Lifestyle Masochism Example (Pressure Pointed)

This is part of the Lifestyle Masochism series. These are stand alone non fiction/memoir examples of the lifestyle sadomasochism we practice within our irrevocable consent framework, as discussed in the explanation post “What I Talk About When I Talk About Masochism”.

I’m standing in the bedroom, kind of between activities, having just finished cleaning and shutting down the downstairs for the night, now settling in upstairs, without it being time for my final evening service tasks yet. I’m thinking that maybe I’ll type up some notebook pages when Mistress comes in, making sweet talk, which somehow ends with me tackled to the bed, on my back, pinned with my hands over my head in a way my shoulders really don’t want to stretch, with her on top of my legs. 

She’s still talking—something, we’re in a Lifetime movie, random violence, you love it, that’s pathetic, something—but I’m a bit distracted by her fingers digging into pressure points around my hips and thighs, sharp bursts of pain with aftershocks. She’s narrating: “See, you’re just in here minding your business, and then you get tackled and held down and pressure pointed. That’s a verb now. That’s how this works.” 

I’m still distracted by the pressure pointing, not entirely sure what comes out of my mouth in response, squirming. I’m still feeling aftershocks when she slaps me hard in the face instead, her hand settling around my throat, squeezing; the other presses into that spot at my hip again that takes away the rest of my oxygen, then hits me in the chest.

She tires of this, though, and I find myself flipped over—it’s always strangely disorienting, flips like that at moments like these; the world was already kind of small, her hair a curtain around my head, and now my face is mostly pressed into the comforter, and the person pinning me down is now also behind me, and everything spins. She yanks my uniform leggings and panties down, and I half see her throw my pager to the side, so the clip doesn’t get broken under me (again). 

She spanks me, hard, some slaps, but mostly punches, the kind I feel in my hips more than anywhere else, force and pain. I sink against the bed. “And you like getting punched in the ass.” The theme tonight seems to be, “You love it, you pathetic little pain slut. I bet it makes you wet.” She slips two fingers in me, abruptly—I make a choked sound—not that wet. Or that open, especially at this weird angle, with my legs kind of trapped closed. It just hurts. Not for long, though; after a few seconds, her fingers press at my lips, and I suck off what did drip onto them instinctively. 

Then the punching continues. “I wonder if you can come from this,” she says, which isn’t much of a question. I’ve done it countless times before—come from pain alone. The real question is if I can do it right now. Hmm. Probably, I think. “Just from being a punching bag.” And the punches keeps coming—force, pain, a lot more than cute, erotic slaps—fast, hard; sensation builds. “It goes with your whipping girl complex.” 

“Please,” I get out, mostly into the comforter, my way of saying, Yes, I can, and yes, I want to, though I can’t get down enough air to finish the question properly, the golden may, please, Mistress combo.

She pauses for a second, but only for a second, maybe to be able to hear me better, or give me enough oxygen to finish. But she fills it in for me: “Please, what? You want to come from this?” 

“Yes, Mistress—” 

She resumes. “Come, then.” 

So I do. People ask me about this part a lot, when I talk about orgasming from pain. It’s like any other orgasm, really. Sensation builds up and intensifies. A need for relief. A feeling of being overwhelmed. The endorphin rush. It’s a little more mental, a little less distinct, but it’s everywhere, and it’s an orgasm nonetheless, and I pant, “Thank you, Mistress,” when it’s over. 

“You’re welcome, slavegirl.” The unofficial end line of any protocol that dictates, Thank you, Mistress. 

And so I catch my breath.

Service Skill: Giving a Manicure

Create a soothing environment. Offer a basic selection of drinks, snacks, and/or entertainment.

Place towel, then adequately sized bowl or basin with hot water (as hot as comfortable) and desired additions, on a table at a comfortable height where you can sit across from each other. Essential oils of choice and bubbles make a traditional luxurious touch. Ensure good task lighting. 

Remove old polish if needed.  

Soak fingertips/hands for ten to fifteen minutes. 

Use a cuticle pusher to push back cuticles, removing loose dead skin around the nail. If there’s a lot, you might want to use a cuticle trimmer.

Trim, file, and buff nails. Gently clean under nails with the cuticle pusher. 

Dry, then moisturize and massage hands. Apply cuticle oil to cuticles and nails; massage in.  

Apply a clear base coat, two coats of desired color, and a clear top coat. Let coats dry completely before the next one; keep them thin and even. Keep common polish colors on hand. 

Day in the Slave Life: Last Thing at Night

9:35 PM.

My reminder alarm goes off as always.

I’ve probably had one eye on the clock, so it’s simple to wrap up the writing or whatnot that I’m doing, most of the time. 

