What Are Your Limits?

This line is the, “What’s your sign?” of the BDSM community.

When I started out in the kink lifestyle, I had a fairly long list of hard limits, but toward the end of my involvement in the community, my list had whittled down to just four things: no kids, no animals, no permanent marks, no scat. From the conversations I’ve had, these are pretty typical hard limits.

Sometimes people would also say, “no death,” which I thought should go without saying. As if someone might respond, “You’re not into death? Bummer! That’s totally my thing! I like to murder the person I’m dating. Guess it’s not going to work out between us. Let me know if you ever change your mind.” Or during a play session someone might think, Well, she never said death was a hard limit, so I guess she’s cool with it if I kill her. I figured if I ever had the misfortune of meeting a murderous fiend off the internet, he’d probably kill me regardless of if death was on my hard limits list or not. Not everyone I met in the BDSM lifestyle was… shall we say, the brightest bulb in the box, though.

The fact that my hard limits list was so short was emblematic of my unhealthy boundaries. I thought so little of myself that I would have let a guy do almost anything to me in exchange for a little attention.

These days I’m taking much better care of myself. My boundaries still need some work, but they are getting there. If someone were to ask me now what my hard limits are, in addition to the sparse list mentioned above, I’d add: no sex outside of an exclusive relationship, no objectification, no lies, no disrespect.

What are your hard limits and/or healthy boundaries?

Leigh and The Fun House

A few years back, I had just ended a relationship, of sorts, with Anthony. I was still obsessively hung up on him and hoping we would reconcile so I wasn’t ready to start dating again. I was, however, quite ready to start having sex again. I turned to my old friend/foe craigslist.

At the time, I was very into the dominant daddy/submissive little girl roleplay dynamic so I searched for “daddy” under m4w in casual encounters. I had plenty of choices. I don’t remember what the text of Leigh’s ad said, but I do remember he posted a charming picture of his penis.

I met Leigh the next day for coffee. He was a few years younger than me and a recent college grad from a fancy private school. Leigh was very good looking and seemed normal enough. He told me where he lived and I knew the apartment building. It was a nice place. He also brought his adorable puppy with him, a black lab. All of this made me feel safe.

Since there were no red flags (and since he was hot) I agreed to meet Leigh at his place the following evening. His place was nice, and he also had a cat. I usually have pretty good instincts that tell me when I’m in danger, but the fact that Leigh was an animal lover with two pets (he also claimed to be a vegetarian) perhaps gave me a false sense of security. Wrong or not, when I picture a serial killer, I don’t see a vegetarian with pets.

We had a couple of glasses of wine and then started making out on his couch. He took off my clothes, put a blindfold on me and then led me to his bedroom, where we proceeded to have sex. At some point he also tied my hands behind my back. I met him knowing we were going to engage in D/s play, so the blindfold and the restraints, while maybe not a good idea, were inline with what we had discussed before hooking up.

The sex was good. Maybe a little too good. I asked if he was wearing a condom. He assured me he was. It didn’t feel like it, though. I began to get a little paranoid that this guy who I’d just met was fucking me without a condom. I asked him again and he got mad at me, said I wasn’t being a good sub.

Eventually he untied my hands and flipped me on my back. Bad sub that I was, I took the opportunity to remove the blindfold. Surprise, surprise. Not only was this stranger who I had just met on craigslist inside of me without a condom, he was also holding a video camera.

My immediate impulse was to knock the camera out of his hands, which I did. Then I demanded that he erase what he had filmed. This asshole had the nerve to get pissed at me, claiming I had broken his camera (I hadn’t). He then attempted some smoke and mirrors bullshit while he fiddled around with the camera, claiming to delete the video, which I still don’t think he actually did. He also was pissed that I had “ruined” his film. He apparently was planning the big reveal for a more dramatic moment. Sadly, this wasn’t the first time I’d had a throw down with a sex partner over a camera. You can read about the first time here.

