Validation: A Human Need

Validation

Over this past weekend, as I was in Jacksonville to teach, a writing of mine popped back up for a spate of attention.

The Needs Hierarchy

Which, interestingly, I was going to talk about in my class that afternoon, and bring up in many classes I teach as an illustrative example.

@James-P commented on the post, about validation, and offered that validation is a basic human need. I asked questions, and the conversation went less than spectacularly, however…

He has a point.

And a good one.

In the original article I did not presume to map out any human needs or wants, as I feel that tends to be innately personal.

However, the idea of validation as a human need is worth writing about, so here I am.

Continue reading “Validation: A Human Need”

Needs VS. Wants: Which Are Which And Who, What?

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:

Needs vs Wants Hierarchy in a M/s relationship

That I’d added in to remind me to delve a bit deeper into the idea of what is a need and what is a want in a relationship.

What are needs?

To clarify, these are needs within a relationship, beyond the basic need to breathe, eat, have clean water, etc.

Continue reading “Needs VS. Wants: Which Are Which And Who, What?”

That ONE Thing You Didn’t Do

That ONE Thing You Didn't Do

I saw this meme on FB the other day. It said, “You can do 99 things for someone, and all they’ll remember is the one thing you didn’t do.”

It made me a little sick to my stomach.

Because I CAN see both sides. I know people who are constantly looking at life through, “Why didn’t I get this?” glasses. The ungrateful ones.

I also know what it means to have someone do 99 things for me, and have them all be the WRONG things, things that don’t matter. Things that don’t inspire me to feel loved, but instead inspire feelings of:

  • suffocation
  • micromanaging
  • being taken for granted
  • being unseen
  • being unheard

And regardless of your good intentions (if there are any), if what you do “for me” makes me less happy, in love, and overall satisfied with life than if you’d done nothing, well, then, I don’t want them, TYVM.

I’ll take the one thing that would show me you really care in a way I can receive it.

  • Instead of 99 gifts that you could buy for anyone, or that are all wrong for me, I’ll take the one small sketch you doodled during a meeting at work while you were thinking of me.
  • Instead of the 99 times you asked me where I was and what I was doing, I’ll take the one time, you asked me how my day went and really listened and shared with me.
  • Instead of the 99 times you told me the right way to do something, I’ll take the one time we learned something together, and both contributed to making the results better than we could have done separately.
  • Instead of “I love you” said 99 times, I’ll take that tipsy text late at night telling me how much I mean to you and how I make your life better in so many ways, how I make you feel loved beyond anything you’ve ever known, and how you hope I’m sleeping well, and this will be the first thing I read in the morning.

So, I get it. Both sides.

I choose to leave the ungrateful people out of my life.

And rewrite that meme:

You could do 99 things that don’t matter to some, and leave them wishing you’d done the one thing that DID matter.

The Healthy Boundaries Series, I-A: Oversharing

Healthy Boundaries & Oversharing

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:

o·ver·share

/ˈōvərˌSHer/
verb
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.

Weird, huh?

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.

IDGAF.

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?

And

  • 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.

Oh, I See. It’s For MY Protection.

Oh, I See. It's For MY Protection.

After some random dude sent me a clear list in his second message to me of the types of lovers I’d be expected to take as his cuckoldress:

  • Young
  • Fit
  • Large/Well-endowed
  • Dedicated
  • Black
  • And etc.

I replied:

I do not subscribe to any relationship where someone gets to tell me what kind of lovers to take.

Nor, would I tell them what kind of lovers to take or not, unless we negotiated those restrictions together, for mutual pleasure.

Best of luck in everything.

Now, I know not everyone believe in 100% personal autonomy in relationships, ESPECIALLY in D/s relationships.

I get that.

I do me just fine, and if you doing you gets in the way of me doing me, we just won’t do together.

No hard feelings.

No denigration (from me).

Just no “doing.”

So, I do my best to be clear and honest, without sounding ‘poly-er-than-thou’ or TEH UBER CUCKOLDRESS (if that’s their line), and simply decline.

Well, this one thought I was calling him “oppressive and a controlling partner,” and felt a need to explain himself.

Along with stating he wanted control over who I might sleep with in this fictional relationship he contacted me about starting up, which I had already declined (quite politely, I think) he went on to say that he screens and carefully selects, has preferences as to physical type, age and race, and dropped this bomb:

“It’s protecting my woman is what I call it. I value safety, privacy and good heath.”

Oh, well that makes all the difference, doesn’t it?

It’s not about what he wants, really. Or about his insecurities. Or about cuckolding being woman-driven.