I see to my final evening tasks. Write the nightly turndown card with tomorrow’s reminders, meal plan, and weather forecast, place it in its spot. Turn down the bed. Fill the humidifier. Lay out my blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed (slave furs). Little things.

9:40, my pager—slave bell—gives its “goodnight” auto off buzz. 

I strip out of my daily uniform as required, shivering a little—slaves don’t touch the thermostat, or so I’m told around here—and give myself a once over in the mirror, freshen up.

9:44, I get into Inspection Position. Standing, legs spread, hands clasped behind my head, head and eyes up, back straight. I can hear Mistress going down and up the stairs, checking on tasks I did earlier downstairs—cleaning the kitchen after serving dinner at 6, preparing the coffee machine for tomorrow, shutting down the house. 

Back upstairs, she comes in and looks the room, then me, over, circling me, prodding—the usual mix of caresses, slaps, squeezes. 

I’m silent, waiting for her to speak first. Speak when spoken to. My arms ache and tingle a little. 

She tells me I did well, lavishes me with praise. 

“Thank you, Mistress.” The required response. I mean it. And even though it goes this way ninety-nine percent of the time, there’s always an element of relief. 

“You may get me lotion.” She sits on the end of the bed, lying back. I get out of position, grab the lotion, and rub it into her elbows. The nightly default is at least that. She rubs it in a little more and rubs the excess into her hands. “You may do my feet, too. And rub them a little.” 

“Yes, Mistress.” The you may is no matter—it’s an order. Yes, Mistress. So I do as told. 

When she seems content with that, she sits up. I get into Leashing Position, kneeling, knees apart, big toes crossed in back (right over left), my leash across both of my palms, hands resting on my thighs, tossing my hair out of the way, checking that the collar o-ring is in front, that my back is straight. She takes the leash clip from me and clips it to my collar. Gives me a few more pats on the head, says goodnight, and goes, off to do a few more things and then settle into the bed and sleep. 

I settle into my blanket, seeing to a few final-final things. Set my alarms for tomorrow. Plug in my devices. Write my slave journal entry. Take my meds. Message my mom, Goodnight, I love you. More. Most. Seriously, goodnight. And shut my laptop.

And then it’s time for sleep.

“But You Could Walk Out Right Now”: What Really Keeps People in Relationships

“But you could walk out the door right now,” a visiting friend says. We’re all in Mistress’ office, late at night. “I’ll help,” he jokes, looking at her.

“But you could leave,” another friend says, during dinner, gathered around our dining table at a play party. Others agree.

“But you could get out,” says a close friend. We’re at the park at sundown. They look around. “Couldn’t you?” 

I hear this all the time when I mention being in a no way out/irrevocable consent dynamic as a slave. 

And admittedly, my answer is usually subpar. Put on the spot, to explain it concisely, in a way comfortable for the audience, I fail to give my full, real answer. I point to difficult—but not impossible—logistics, to just not wanting to leave, anyway.

But here’s a better answer. 

… 

I read a really good book, which, since I’m about to give a spoiler for the sake of metaphor, I’ll not specify and be vague about.

But, the main character is in your standard fictional culty institution. She gets sent to The Rehabilitation Center (you know the trope). It turns out to just be a little suite. 

There she waits, for months, processing the events that brought her here. Eventually, another member that is finally allowed to visit her secretly convinces her to escape the institution, and sneaks her a set of lockpicks. 

Later, the main character goes to pick the lock on the door. Panicked, she realizes that something is wrong; what is it? 

The door is already unlocked. 

It was never locked. 

She just never found the mental clarity to open it. 

… 

The reason I take issue with the but you could sneak out right now argument is that it’s simplistic, and, ultimately, victim blaming. 

In many cases of domestic abuse—the thing these people are compare-and-contrasting me to—it’s not logistics that truly keep people trapped. Being a literal prisoner is not so common in these cases, and the logistics may be difficult—but frequently, they’re not impossible. I see it as unusual for someone to spend a long period of time in a relationship while wholeheartedly wanting out, but being stuck on logistics. The vast majority of the relationship is usually spent not truly trying the lock on the door. 

It’s spent in that emotional fog. It’s a lack of mental clarity that keeps you there, or—in a lot of cases—keeps you coming back. It’s the invisible bonds between you and your partner. 

Where there’s a will to leave, there’s usually a way. But the will isn’t a guarantee, either.

In academic literature on the subject, the stages of change model is frequently used. The stages include precontemplation (not intending to make a change any time soon), contemplation (the problem is acknowledged; change is considered), preparation (planning for change), action (implementation of the plan), and maintenance (reinforcing and sustaining the change). 