At this point, I was in a situation that any sexually adventurous young woman could have gotten into. I had met Leigh in public, felt safe with him, and agreed to go to his apartment the next day. I had even let a friend know where I was and texted the address to her before I went. I’d been responsible enough and there were no warning signs that this guy was a creep. Here’s what separates a “normal” sexually adventurous young woman from me, a sex and love addict with unhealthy boundaries: I didn’t get the hell out of there. I stayed and continued fucking him (but made him put on a condom).

He was pretty rough, which I was into, but he was also into slapping me in the face, which I wasn’t into. He slapped me so hard that the next day little purple spots, broken blood vessels, decorated my eyelids.

When the sex was over, things started to get really weird. I was in his bathroom, sitting on the toilet, peeing, when all of the sudden he bursts in and just stands there, like an idiot. “Um, do you mind? I’m trying to pee.” He continued to stand there with a huge grin on his face. “What the fuck are you doing? Get out!” I screamed. No reaction. “Please leave!” I told him. Leigh leaned over and kissed me full, on the lips, then finally left. What a weirdo.

When I got out of the bathroom, I found Leigh standing over my purse, with my cell phone is his hands. He was going through my text messages. “Wow, you really have a lot of Daddies, you little slut!”

“What the fuck is wrong with you? Give me my phone back!”

Leigh went into grade school mode, holding the phone above my head, just out of my reach, laughing hysterically as he continued going through my texts. This was a grown man, a college graduate with his own apartment.

I was not in the mood for this childish bullshit. I went to find my shoes, so I could leave. But I couldn’t find them. This motherfucker had hidden my shoes. I used to do this same brilliant move to extend playtime with my cousins when I was five and it was time for them to go home. “Where did you put my shoes?” I asked, exhausted.

“Why would I put your shoes anywhere?” Um, because you’re a psycho, I thought.

We got into an argument with me searching his place, demanding that he give my shoes back, and him insisting that he hadn’t hidden them. The conclusion of this was him reaching under one of his couch cushions, and thrusting my shoes at me with a, “Here! They’re just where you left them!… under the couch cushion.”

At last, it was time to leave Leigh’s fun house. He walked me to my car and kissed me good night. He told me he’d had a nice time and wanted to see me again, acting like we’d just gone to dinner and a movie. I would have been sick enough to see him again, if he had ever called me. But he never did.

The Downward Spiral

There is no easy way to say it. I’ve been fucking up left and right. The holidays were extremely hard on me and my recovery. While I haven’t quite had a full on relapse, I am headed there. Here’s a list of my bottom lines (the behaviors I am supposed to be abstaining from to be considered sober) and how I’ve been acting out on them.

1. No sex, dating, or romantic involvement with married/attached or otherwise unavailable men
     Last week I was in contact with Paolo, a former lover. He now has a girlfriend. I saw him online and we had an extremely sexually charged conversation. I told him that I was currently in a relationship. This is a lie that usually helps get me out of trouble, but it seemed to only encourage him. “It’s not cheating if I break in and rape you,” he said. This actually isn’t as fucked up as it sounds, because while we were seeing each other we had talked about rape fantasy. In my head, I tried to justify this. If I just happened to give him my new address, and then just happened to leave my door unlocked at a specified date and time, and he just happened to show up and force himself on me, this wouldn’t be acting out, right? Luckily, my window of opportunity has passed on this one, because he is out of the country for the next month, and when he gets back he’ll be living with his girlfriend.
     There is also SN. I haven’t gone on a date with him yet, but I’ve been in heavy contact with this guy, a dominant, who is in an open relationship with his submissive. We have been speaking daily and have had phone sex. I’ve also watched him masturbate on cam. We have tentative plans to meet tonight, but I will probably cancel. The flirtation with these two guys isn’t new. Looking back on past blog entries, I wrote about both of them  back in August. Making plans to meet them is new, though.

2. No sex outside of a committed relationship
     This is the one bottom line I haven’t broken. It’s a big one. Breaking this one would constitute a full relapse.

3. No reading, answering or posting ads on craigslist personals
     Two days ago I answered a casual encounter ad. I’ve been talking to the guy quite a bit since then. He actually seems like a decent guy and we have a lot of non-sexual things in common. I’m thinking of telling him about SLAA and how I can’t have sex outside of a committed relationship and see if he still wants to meet me. My sponsor gave me the go ahead that I could start dating again in January. I am most certain she didn’t have CL casual encounters in mind as a venue for meeting appropriate people, though.

