Saturday evening in my Alpha Submissive Class for The Academy in Georgetown, SC, I brought up the Hierarchy of Needs as an illustrative point on the foundation of trust within a power exchange relationship.
I’ve received several follow-up messages about the idea from that class, which I began responding to this morning.
Looking at my writing calendar, I also found a link to this piece:
A little over a week ago, I wrote [the first in a series about healthy boundaries,][https://fetlife.com/users/50648/posts/5526094] and in the writing, I mentioned oversharing, which struck a chord with many.
However, I think that it’s important to clarify what I mean by oversharing in the context of healthy boundaries and connecting with others.
I just looked up the word, and here’s the definition:
reveal an inappropriate amount of detail about one’s personal life.
And this it is. But who gets to decide what is an “inappropriate amount of detail”?
To me, the only answer is “I do. Me.”
Or you, if we’re talking about you and your level of sharing.
That is the key when it comes to personal boundaries and creating healthy limits.
Sure, other people can judge us for what we choose to share. They may back off, or determine that we are WAYYYYY too out them for them.
That’s true. And that’s their right.
Heck, people do that with me quite a lot.
However, that’s THEIR boundary issue, not mine.
Because when it comes to my healthy boundaries, I get to decide what I’m willing to share at any level of a relationship (or stranger-ship), and what is good for me to do so.
What my healthy boundaries are.
For example, I share a lot with you. All of you. People I know and people I don’t. And some of you may read what I write about my life and think, “Ugh, that’s too much.”
Or, when I’m on an early date, I’m quite frank about my freak flag. And I scare A LOT of otherwise enthusiastic people off.
And that’s OK. I’m comfortable with what I share and how I share it, because I’ve thought seriously about it, and discussed it with people who matter to me, so whether you think it’s too much or not, I don’t feel uncomfortable with you knowing XYZ about me.
On the other hand, I will often refuse to speak about the same things one-on-one via private message.
Well, to me, it’s more intimate and suggestive then, and it’s more wank-fodder-y feeling. Which I find gross, and so I decline. Because my personal boundaries guide me well and I feel good about them.
And often, then, the opposite reaction comes at me, “Why you no want to tell me these details about you sex, huh?”
In their eyes, I may be under-sharing.
Because personal boundaries are about me protecting, respecting and honoring me, not anyone else.
Just like yours are about protecting, respecting and honoring you, and not me or anyone else.
So, as you think on your own personal boundaries, start with worrying less about what might “scare others off,” or “make you vulnerable,” and think more on what feels GOOD and RIGHT to you.
Maybe ask yourself these questions:
Are you sharing because you think this person deserves/needs to know?
Are you sharing because you hope for something in return (attention, love, pity)?
Are you sharing as a reciprocal conversation (they shared something comparable)?
Are you sharing because you’re nervous?
Are you sharing because you want to impress?
If you share this now, and you get a negative reaction, or it ends your interaction, will it still be right to you?
And if it feels good and right, your are sharing just enough for where you are right now.
And as you grow and learn, you can adjust/experiment with what might feel good and right to you based on the results you get and what you want from your interactions.
This is one of my favorite classes, and a core class for kink, in my view.
I’m a HUGE fan of communication of all kinds, and I’ve been studying for years different techniques, and sharing them with others. This class is presented from the perspective of D/s, power exchange, and poly, while still applying to all relationships, kink and vanilla.
So, I’m excited to offer that class locally again. It’s been a few years.
They have grown so much in five years, and the value they offer to the submissive community is incalculable.
This year, I’m doing two classes built specifically for SSH (that will be added to my round-up after they are debuted there):
Dating Kinky: Hands-On Profile
I’ve already given my kinky dating class at SSH, and apparently, they want more. This class is about Dating Kinky, zeroing in on one of the biggest challenges we all face: How to present ourselves to the people we hope to meet for play, for dating, for love, and more. We’ll work together as a group on the dreaded self-focused essay and also give tips and collective suggestions on sharing photos and more.
Communication Across The Slash: For S-Types
Communication is communication, right? Well, yes. And no. For some, especially for submissives, it can be beyond difficult to speak up and say what needs to be said. In this class, we’ll discuss ways to share your thoughts with your D-Types and ideas for helping to build a framework of communication within your relationship to last you for decades.
Like I said, this is my fifth year being invited to teach, and not only am I honored at being asked back, but looking at the line up of teachers and topics, I’m thrilled to be part of such a group.
I’m a hugger from way back. To me, hugs are like mini-cuddle sessions, acceptable for the public. And I love cuddling, too.
The BEST hugs are long, include a lot of body contact, and done with little to no clothing with someone I’m deeply intimate with, but even the runners-up can make my day better damn near instantly.
A few weeks ago, I found this image on Facebook:
I reposted it, mentioning I was not sure about the numbers, but that it sounded good to me.
And really, I posted it because I wanted to remind myself to go out and look for the numbers. Because the science of hugs as a topic for a writing had a nice ring in my head.
After all, as I said, I am more than a tiny bit of hug junkie.
Hell, as I retold this weekend (for the umpteenth time), I really NOTICED Pet on the night we met when he hugged me goodbye. He just felt so damn…right.
Up until that point, he was a cute boy-next-door type (not my usual type at all) sweet man at a FemDom party paying me some attention.
With the hug, though, it was as if suddenly my hormones were jarred awake, “Was that an explosion? Sex? Magic?”
He likes to joke he put a spell on me, and I like to joke it worked. I’m never sure we’re really joking, but I digress.
So today, after a weekend sharing hugs with my Pet, other loved ones, friends, and even near-strangers (maybe friends, soon?), I am still feeling a bit high (and horny, but that’s another topic) from all the feel-goody stuff.