It’s about protecting HIS WOMAN.

Which I am not, and yet, he felt a need to tell me all of his requirements in detail. Much like you might search for a set of speakers on Amazon to fit a specific niche in your home.

Sure, I get that if it’s not a fit, it’s faster to do that and just move on. I PREACH this shit. Daily.

But don’t pretend it’s about protecting me.

It’s your kink. Cool.

It’s not protection.

I’m 45 years old. I’ve made more in all of my long-term relationships (except one) than my partners (by far—I was the breadwinner for 20 years).

I’ve traveled the country and internationally alone by trains, planes, automobiles, bus, hitchhiking, ships, and 18-wheelers.

[I’ve only once had bad sex.][https://fetlife.com/users/50648/posts/3606036]

I’ve never been outed or stalked by someone I chose to be intimate with.

I’ve never been attacked by violently a man in a relationship. I have in actual fight training and in two attempted rapes (one had a knife), and I beat them off.

I’ve never gotten an STI/STD aside from HSV-1, which I was born with.

I’ve met complete strangers for dates and sex in strange cities, and have come out alive (I did take precautions).

And yet, this man thinks that entering into a relationship with a dominant woman into cuckolding means that I will somehow suddenly need his protection.

So, I said to him, “As the dominant in my relationships, I protect myself and my partner. I also appreciate protection. I do not, however, feel that having my sexual choices made for me is any sort of protection, because I do not feel that anyone cares more about my wellness and health than I do.”

Which is when he let me down gently, and told me that we could be friends, but that a “meaningful relationship” was out of the picture.

cries

Ok, I feel better now.

What are your thoughts on protection?

I don’t deny that there are amazing benefits to protection, both mutual and one-way.

To me, this goes back to the idea of negotiating those protections/restrictions together as a relationship grows, and as they are needed/wanted.

Where is YOUR line? What takes from protection (for example) to oppressive and controlling self-interest?

Image from KELLEPICS on pixabay.

The Healthy Boundaries Series, I: Emotional Intimacy

Healthy Boundaries

I’ve been asked quite a lot about personal boundaries and how to set them, how to recognize what is a healthy boundary and how to enforce the boundaries we have.

I’ve been kind of noodling on this for a while, and I feel like I’ve got a good idea of how to tackle it, now, so I’m going to start with a biggie: Intimacy—in this case, emotional intimacy.

In each part of this series, I’m going to give examples of a boundary being too soft, too hard, and what a healthy boundary level looks like.

I’m also VERY open to your thoughts and opinions and questions as we go, including suggestions on other boundaries that you’d like to see covered.

Let’s start!

Too Soft Boundaries in Intimacy

People with soft intimacy boundaries tell way too much too soon about their personal lives, often either scaring people off or signaling they are vulnerable to less-than-pure intentions.

They are commonly referred to as “oversharers.”

It’s more than that, though, because there are many ways to be open and transparent without necessarily having weak intimacy boundaries.

It’s often a combination of oversharing AND making themselves overly vulnerable to people who have not yet matched their level of investment and disclosure in a relationship.

Too Hard Boundaries in Intimacy

These people avoid any vulnerability or closeness in relationships, period. Many avoid emotional relationships altogether, usually to their detriment, as it leads to loneliness and a sense of alienation/isolation.

This is often the result of being hurt in the past, and it’s totally understandable. It’s still not healthy.

Sure, this could be good for a time of healing, and reflection. However, never stepping back out of that hard shell will ultimately stifle your experience in life.

Healthy Boundaries in Intimacy

These people value their own thoughts and opinions, while also being open to others.

They share pieces of their life, and look for others to share in return, creating an evened-out give-and-take of vulnerability and deepening of the connection.

They’ve probably thought about about what and how much they’re willing to share with “just anyone,” and what they prefer to keep to themselves until they know people better, and they stick to those personal boundaries, even under pressure, or when they REALLY want someone to like them.

They realize that sharing too much, too fast can overburden and stress others, leaving them in an awkward and uncomfortable position.

They also protect their own well-being by being clear when they don’t want to be involved. This may be because they don’t currently have the bandwidth, or because they feel like it’s none of their business.

People with healthy intimacy boundaries share without expectations, and don’t feel that they MUST return any specific reaction when others share their own stories. It’s all about consent and personal investment, and they invest based on what they’re willing to offer of themselves at any given time.

What are your thoughts?

What can you add to this conversation?