4. No contact with my qualifier (HC)
     Yep, I blew this one too. I emailed him a few days before Christmas and we have been in contact ever since. I hadn’t contacted him in more than seven months. I have no plans to see him or have sex with him ever again. Our emails are friendly and completely non-sexual. I know where things will lead if I keep in contact with him, and I sure as hell don’t want that again.

5. No spying (online or otherwise) on qualifier or anyone associated with him
    I suck. I do this every day now.

I also have four middle lines, which are behaviors I am only supposed to be engaging in with extreme caution. They are: contact with anyone I have had sexual or romantic involvement with in the past; phone conversations with men that last more than 20 minutes; masturbation; and using pornography. I am doing all of these things daily, and with not a lot of caution.

I feel so lost. I have no idea how to find my way back on track. Things aren’t as bad as they could be, I know this, but they are headed there fast. Because I need a reminder myself, here is a link to the blog I wrote three months ago today, reminiscing on what things were like just before I started my recovery. Today, I would have 6 months of sobriety. Some people would argue that I am still sober, because I am sticking to one of my bottom lines. I don’t feel sober, though. I feel like I am spiraling out of control.

Don Draper? I Think Not.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on AMC's Mad Men

I had a low-key, yet lovely Thanksgiving holiday this year.

Last year’s celebration was a bigger affair. I went out of town for an extended family get-together. Although I had a lot of fun with my relatives, the thing that stands out the most from that trip was the relentless texts I kept receiving from a man I’ll call, “Creepy Daddy,” and all the maneuvers I had to preform to keep my cell phone and these creepy texts away from my young cousins who kept wanting to play with my phone.

“Creepy Daddy” isn’t a great pseudonym, because it could apply to at least half-a-dozen other men from my past, but that’s all I can think of right now, so let’s just go with it.

I met Creepy Daddy on a BDSM site. He had a couple of tightly cropped face photos and a well-written profile. As an opening he sent an email about the show Mad Men, saying that my pictures reminded him of one of the characters from that show and how he fancied himself a modern-day Don Draper. Today if some dude told me that he sees Don Draper as a role-model, I would probably run the other direction. A year ago, though; rich, powerful, successful, good-looking, smooth and dominant Don Draper was my shallow ideal. A side note: I briefly thought about using the pseudonym “Don” for Creepy Daddy, but, as you’ll soon find out, the name doesn’t really apply.

Mad Men is one of my favorite shows and Creepy D’s email was clever and charming so I sent him my phone number.  He called me a few minutes later. He told me that he was calling me from the lobby of a movie theater, where he was watching some kid movie with his eight-year-old twin sons. I found the fact that he must have been sitting in this kids’ movie with his sons using his smartphone to email girls on a fetish site slightly disturbing, and the fact that he left his kids alone in the theater to call me even more so. Actually, I find all that disturbing now, but at the time I was thinking; Wow. He must really like me. 

The next day we talked on the phone for a looooong time. I have ADHD and long phone calls can make me pretty restless, but Creepy D was impossible to get off the phone. The conversation would wind down and I’d say I have to go, then Creepy D would start on a new topic and wind it right up again. We spent almost all day on the phone… at least that’s what it felt like.

We ended up having phone sex. Phone sex was one of my favorite past times back then, but phone sex with Creepy D consisted of lots of sexy (to him)/shuddersome (to me) baby talk. “Let Dada touch your pretty little cunny,” later followed by, “Give Daddy your cummy;” are two of the ickiest lines that I remember. Creepy D also constantly talked about his ex, whom he was obsessed with (not like I’m in any place to call someone out on his obsessions). She was 18, and he payed her college tuition and rent for her. He also fondly recalled that she would introduce him to her friends as her father. He hoped some day he could do this with me. He was only about 15 years older than me, but I look young. When I was meeting guys online, especially ones into this particular fetish, I would frequently shave about five years off of my age.