However, one 2009 study (“Exploring Boundary Ambiguity Using the Stages of Change Model” by Lyndal Bee Lian Khaw and Jennifer L. Hardesty) on leaving abusers posits that preparation is not a necessary stage in terms of change itself, citing that almost half of participants did not engage with this stage at all (and this was consistent with other findings), and this did not seem to affect the action or maintenance stages. 

In other words, the important part, pre action, was contemplation (acknowledging the problem and considering change), escaping that mental fog, breaking the invisible bonds—not figuring out the logistics of escaping and breaking out the door.  

… 

Now, the bond shared between you and your partner is what keeps people in most relationships, for better or worse. 

But what kind of bond is it? How was it created? And does it run both ways? 

Feelings of things like mutual safety and happiness, created by consistent caring, keep people in healthy relationships. 

But in abuse cases, trauma bonds come into play. 

Trauma bonds typically run in one direction—they are part of the victim’s relationship with the abuser (rather than the abuser’s relationship with the victim). 

They are created via recurring, cyclical patterns of intermittent reinforcement (like positive attention, gifts, physical affection) and intermittent punishment (like physical, verbal, or sexual abuse). 

And intermittent reinforcement is more powerful than consistent reinforcement in terms of habit forming.

In other words, the abuser becomes the victim’s addiction that they just can’t quit.

But that’s generally speaking, about what keeps people in relationships. 

What about me? What truly keeps me here? 

If emotional bonds are what keep people in any relationship, and that bond can be, say, a healthy one or a trauma bond, which is it around here? 

To an extent, we have the healthy bonds. Love, respect, trust, safety, happiness, consistency. 

But that’s far from all of it. 

There are two defining factors to a trauma bond: a power imbalance and that intermittent reinforcement and punishment cycle. And we purposefully cultivate both. 

The power imbalance—shown through 24/7 high protocol and the service/housewife dynamic. I sleep leashed on the floor, I have no privacy, I wear only my uniform, I speak when I’m spoken to, and I serve on a full time level schedule. 

The intermittent punishment/reward cycle…

We have no official reward system for behavior, and I have no rights—things like aftercare aren’t guaranteed—so all rewards (psychologically speaking) are intermittent. Sometimes I get them, sometimes I don’t.  

We do have an official punishment system for behavior, but it’s not frequently needed, and I have no limits, no safeword—so she can also give any form of punishment (psychologically speaking) at any time, for any reason, intermittently. 

And we make exactly that a goal—the random, unpredictable violence—not as sex, scene, event, or formal discipline—being frequent, especially when, in the moment, I really don’t want it. 

So there’s that. 

… 

Additionally, there’s what I call the honor lien—and I don’t take that lightly. I frequently use this quote from my erotic fiction (the I’ll Give You series) to describe it: 

“[Our contract is] honor bound, and it says you own me, and I can’t change that. If I go back on it, I lose that integrity. It’s like a lien. I either honor the agreement or lose something momentous. Telling someone they own me really meaning something, ever again. […] I said that—anything you wanted to do—I’d let you. And if you don’t abide by the law or religion or social pressure, that doesn’t change what I said. So if I break the contract and leave and say it was because you were doing something illegal—I’m still breaking the honor ties. So I forfeit my right to leave with that integrity, to you—because the only way to leave with that is if you release me. You have a lien on my integrity with my debt being lifelong obedience. To include forfeiting all other rights. Unless you release me. If, when, I die, you die, or you release me—the debt is paid; my integrity is something you can’t take at that point.” 

But some brush that off after a certain point. 

And there are tricky logistics involved in leaving. But they’re not impossible. 

And, of course, at the end of the day, I’m very happy here.

But what really keeps me in? Especially if that stopped being true? If the honor lien became no longer enough?

The trauma bonds we try to replicate, really. Yes, we have a certain type of trust at the core of it. I am safe in that trust in certain ways. But am I safe from being beaten when I don’t want to be beaten? From sex when I don’t want to have sex? From fear or humiliation when I don’t want those emotions? No. 

And if it looks and feels like abuse in the moment, well—my mind reacts like it’s the real thing. I flinch when she moves the right way and have other behaviors that indicate constantly expecting to be hurt. I have the occasional nightmare about it. I do the freeze and fawn response. 

I’ve written about this before (“Lifestyle Masochism: When You Start Acting Abused”):

“Irrevocable consent is messy at times. Did I consent? Yes. Once. Years ago. Did I want to be beaten with no warning or warmup today until I screamed? Casually dragged across the floor by the hair yesterday? How about the sex when I was so sick I cried last week? In the moment? Probably not. That’s where the defense reactions come from. But I really want those things to keep happening overall, and I want to not want it in the moment, to gain that sense of ultimate submission from it, because in the end I submit anyway.”   