Do you find yourself often in one of the not-as-healthy patterns? If so, what can you do, to make it feel more healthy to you? How could you practice healthy boundary setting and maintenance?

Did I miss anything that you feel should be added?

Hi, I’m Nookie, And I’m A Hug-aholic (And I LOVE Science-y Shit).

I love hugs.

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:

Hugs Information from FB

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.

Hugs.

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.

“…those who receive more hugs are somewhat more protected from infection.” —Sheldon Cohen, Carnegie Mellon

Hugs lower blood pressure.

(Primarily in women studies show, this is being researched further.)

Hugging releases oxytocin in both men and women. In women, specifically, this seems to lower blood pressure during times of stress. (source 1, source 2)

Hugs reduce fears of death.

Being touched, even briefly, can reduce fears of death and other existential issues. Hugs are a penultimate of touch. (source)

Hugs help you heal.

Oxytocin actually aids healing, builds muscle mass and helps you maintain. (source)

But what about those numbers?

Indeed. After all, that’s what I wanted to be sure to research.

9.3 seconds for the “average” hug? That seems long. Ever counted off 9.3 seconds while hugging? It’s an abnormally long period of time, or so it seems right then.

And when researching “how long should a hug last?” I was bombarded with both the 20-second rule (which I’ll get to in a moment) and a 3-second rule for “public” hugs.

You read that right. People have decided that there is an actual number of seconds it’s appropriate to hug another person, and it’s three seconds.

Which is a far cry from 9.3. And “how long does the average hug last?” search got me similar results.

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?

Let’s Debate: Feelings Versus Actions In Love

Showing Love

I’ve written before that I Don’t Judge How Another Loves Me, and I believe this. I also say, though, that I do judge how someone makes me feel.

Or how they SHOW me that they love me in ways I can understand.

Someone can love you desperately with their feelings and still suck at loving you the way you need to be loved  with their actions.

I saw a saying like this on FB, and it really hit home for me.

After all, I think we’ve all made the mistake of doing the exact opposite of showing our love, even while we love deeply and fully and (dare I say?) desperately.

However, simply loving someone is not enough.

No matter how deeply.

No matter how desperately.

It’s far more important that they feel loved. At least to them.

And that brings us around to a few phrases that look at both side of this:

  • Treat people like you want to be treated.
  • No, treat people like THEY want to be treated (This is my preference, especially in D/s relationships).
  • It’s the thought that counts.
  • No, actions speak louder than words (How Do I Say…?).

And so on.

What do you think?

How much does the feeling matter, if the actions don’t back it up? Are “good intentions” enough? Is action a good indicator of feelings?

How do you gauge another’s intentions?

Image by pixel2013 on Pixabay

You’ve Heard Of “The Waiter Rule,” Here’s “The Ex Rule”

The Ex Rule
"A person who is nice to you, but is not nice to the waiter, is not a nice person."

“A person who is nice to you, but is not nice to the waiter, is not a nice person.”

People who are mean to those who serve, those who have less, those who they do not feel can help them, or directly benefit them are not nice people.

They are users.

They are self-centered.

Possibly narcissistic, and possibly socio/psychopathic, lacking empath and likely compassion.

(Which, in and of itself is not bad, but without compassion, it can be a nasty thing.)

“A person who has only mean things to say about their exes will probably eventually only have mean things to say about you.”

When a person has been the victim in every relationship they have, and chooses to focus on only the negatives with their exes, or place all the blame on others may not be that way to you right now—they weren’t that way with their exes to begin with, either, I’m guessing.

(Sort of hard to get into a relationship by being overtly asshole-ish, although some manage it.)

However, if you have a falling out, know that’s how they will probably talk about you.

And that’s probably how they talk about you in their head, too. When they’re not getting what they want.

Is that the energy you want in your life?

The Vulnerability And Scariness Of Pattern Interrupts

The Vulnerability And Scariness Of Pattern Interrupts

A friend reached out yesterday about pattern interrupts, because I’ve been preaching them for years, and they had an ‘Ah-ha!’ they wanted to share. They graciously gave me permission to share the conversation with you, because as we talked, I felt like they touched on parts of the pattern interrupt process that are rarely discussed, and I never thought to bring up.

But first, let’s talk about pattern interrupts.

What are they, and why might they be good?

A pattern interrupt is a technique to change a particular thought, behavior or situation. Behavioral psychology and neuro linguistic programming use this technique to interrupt and change thought patterns and behaviors.

Why a Pattern Interrupt Is Just What You Need, by Helen Roe
Continue reading “The Vulnerability And Scariness Of Pattern Interrupts”