And so, science it is! After all, I love my imagination, and I do believe in the placebo effect (It’s awesome powerful, y’all!), I also wanted to see what science has been done around hugs, and what it can tell us.
And I’m gobsmacked.
I’m already a hug addict. I admit this. Now, I just may become a zealot. Get this:
Hugs make you feel gooooooood, man.
Hugging boosts oxytocin, which bonds you to others, connects you, and makes you feel loved (more on oxytocin). Oxytocin also has anti-inflammatory benefits (source). Inflammation in the body has been linked to certain types of depression (MDD especially, although science can’t fully explain it all, yet: source).
Hugging also gets dopamine and serotonin production going in the body.
Dopamine is a hormone which is part of the brain’s reward mechanism, and makes you feel pleasure, like you did a good thing. The more dopamine you have, the less potential for addiction. (About dopamine.)
Serotonin is responsible for helping balance mood. It helps to make us feel happy, relaxed and confident. It also acts as an appetite controller. Too little serotonin is linked to depression. Hugging is known to boost serotonin levels. (About serotonin.)
Hugs help boost your immune system.
Conflict weakens your immune system through stress, and hugs connect us to others and reduce the effects of conflict. Not only do people who receive more hugs get sick less often, but they don’t get as sick and recover more quickly.
So, searching “average hug 9.3 seconds,” I get nada on that number. I think someone pulled it out of their butt.
The same thing happened when I tried to find information on how often people crave hugs per day. I’m not sure how scientific a number that might be, either.
As for the 20-second rule, it’s so everywhere online, it’s difficult to find the originating information. A study done in 2003 suggested that couples who held hands for 10 minutes while watching a romantic video, then hugged their partners for 20 seconds had better blood pressure readings than the control group.
Which is definitely something. However, it’s doesn’t determine how long a hug must be to activate benefits. And at least two articles suggest that 6 seconds and 10 seconds will do nicely, as well. (source, source)
Unfortunately, neither of those link to scientific studies, either.
So, in light of all this, I’m going to make a few suggestions regarding hugging, and perhaps you can find out what works best for you, with your own self-study.
Hug Often. Hug Long. Hug The RIGHT People.
I’ll start with that last bit.
Regardless of any other information, all of the articles I read, if they mentioned WHO you should hug at all, mentioned that the benefits of hugs come from people you want to hug and who want to hug you.
So, consent is a key.
It seems kind of obvious that being hugged against your will or by someone you don’t like will do more harm than good, but I think it’s worth saying, in case someone misses that idea.
Also, it was mentioned that because hugs can release these bonding hormones, choose who you hug carefully, in case you want to maybe not feel so close to someone who is not right or good for you, which is an interesting take.
Of course, because you are an amazing person who surrounds yourself with amazing people you enjoy, hugging the right people more often is going to benefit you through multiple chances for really good natural drugs/hormones, produced by your body and brain.
And as far as hug long goes… well, hug those you love as long as feels comfortable—and cuddling counts! Cuddles are just really long hugs, so take advantage of some health benefits while Netflix and chilling, or whatevs.
And those 3-second hugs? No need to turn up your nose or poo-poo them.
After all, even a 1-second hug done with warmth and sincerity can boost mood and happiness, and increase feelings of inclusion.
And for those whose love language is touch, even the quickest touch can make a BIG difference.
What are your experiences?
What are your experiences with hugs? Have you found that you crave them when you don’t get enough? Do you feel noticeably good or better when you get more hugs than usual or from specific people?
Have you done any of your own research into hugs? Anything I missed?
“That’s all fantasy. Reality is a different world.”
Well, reality is overrated.
This is where they always lose me.
Reality is my homey. You dis reality, you dis me.
I’m all about the real.
In fact, I don’t even “fantasize” in the normal ways, because when I have fantasies, I generally pursue them and realize them, and know that fantasy cannot (for me) ever beat the feel of flesh on flesh, the scent of another body, then sounds of grunts and words, the tastes of sweat and saliva, the sights, even of blackness when blindfolded.
To me, fantasy is the bit that’s overrated.
I mean, it’s fun. I don’t knock it. I read fantasy and fiction. It’s entertaining. It’s inspiring. I credit books with shaping my life in many ways.
As Jimmy so wisely said:
“Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks,
And I learned much from both of their styles.”
Sharing fantasies with Pet has allowed me to get to know his deeper self much more effectively (I believe) than trying to dig out and discover things as I went, or as they came up in conversation.
Even online porn and memes, which often represent the most extreme edges of la-la land and unrealistic ideations of what a specific kink might represent has it’s uses when made into a tool for talking about concepts that we may not yet have had our own words for.
But for us, while the fantasy is useful and hot, nothing beats actually doing things together. Even when they are not as extreme, perhaps, they still have US. Our connection. Our real senses of touch and taste and hearing. And they fit into our real lives as well.
And I’ve seen fantasy become a jail for many. An addiction.
Those who fall willingly down the rabbit hole of extreme ideas and fetishes, who never even experienced the first level in real life, so they are constantly chasing the utmost in kinky/fetish play, when they have yet to find a partner who will even start at the basics with them.
And so, they thirst.
And become (and behave) THIRSTY.
And people turn away, because those who look for these things in reality know the unrealistic fantasy when they see it. And know the addiction.
In my view, fantasy can be an amazing tool for communication and inspiration in a relationship.
If it’s never backed up by or partnered with reality, though, for me, it loses it’s appeal and fast.
What do you think?
What is amazing about fantasy? What is good? How has it helped you in your exploration of kink or your relationships?
What is not so healthy about fantasy? Have you seen it in a negative light before?
And reality. What do you LOVE about reality? What frustrates you about it, or when does reality feel like a let-down?