near the end of a scene, completely wanton and begging for more.
None of these are feelings, emotions or expressions that even occur to me to wear during our day to day life outside of that role. Each of us deliberately wears, or allows, those emotions and expressions for the purpose of eliciting a response from the other, knowing that it is all part of the Role we’ve each taken on that evening.
During our day to day life, we’re affectionate, playful, and flirtatious. During scene, we’re often aggressive, cruel, manipulative, calculating and sadistic or submissive as the mood calls for.
As with the talbetop role-playing we did as young people, and even today engage in at times, when the game is over, we put away the dice, or the floggers, and go back to the real world. The things said in the bedroom stay there.
We trust each other, implicitly, to leave it there. We each know who we are, at our core, and that being called a slut in scene does not mean that SaM is a slut out of scene, nor does calling her a slut in scene mean that I think she is one, out of scene.
There are many things we both do and say in scene that fall under that same understanding. Once you realize that it really is as simple as ‘I say that to you because I love that look in your eyes” or “I allow you to do that to me because I love the way it feels and how it makes you so hard when you do it”, the rest is nothing but joy and love and adventure and oh, so awesomely erotic and sexy.
Something I see on a lot of beginner’s forums in the BDSM community is the question of how to get a sub to tell you what she wants. I also see subs asking how to tell her top what she wants. These aren’t really the same question, but I’m going to deal with them both here; as well as the corollary question of how to tell your top/sub what you want.
Both SAM and I talk a lot on here about communication. Without it, what we do borders way too closely on abuse. Being able to openly discuss uncomfortable, embarrassing or scary topics is a part of what makes our relationship as solid as it is.
There are two different places where communication is important. In scene and out of scene. In scene both of us need to be able to tell the other what is needed, to communicate mood, arousal, ideas, etc. Out of scene we must be able to talk to each other about what went right, what we enjoyed and most importantly what we didn’t enjoy or what went wrong; even if it wasn’t a safe-word situation.
This is a little earlier than I’d planned on publishing a second post, but a friend e-mailed me a pretty excellent question.
“Where the line is drawn between submission and abuse, from the perspective of the dom? For example, how does the dom know, when he says “you filthy whore”, that he is meeting the requirements of his sub and not emotionally abusing her, unless they have carefully laid out a blow-by-blow playbook in advance? It reminds me of what the old oval track racers used to say, “There’s no such thing as going too fast, until you crash. Then its too late.”
First, that’s what initial negotiations and discussions about limits are for. For some people, name-calling is a major turn-on. For some other people, it’s never, never okay under any circumstances. There’s no way to know in advance, unless you ask. Any responsible dom will ask a potential sub “What are your hard limits?” Any responsible sub will be very direct and honest about stating what those limits are.