And I have the mental wiring of internal enslavement, and I describe my decision making like this (in “Decision Making and Internal Enslavement: A Metaphor”):

“So I’m standing at a fork in the road.  One clear, sunny path leads to the obedient action.  The other path—to disobedience—is shrouded in fog.  The clear path is the obvious best choice, the one I normally happily continue down.  But, even just mentally pondering the foggy path, it’s like wandering into that thick fog and constantly getting turned around.  I always end up back where I started like ultimately bouncing off a force field.  If I could see the path clearly, I’d notice that it dead ends in a few feet.  But sometimes I don’t see or remember that it’s a dead end.  But I start to dissociate, and thoughts swirl in that fog, too much to continue down that path.  Because of that guarantee, that the fog is too thick, there isn’t really a path there at all, no matter the apparent intersection.  And so I go wander down the clear path again.” 

It’s complicated.  

I sometimes call it, lightly, abuse without the hassle. 

Ultimately, we create these bonds with purpose, we communicate outside of the moment, there is a core of love and trust in ourselves and in each other. I consented once, forever.

And that bond works for us. 

Being a Slave Isn’t Easy

People often tell me that they envy my life as a slave, and a keyword that comes up to describe it a lot is simple. And they mean well, but the word simple makes me cringe a little. To me, it implies easy, and, for me, even as someone who is naturally inclined towards submission and service, being a slave isn’t easy. Slaving away means working hard for a reason. To me, slavery is a lot of things: 

It’s dragging myself up from my blanket on the floor in the morning after being unleashed, shivering. 

It’s falling off the side of the bed trying to get up after sex that was painful and only she got pleasure from, and I didn’t want to be used today. It’s having sex when I don’t want to have sex. 

It’s dripping sweat from dirty work while she relaxes.

It’s practicing a new slave position in the mirror for an hour to make sure it’s right.

It’s a thousand trips up and down the stairs per day for chores. 

It’s making a million small service decisions that she doesn’t want to be bothered with. Here’s a vision. Now make it real. 

It’s lying on the floor near tears and trying to figure out how to get back up after being randomly beaten for the third time that day when I didn’t want it. It’s being hurt when I don’t want to be hurt. 

It’s my legs going painfully numb from kneeling on the floor when I don’t get permission to change position. 

It’s giving her a massage while my body aches. 

It’s having limited energy to use on anything but her. It’s not being allowed to spend too much energy on anything but her, like having a job. It’s more than a full time job’s worth of work. And there’s plenty else I want to do.

It’s needing to figure out how to learn a new protocol perfectly and immediately, by myself. It’s the 24/7 mental demand of high protocol. It’s only speaking when spoken to; it’s all the speech restrictions to keep in mind.

It’s setting out to learn any service skill that might be useful. 

It’s hours and hours and a lifetime of communicating, of adjusting my communication style, of making it work, of prioritizing the dynamic above all else.   

It’s a complete lack of privacy. Not being allowed to lock doors. Sharing all my passwords. Being tracked via my phone. Not even being allowed to leave her presence without permission to be alone. Two daily inspections of my work and body. It’s not being allowed anything to myself. 

It’s a complete lack of financial control. 

It’s not having control over my digital life—rules for my friends list, not being allowed on most social media, needing permission to make a phone call. Limitations to work within. 

It’s having no control over my body. Patiently waiting for permission to receive pleasure, use the bathroom, shower—accepting the possibility that further humiliation gets thrown in there—sticking to my specific uniform and not getting creative license.

It’s dealing with the occasional throwing things, aggressive driving, bad moods, hard days. 

It’s not getting my way. 

It’s never being entitled to warmup, cooldown, aftercare, or sobriety. Sometimes, it’s being told, “No aftercare,” before we start. It means no safeword, no limits, not ever being allowed to leave. 

It’s always, always being on call, with no guarantee of Light Slave Duty or being allowed to go out. It’s constantly being ordered to do things, even while on Light Slave Duty.

It’s being expected to do it—anything—immediately, without complaint, without question, with a smile and no expectation of reward. 

And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But is it easy? No. Few worthwhile things are, and I wouldn’t really want it to be, or it wouldn’t feel authentic. Slave is a heavy word. Not everyone could or should do a dynamic like this, and I think it’s damaging to pretend otherwise; it’s just not worthwhile for everyone.