After a week or two, I met Creepy D for dinner. He took me to an expensive restaurant that I had always wanted to try. I know this sounds awful, but when I saw him, I was a little embarrassed to be there with him. First of all, he had totally misrepresented himself physically. In all fairness, I am a Size 16 living in a town where the beauty ideal is a Size 2. However, when meeting guys online, I always made sure to clearly represent what I look like and to send several full-length pictures. He was not what I was expecting, and I was not attracted to him. The second reason I was embarrassed was by his outfit. He was well-dressed… if you consider getting dressed up like a dandy  going to a cotillion, to go to a restaurant where every other dude is wearing business casual, well-dressed. He told me previously that Don Draper was his style icon, but he was dressed more like Nucky Thompson (a plus-sized version) from Boardwalk Empire. If our date was taking place in prohibition era Atlantic City, he would have looked dapper; but in 2010 he looked like he was wearing a Halloween costume.

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in HBO's Boardwalk Empire

Although he wasn’t my cup of tea, Creepy D was pleasant enough. He also ordered two very nice bottles of wine, which helped make the evening more palatable. Also, he kept doing this thing where he would offer to take me to some event and then say, “Of course, I’ll take you shopping beforehand to buy you a new outfit” or, “I don’t think your apartment is in a very safe neighborhood, we’ll have to look into getting you a place in a more secure building.” He kept talking about all the stuff he would buy for me. I have always considered myself a feminist (even when I was heavy into being a submissive) so the idea of being a kept woman didn’t sit well with me; but at the same time I’m a cheapskate who likes nice stuff I can seldom afford. With this in mind, I agreed to see him again.

Soon after that I had to go out of town for Thanksgiving, then Creepy D had to go out of town for work, then I went out of town for Christmas. He also had custody of his kids every other weekend. During this time we kept in touch with loooong phone conversations that I found almost unbearable. He kept up the gross sexual baby talk, but also talked a lot about all the stuff he was going to buy me. While I never encouraged this talk, I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t what was enticing me. “Dada wants to make his sweet baby cummy,” made me want to barf, but I put up with it because he would also say, “I’m going to take you to Nordstrom on our next date. Baby deserves some new clothes.”

I guess I got a little bad about returning his phone calls, and started responding with texts. I also asked him to please tone down the baby talk. After Christmas I called him up and asked when this Nordstrom shopping spree was to take place. Though, my actual words were, “When can I see you again, Daddy?”

“I’m going to be frank with you,” he said. “I’m getting the impression that you are only interested in me for my money, that’s why my last relationship ended and I don’t want to go through that again.” What? How dare you call me out so accurately!

But instead of ‘fess up, I decided to be a bitch. I made some quip about how he was only attracted to barely-legal teens and child abuse victims, which from what he told me about all of his exes is probably accurate, but not very nice. Then I hung up on him and blocked him. I may have many talents, but blowing smoke up the asses of rich Sugar Daddies isn’t one of them.

Although I just wrote an essay making fun of Creepy D (and calling him Creepy D throughout), I think the guy is most likely a sex and love addict like myself. I’m thankful for my recovery, and I pray for the sex and love addict who still suffers.

A Fat Cock and a Fat Wallet

While I was active in my addiction, I met most of the men I “dated” on a BDSM personals site. For years, I had a sweet, innocent, good-little-submissive-girl profile. I don’t remember what it said exactly. “Looking for daddy, blah, blah, don’t have much experience, something, something, educated, professional, good girl, blah, blah, lady on the streets freak in the sheets, yada, yada, loving, caring daddy dom, etc. etc.” This profile underwent many changes over the years, but the gist of it was always that I was a sweet girl who didn’t have much experience in the lifestyle (lies!), that I was looking for something monogamous and wouldn’t date anyone who was attached to someone else (more lies), and I wanted to find a good, normal guy (unintentional lies) that just happened to be a kinkster.

In the year leading up to my recovery, my interest the kink lifestyle began to wane. Wane, but not disappear. I still occasionally met people off of the BDSM site. Though, most of the time I was now spending on the site was looking for ridicule-worthy profiles to laugh at and email my sub friends. One day I decided to to create a second profile that reflected what I was really looking for. The text of this profile was as follows: “Not going to lie, I’m on here looking for a dude with a fat cock and a fat wallet. Please do not email me unless you have both.” Of course, I got tons of well-deserved hate mail; but to my crazy brain, it was all highly entertaining.