I love being a slave. And I frequently talk about what I love about it. But it’s a disservice to pretend it’s always easy. If I’m going to write and teach about it, I think I should be honest, realistic, let people know what they’re really getting into if they’re chasing a dynamic similar to mine. 

So: easy? No. 

But, everything I dreamed of? Yes.  

Tales From the Butler Academy: The “Butler’s” Relationship With Their “Employer”

Note: This is part of the “Tales From the Butler Academy” section. Start with “I’m a Slave; Why Am I Going to Butler School?” for more context.

Module 7 is titled “The Butler’s Relationship With His Employer.” (Being a woman and all, I’ll refer to it gender neutrally going forward. But note this language whenever I mention how traditional this course can be.) 

The jokes about this module started long before I got there, just seeing it on the syllabus. And, of course, the topic was mentioned much earlier in the course. 

“So… I’m not supposed to sexually harass you?” Mistress would ask. “No random beatings?” 

But once I got there, I realized it was a) a relatively short module, just some reading and essays, and b) honestly, super applicable.

It’s a module about communication, about trust and respect and roles. About how you must generally appreciate the other’s role even if it’s not for you, for things to run smoothly. That communication needs to be proactive, efficient, effective, routine, and largely honest. That roles must be clearly defined, lines drawn not to be crossed, before they fade away. That formal and respectful does not necessarily mean cold or uncaring. That trust on both sides is crucial to a well run household. 

While I’d expected to be very vague and a little misleading in this module at first, I actually found myself being very honest, just with the typical term swaps (Mistress, employer) and some omissions. 

Yes, my “employer” and I do have codified, optimized, routine check ins, quality assurance, meetings, forms, reviews, communication methods, checklists, role agreements. I do clarify what my job is. We do find a way for formal to be caring (even intimate)—via protocol as a love language. We do discuss our communication styles and actively work to make them mesh better together. We trust and respect and appreciate each other and are very honest. 

Rather than typing and deleting about professionalism, I found myself writing about real actions. We have long approached our dynamic through a lens so close to professional that people have tried to push, “It’s a relationship, not a business,” on us. But really, in a lot of ways, we do resemble a business superior/subordinate relationship as much if not more than a vanilla marriage, and that’s not a bad thing.

There are many parts of our dynamic that I think make the most sense from that lens: 

Our contract. While relationship contracts even in the vanilla world are on the rise, and are a long standing norm in power exchange, many people still think of contracts as something from the business world, especially the detailed, logistically focused kind. Our current contract stands at nearly 2,500 words, mostly bullet points, not a lot of fluff. It covers in detail our schedule, all of my service duties, our protocols, my uniform, inspections, discipline, meetings, written report systems, Light Slave Duty, and more. (More on a lot of those themselves in a minute.) We spent a lot of the first weeks of our relationship cuddled up, having sex, going on dates, hanging out, all that, but we also spent a lot of it sitting across the table from each other with papers in the middle hashing out all the details, including our more formal and specific style of protocol. 

Meta Friday. While the exact day has shifted over time (I believe it was born as the alliterative Meta Monday), this has been, from the very beginning, our weekly check in. We go through a list of questions (modifying the list over time as needed) to reflect on the past week and plan for the week ahead. We celebrate wins, check in on specific areas, ask how we can do better, and discuss tasks and events. At first, this was a meeting. Then, as the typical good business practice goes, we realized the meeting could be an email, and we made it a worksheet we both fill out and send to each other, discussing more if needed. But frequently, we realize we’ve already discussed a lot of it during the week—this is just our final check that we have. 

Light Slave Duty. This is the equivalent of time off—or mostly off. Since I live in my workplace (a common issue for private service/domestic staff and housewives alike), I don’t skip being present there, and most of our rules, protocols, etc. never turn off (the ones that do are for vanilla company, not time off). And there are a few small duties that remain on Light Slave Duty, and the possibility of further orders. And I’m not entitled to it—it’s up to Mistress my employer. But, it’s the closest equivalent. It’s a pre codified mode that means inspections, service tasks, and schedule items may generally be skipped without consequence, to be used if I’m sick, etc.

Written issues form/formal complaint. In the case of a problem that we don’t want to just hash out verbally, and that isn’t a punishment kind of issue, we have a specific written form. It includes what happened to trigger the report, how it made the person feel, why they felt that way, what can be done to make it better right now, and what needs to be true for this to not happen again. While rarely used, it’s been very valuable when it has been. I’m not guaranteed results from it, but it’s a great way to clarify any issues at hand.

Inspections. Not so much some details of the process, but the twice daily quality assurance. Every day at 10:30 AM, she checks on my morning service tasks, and at 9:45 PM she checks on my evening service tasks. Then, she inspects me in our Inspection Position (I wait in this position in the bedroom—dressed for the AM, nude for the PM). I offer her sunscreen in the morning and lotion at night, and at the PM one, I also get leashed for bed. (Again—not the details of this one, just the quality assurance idea.) 

My journal/review system. Okay, this might not sound super businessy, but the basic premise here is basically that I keep logs that she looks over. It’s a way to review and communicate. Each night—from the very beginning—I write an entry in my journal, mostly briefly logging activities. Before Meta Friday time, I create a weekly review page in summary. (I also do this monthly, quarterly, biannually—I also start a new physical journal at that time—and annually.) Then, I bring her the journal. For the monthly review, I also send her an email. The email mostly refers her to the journal and to my monthly newsletter I post publicly. I also include statistics for the month from my websites, income, FetLife profiles/groups/events, Archive of Our Own, etc. I reference this frequently myself. 

My daily uniform. Not so much what my uniform is—not that it would be that out of place in a casual workplace—but the fact that I have one. The part that’s the most businessy is my pager, which I keep on me so she can page me when she needs something. 

Discipline. Not the method—but maybe the idea of pre codified, formal disciplinary action. This is also common in power exchange.

And, no small thing, this is probably the most important factor that makes my dynamic an equivalent I can frequently easily talk about for butler school: the part where I work forty hours a week or so for her. Being a slave majordomo is my full time job. I’m not allowed to have any other job. So on. 

You can see how I actually had things to say for this module.

This realization was pretty validating. Since I’m going to butler school hoping to merge the professional and kinky service worlds, I want them to truly be potentially equivalent.

And maybe add just a pinch of sexual harassment and random beatings.

Lifestyle Masochism: When You Start Acting Abused

When you start acting abused…

This has been a thing for a long time, really. I’ve had a lot of conversations kind of loop near this topic recently. 

I have almost always been a suspected victim of abuse. As a kid, I was neurotic, skittish, a little too eager to please, sometimes underweight, sometimes wore ill fitting clothes, sometimes poorly groomed, and seemingly always suspiciously injured, sick, or absent. Now, my parents were/are wonderful people. I just happened to a) have undiagnosed autism/sensory/motor issues and anxiety, b) grow very fast very early, and c) have undiagnosed chronic physical health issues. This admittedly added up to, well, a certain picture. 

Now, I outgrew or fixed some of those things, but not others. 

When I entered the BDSM scene, I was an apparently suspiciously heavy masochist. Never mind that I was looking for what some might call the extreme end of slavery; I didn’t even have all the words for that yet, and it wasn’t what I was first known for. Some people were surprised when I went the high protocol, service slave route, even though I thought I was holding up a neon seeking sign for that when I showed up as best I knew how. No, I was a masochism meme. That was what people focused on about me, perhaps fairly, because it was in plain sight. Pick up play at parties. All that. Literal memes were made. A lot of it was good natured and I laughed with it, encouraged it.

Now, I bury it a little at times, because it seems to easily overshadow my other passions, something I have mixed feelings about, because I do love talking masochism—logistics and philosophy—too. Still, I’d much rather have a passionate discussion in the comments section of one my writings—talk ideas, whether service or masochism or protocol—than get awed comments on pictures of marks (which I currently keep to friends only).

But other rumors started to spread, to the effect that I had probably been a victim of physical abuse and that was why I could and perhaps why I wanted to take so much. Let me say it again: my parents were/are lovely people and neither of them ever raised a hand against me. Disclosure, I had a tumultuous relationship with my dad at times, including a few years out of contact, but physical abuse was never, ever an issue, and we were on perfectly good terms when he passed. (Okay, I love my parents, but I’ve yakked about them enough.) I do have some theories on why I am an apparently unique masochist, but nothing specific and solid, and a post for another day. 

But, moving forward: then it was Mistress’ turn to be the other variable in the people think Hannah is abused equation. The deep end of M/s—no safewords, no limits, no way out. The controlling high protocol. The housewife, service slave dynamic—little outside life. She picks my uniform, controls the finances, forbids me from having a job, tracks my location, has access to and limits my social media, and all kinds of things that sound bad out of the context of trust, love, respect, and consent. 

And there’s the hardcore physical sadism, and the way in which we enact it: which, yes, purposefully mimics random incidents of violence, physical domestic abuse, frequently not looking like consensual kink, sex, play. I might like it at the time, or I might hate it with every fiber of my being at that moment and long for relief. There’s a place for both, but especially the latter. 