Looking back, I realize how delusional I was at the time. I had nothing going on in my life but pursuing and obsessing over unavailable men, yet I would haughtily laugh at other people’s emails and profiles. Like I was such a prize? Sure, no one wants a socially inept, unemployed “dom” who lives in his mommy’s basement; but no one wants some smart-ass, underemployed, clingy, obsessive “sub” with major abandonment issues, either. And if they do, it’s for a good time, not for a long time.

Even though my inappropriate second profile didn’t deserve anything other than derision and hate mail, I actually met someone not awful from it. Mr. FCFW was everything his name implied. He was also married. Unlike HC, he never lied about it (not to me, at least; I’m sure there was plenty of lying to his wife). We slept together a few times, and then became platonic friends. He was supposed to be my “sugar daddy,” but I’ve never gotten more than a few beers out of him.

I still talk to Mr. FCFW frequently. In fact, he’s really the only heterosexual male I interact with on a one-on-one basis. I have some mixed feelings about this friendship. Sometimes our conversations get a little flirty (almost always initiated by me). Sometimes I even slip into calling him “Daddy.” And then there is the fact that he has a wife and a family that know nothing about me. That being said, he is a good man. He never has anything but glowing things to say about his wife and his kids. He is very supportive of my recovery from sex/love addiction. I know that he respects me enough to never do anything sexual with me again.

I don’t know if this friendship will stand the test of time. At some point in the future of my recovery I (or my sponsor) might decide that it’s too inappropriate. He might get tired of my neediness (we may just be friends, but I am a neeeedy friend), or we might just outgrow each other. For today, though, I’m glad that Mr. FCFW is one of my friends.

Jane

Growing up, both of my parents worked a lot. When I was in elementary school, I got dropped off at a daycare center on my school’s campus about 6:30am, then didn’t get picked up until 6pm. I was usually the first and last kid there, Monday through Friday, from Kindergarden through 6th grade. While I’m sure that spending the bulk of my formative years (at least during the hours I was awake) in the care of adults who were not my parents had all kinds of negative impact on my psyche, I’ll have to save that sob story for another day. In this post, I want to focus on the friendships I formed at this daycare center, and on one friendship in particular.

I became “best friends” with Jane in first grade. She was in third grade. If you have kids, work with kids, or know any kids; you probably realize that the developmental differences between a six year old and an eight year old are huge. Most eight year olds don’t want to hang around with six year olds. Jane did, though. I wasn’t her only six-year-old-friend either. There was a third girl named Jillian. Jane was the Queen Bee and Jillian and I were her devoted followers.

Jane would pit Jillian and I against each other. She would set up competitions between us, where we would have to prove who was the better friend. The winner would be awarded things like sleepovers at Jane’s house, and titles like “Jane’s Best Friend.” Competitions usually tested how devoted we were to Jane and what lengths we were willing to go to for her. Jillian eventually moved away, but I still had to constantly vie for Jane’s friendship.

One time she made me ingest soap. She got a handful of powdered soap in her hand, then forcibly held my head over it with her other hand and would not let me go until I snorted the soap out of her hand. I remember sneezing and crying all at the same time, and a horrible burring sensation in my entire respiratory tract. For some sick reason, though, I still wanted desperately to be Jane’s friend. When the teacher asked me why I had snorted soap, I said something stupid like, “I wanted to see what it smelled like,” instead of, “That sick bitch Jane forced me to.”

Another time she stuck some putty in my long, curly ringlets that my teachers and later my mom could not extract, forcing me to get a very short haircut that I despised. Rather than give Jane up, and risk rejection; I told my teachers and my mom that I had stuck the putty in my hair myself.

Another Jane inflicted trauma came when she cleared all of the toys out of a toy chest, then she made me climb inside. I didn’t want to. I was scared she would lock me in there. She promised she wouldn’t. She just wanted to see if I fit, and if I was really her friend I would just get in. I wanted to prove I was her friend, so I got in. Of course, she immediately shut the lid and sat on it, trapping me inside. I have a fear of inclosed spaces to this day. Years later, when I told my therapist this story she said, “Now we know who your first Dom was.”