It’s also kind of a lot to talk about when people ask me, So, what’re you into? at, say, a TNG munch. The service and protocol dynamic stuff I’m super passionate about might be a little boring to some people compared to talking about typical scenes, but I’m not too worried about them trying to leap in to “save” me, or triggering anyone with it, or dealing with surprise or accusations. There’s also frequently less explaining and justifying, worrying that they will copy my style without thinking it through for themselves and ending up hurt. Because it does require trust, communication, and self work that not everyone is up to, and that’s okay. It is always refreshing when it is met well, though, and it does happen. 

Now, many adults active in the BDSM scene are used to certain things, and understand others, like chronic conditions. Some bruises and being a little quirky won’t scare them. I’m not too noteworthy out in the vanilla world at this point, either. 

But one thing still comes up as a red flag: the flinching. From an out of place twitch to what I call the full Hallmark movie recoil, I am, relatively clearly, constantly expecting to be hurt. Almost every time Mistress reaches for me, I flinch. I edge myself away from dead ends and corners, watching how she’s subtly moving me there. I keep a distance, or get closer—what she fondly calls the snuggle defense, which is strangely effective on her—to make being struck in certain ways harder. I set things down out of the way, especially valuables or fragile items, when I remotely see pain coming, and keep my hands somewhere they can be quick to defend my face from being slapped or throat from being choked or collar from being grabbed or hair from being yanked or leggings from having a hand shoved down them, or wherever the target is. If her hands are out of my sight, I assume she has some impact implement or maybe a knife. I even verbally try to wiggle my way out of the degradation and humiliation, just like instinctively tugging at a rope tie to make sure it really holds. I can usually tell pain is coming from a mile away—it’s a sometimes pleasant, sometimes not, surprise not to expect it—but since I’m not truly going to defend myself, knowing mostly just builds anticipation. 

If any of those behaviors sound familiar: yes, I act like a victim of physical abuse. And it’s interesting this time, because my behaviors really are a reaction to being hit or choked or kicked or pinned or shoved or scratched or dragged or bit or hurt or fucked against my (momentary) will. I can’t deny that. And irrevocable consent is messy at times. Did I consent? Yes. Once. Years ago. Did I want to be beaten with no warning or warmup today until I screamed? Casually dragged across the floor by the hair yesterday? How about the sex when I was so sick I cried last week? In the moment? Probably not. That’s where the defense reactions come from. But I really want those things to keep happening overall, and I want to not want it in the moment, to gain that sense of ultimate submission from it, because in the end I submit anyway. I frequently don’t cry or scream, I almost never beg for mercy, I never actually fight her, just flinch and squirm, and frequently the only words out of my mouth in all of it are, “Yes, Mistress; thank you, Mistress.”  It’s complicated. 

But those incidents largely happen behind closed doors—obviously, I give insight into them in my public writings—but that is still not as visceral. But I can see a few people mentally flinch when they watch me physically flinch, watch that reflex kick in, because it is helpless and fearful, yet clearly expecting. 

Frequently, Mistress makes fun of me for this. “You act like I randomly hit you or something,” she’ll say when I flinch because she reached for an object near me, then slap me. 

Because the expectation isn’t wrong. She probably is going to hit me, and I’m not going to like it. And so I flinch. And others flinch to watch my constant expectation of pain. 

And yet.

We both continuously look inside ourselves. Can I do this? Should I do this? How do I do it properly? What do I need? What do I want? Why?  We continuously communicate with each other. How do those needs get met? How does this get dynamic get run to represent the underlying why and reality both? We communicate on how to communicate with each other. We check in. I am learning to be more resilient, to provide my own aftercare, to take care of myself, when needed. When pain comes hard and fast with no warning, no negotiation, no warmup, no mercy, no cooldown, no aftercare, I learn to quickly get up, dust myself off, and go back to writing or whatever it was I was doing. I have to trust that future me can take what current me is asking for. She has to trust me to not permanently go to pieces. I have to trust her to not give me what I truly can’t take and to give me what I truly need, while still acknowledging that I agreed to anything and everything and I will honor that vow regardless.  

And that’s what makes the difference, in my opinion, between helplessly acting abused and truly being abused. 

Service Skill: Turndown

Miscellany

Turn off bright/unnecessary lights, turn on bedside lamp (on dim if possible), turn on nightlights. Close or open any desired windows; close all window coverings. 

Tidy up the bedroom. 

Spritz a calming scent (check for sensitivities). See to any air quality needs, like filling humidifiers or adjusting the thermostat. 

Turn on quiet, calming music, or the TV/device of choice to preferred channel/show/etc. on low. Put the remote, if there is one, in a handy location. Or, make it quiet. 

Lay out desired nighttime activity (book, other quiet occupations).

Set the alarm for the morning and plug in devices, if desired. 

Put out bedtime drink and snack of choice, and any needed medication. Make sure the same is ready for the morning. 

Refresh desired bath amenities if needed/if there might be bedtime bathing. Offer assistance. 

Lay out clothes for tomorrow, and nightwear for that night, or help them change, if desired. Place the floor mat if there is one. 

The Bed Itself

Assuming the bed was made properly that morning… (See “Service Skill: Making the Bed”.)

Remove any unnecessary/decorative pieces/covers, etc. 

Place any desired pieces that get added at bedtime (extra pillows, blankets, comfort objects). 

Turn down the bed. For one person, turn one corner down to form a right triangle. For two, turn down both corners. Alternatively, turn down the whole bedspread halfway. (You can also only turn down the top layers to the bottom half, turning down the flat sheet in corner style.) 

Fluff pillows. 

Turndown Card 

Neatly hand write and leave the turndown card on the nightstand/in an obvious place. Don’t forget the date.

Standard additions include menu for the next day, weather forecast, and other needed reminders.  

You can also add quotes, love notes, and more. 

Service Skill: Flower Arranging

Select your flowers. Pick ones that are fresh, and keep the combination simple: monochromatic, shades of the same color, or up to three complementary colors.

Remove unwanted/wilted bits. Make a diagonal cut near the bottom of the stems (cut to size depending on size of vase if needed). Remove any foliage that will fall below the water line in the vase. 

Clean vase if needed. Fill half to three quarters of the way with room temperature/lukewarm water with floral food. Create a guide grid using floral tape or wire if desired.

Add flowers. First, any base greenery, then focal points/larger flowers, then filler flowers/smaller ones, then “floaters”/miscellaneous filler pieces. You can use a Lazy Susan to rotate the vase and see it from all sides, or turn it yourself.

Give the flowers a light spritz of water to recreate the look of fresh dew.

The Slave Bell (Our Pager System)

People always want to know about our pager system.

For a largely outdated technology, it’s certainly an attention grabber. Two hour class, first question in Q+A? Pagers. Random inbox message? Pagers. Comment on a full length, mostly unrelated blog post? Pagers.

So… why?

I get it. I think a large part of it is the slave bell thing. Press the transmitter button, slave appears, and gets the refill, does the thing, so on. Mistress doesn’t even need to put what she wants into words, no shouting, “Slave!” (this created the rule that I need permission to make a phone call, and notify her if I accept one), no texting, just hitting the right button. It doesn’t invite anything but an instant, unquestioning response. The pagers themselves can’t send messages back, and I can usually only be buzzed by one person. It’s the peak of me being at her beck and call, and her beck and call only. That’s all true. 

Realistically, I use the transmitter buttons more than she does, built into services and protocols for things like efficiently requesting to be unleashed for morning (8:10 AM), or alerting her that brunch or dinner is ready (9:30 AM or 6 PM daily, then I get into Waiting Position), though her response will be at her convenience. 

This may still be part of the appeal—a dynamic and lifestyle structured enough that a significant amount of necessary daily communication can be done via pressing preset buttons. We’re both generally home all day, so it works for our range.

On the technology/setup itself… 

We each have the ALPHA staff pager from LRS. I’m required to keep mine clipped to my daily slave uniform. Mistress mostly keeps hers on her desk and might bring it with her if she moves around the house for any length of time when she’s expecting I might page her. She accidentally broke the clip on mine while shoving me once, and since she didn’t usually use the clip on hers, we traded cases. 

There’s a six button transmitter (Pronto Six-Button Push-For-Service Device) on Mistress’ desk and one by the blanket on the floor I sleep on at the foot of the bed. A one button version of the transmitter lives in the dining room.

Mistress has three active buttons on hers, so three distinct messages she can send me by pressing the assigned button, basically: coffee/water refill, check messages (to make sure I get a notification for a text message, etc.), and come here. These page me. I can keep all other notifications off 24/7 and be able to focus on her. She can also send non urgent digital messages without interrupting what I’m currently doing this way. 

The one by my blanket on the floor at the foot of the bed has two: check messages, leash/unleash request. As mentioned, 8:10 AM for unleashing. I get leashed after Evening Inspection at 9:45 PM.

The one button in the dining room is generally used as my alert that the meal is ready (as mentioned, 9:30 AM or 6 PM daily, then I get into Waiting Position), though we also use it as an attention request button that (mostly, overnight) guests can push if they have an urgent question; so, it pages both of us. 

We set this up over a year ago now, and it’s been going great. No complaints. I’d highly recommend it to those in similar situations, though plenty of people may find something else to be a better option for them. Whatever works.