What’s obvious as an adult, is that Jane liked younger girls because they were easy to manipulate. She probably wouldn’t have been able to get a kid her own age to climb into a toy chest, when she was so obviously itching to trap someone inside.

For a time, there was a intellectually disabled boy at this daycare center. Jane loved to torment this poor kid. While the other kids usually ignored him, she pretended to be his friend so she could torture him for her amusement. Her favorite game was tricking him into eating things that were not food — crayons, play dough, mud, etc. — by telling him they were chocolates or candy. She would also call him a retard to his face and teach him to say things like, “I’m a retard.” She devised a game called, “Retarded School,” where she, I, and whomever else we were playing with (always kids 2-3 years younger than her) would imitate and mock this poor boy. Luckily his parents didn’t keep him at the daycare center for too long.

A lot of Jane’s games were sexual. She liked to play “doctor.” She liked to tickle me and poke me between my legs with phallic objects, like a twirling baton. She got the jump on my parents by a few years when she told me all about the birds and the bees. She was also the one who told me that Santa and the Easter Bunny didn’t exist. She was a sadistic little girl. And I loved her so.

In retrospect, I realize that Jane, who had two teenage brothers and an alcoholic father her mother was separated from; was probably messed with at some point, which lead her to mess with me. No one just becomes a sadist intrinsically, at least not at eight years old. Or maybe they do? I mean I had no trouble falling into the role of her devoted punching bag/bottom bitch.

What’s interesting to me, is that somehow, I’ve been this “do whatever you want to me, just don’t leave me,” desperate, clingy doormat since I was six. Maybe even before then. Was I just born this way? If so, will I ever be able to fully transform into a healthy person that a romantic partner can respect and love?

While I don’t know the answer to these questions, I do know that I am already changing. Slowly, I’m becoming someone that I love and respect. I don’t know what my future holds, but I do know that being able to love and respect myself is a prerequisite to finding a partner who will.

I lost touch with Jane when she went to middle school. I often wonder what she is doing now. Maybe she is in jail for manipulating her lover into murdering her husband, maybe she is a pro Domina, maybe she is a married born-again Christian with three kids, or maybe she is a special ed teacher. I’ve tried to look her up on Google and Facebook, but her name is too common. Oh well. Some mysteries are better left unsolved.

Home

I just got home from work.

I work with a really sweet woman. She is five years younger than me and a newlywed. She is so wholesome and genuine and seems so happy in her new marriage. When I first met her, I didn’t think I would like her at all. She just seemed too perfect to be likable — skinny, pretty, younger, with a well-off and close-knit family, a sweet husband, and a better job than my own. But as I’ve gotten to know her, I can’t help but love her.

Today, like most days, I came home to a living room full of boxes, a moody cat, and my obsessions. The highlight of my evening will probably be drinking a glass or two of red wine and watching tv. I can’t help but feel jealous of my friend Haley. It must be so nice to come home to a husband, and to have a healthy partner to share your life with. I hope some day I can find that.

I now have about four months of recovery in SLAA. Most days, I no longer feel like I’m in crisis. The longing for the last guy I was with is getting less and less. I am, however, extremely lonely. Part of me really wants to find a new guy, to jump into something to make this loneliness go away. But a bigger part of me wants what my friend Haley has — a real life, a partner, a family, a home that’s more than just a place to live.

The negative voice in my head/my addict/whatever it is exactly likes to tell me that there is a snowball’s chance in hell that I will ever find someone to love me. I should just settle for having sex with lots of unavailable men, or if I’m lucky, finding a dom with lots of other submissives that I can be a “slave” to. I’ll never have what my friend Haley has. I’ll never have a real family or a real home.

For today, though, I’m choosing not to listen to that voice. I’m breaking the pattern that I have been acting out my entire adult life, and I don’t know what the results will be. I do know that I want something that I have never had before, and in order to achieve that, I must do things that I’ve never done before.