Music, Identity and What’s Left Behind

I’ve found myself reading a lot of obituaries lately. Not because I have a lot of dying friends and relatives. Nope. The obituaries I’m reading are for people I’ve never met. Complete strangers. I can’t tell you why I’m reading them exactly. I suppose I could come up with all sorts or reasons, but I prefer to think that in my advancing years I’ve come to  appreciate people more fully as individuals. And so it seems that with nearly every obituary I read, I end up wondering a bit about that person. What sort of friend would they have been? Would they have been interesting? Made me smile and laugh? Taught me something? Pissed me off? I wonder these things because I don’t know. But I think I would have liked to.

Anyway, I’ve noticed something else in all my obituary reading. It turns out that, even in the end (or perhaps especially at the end), it’s other people who define who you are. As much as we’d like to believe otherwise, our identities don’t belong to us. And unless you’re writing an autobiography or making a film about yourself, other people are going to define your legacy. It’s as if your history doesn’t belong to you as much as it belongs to those you leave behind.

But what does a person leave behind? I like to think of a person’s identity as a sort of music that continues to play in the background of other people’s life. Is that music soft and mellow, barely noticeable and of minor consequence? Is it loud and driven? Or peaceful and comforting? Does it inspire? Or sadden?

Background music is important. It sets the mood. It’s not inconsequential. It’s of, but not in, the moment. James Q. Wilson wrote, “A good character is not life lived according to a rule … it is a life lived in balance.” Achieving balance is a poetic exercise, a matter of striking the different notes harmonically. When the background music of your life is in harmony, your identity is in balance and remembered. And carried over into other lives.

One of the things I admire about Ceara Lynch is that she seems to have found that harmony, that balance. Her background music is sincere, natural, and eloquent. It informs her work in a barely perceptible but consequential way. It’s still early days for Ceara Lynch; her legacy is just beginning to take shape. But I think, at the end, when the music of her life is replayed, the rock and roll sounds of her humiliatrix persona will have played out; and the simple and sweet background music that is her balance will continue to be heard in the minds of those left behind.

Ceara Lynch: Work and Sabbatical

The Grind …

I stopped by my town’s Dairy Queen last night. It’s a traditional DQ. Ninety-nine percent of their sales are ice cream. No hamburgers or grill items. Just ice cream. When the DQ opens in late April, the town knows summer is just about to begin. And when it closes in early October, well, summer is over.

And so I was chatting with the owner as I worked my way through a large Blizzard treat with extra nut topping. We talked about how his summer had been. He told me that, as with the past 18 years of owning and operating the store, business had been amazing. You see, I live in a not-quite-but-almost rural town on the edge of northern Illinois farm country, and taking a walk down to the DQ for ice cream after dinner is as much summer de rigueur for the residents as rooting for the high school football team in the fall. Business in the summer is always good. The owner hires a couple kids to help with the counter and drive through window, but mostly during those months he and his wife are found at the store. The like their job and enjoy, to a huge extent, the long hours the put in. Still, when autumn comes and they close the store, well, that makes them happy too.

I imagined that’s probably how teachers feel. Or farmers. Or most seasonal workers. Find work you enjoy. Work your ass off when you can. Then sit back and enjoy the few months of downtime you have before starting all over again. For my DQ owner friend, the off season is a built-in sabbatical. He and his family travel. They cultivate and enjoy new experiences together. They recharge and they bond. For them, the off-season sabbatical is what “work to live” is all about.

Ceara Lynch is on travel, taking a sabbatical for a few weeks (or longer.) Visiting and bonding with friends too long unseen. Recharging. Cultivating and enjoying new experiences. Ceara has said often, that though she enjoys her work, it’s just a means not an end. The income from her work pays for her travels. And so she works her ass off when she ‘on the clock’ and she’s reaps the fruits of her labor by living life in huge chunks of exhilarating and reinvigorating travel.

And lest you think otherwise, when she’s working, Ceara Lynch’s work is a grind. Hours of behind the scenes work: pre-production set up, make up, wardrobe, props, post-production, distribution, etc. But it’s not just the time involved. Producing a new video each day also takes a mental toll. Imagination flags, fresh ideas become harder to develop, creativity diminishes, and energy drops. There’s a relentless stress that builds with time and potentially affects not only the quality of her work, but her mental and physical health as well. And Ceara is not alone in her industry feeling the need for a sabbatical. Earlier this week, Ellie Idol and Princess Lyne had a short for insightful twitter exchange in which they talked of the stress associated with the job (and, in particular, producing custom videos) as well as the rejuvenating qualities of taking some time off from producing them.

A Sabbatical is …

In theory, a sabbatical is a self-actualizing and regenerative journey of adventure and reflection that gives a respite from work for a month or longer. Sabbaticals are a different beast than a holiday or vacation time. Reasons for taking a sabbatical vary with the individual; some may wish to find their purpose, others may take a sabbatical for health and rejuvenation reasons. For my friend, the Dairy Queen owner, his annual sabbatical was all about family time. For others, it may be to travel and experience the world. In the United States, they’re quite rare, with only 27 percent of companies offering sabbaticals, and only 6 percent being paid by the employer.

In general, there are three types of sabbaticals: lateral, generative, and recuperative. The lateral sabbatical follows a rich tradition of learning and exploration. It includes activities such as teaching, volunteering abroad, or working in an industry related to yours in order to gain new skills in a given area of expertise. These sabbaticals are usually financially supported by academic institutions or businesses (for longtime employees). A generative sabbatical—that fabled and rare year off—is the most idealized. It is forward-looking and optimistic. Upon your return to work, you hope to harness the new ideas and energy it creates. A recuperative sabbatical is the most needed and the most practical. It is often unplanned and occurs only after the “sabbatee” reaches a breaking point, brought on by a chaotic workplace atmosphere of on-demand innovation, parallel work streams‚ and always-on digital lifestyles. The pressure to constantly over-deliver under budget causes a person to lose their ability to control and channel their energy in positive ways. They’re burned out on work they once loved because they’ve run out of room for randomness, spontaneity, and serendipity—all of which are crucial to creativity and innovation. Often the only mode of repair is to take some time off.

Living Your Life …

Whatever the reason for taking a sabbatical, once you get away from the grind and back in touch with your own voice, you realize that you still like yourself and your job, and that what you needed was just a small note of self-appreciation. During your time off, you are able to press your boundaries, reconnect with your inner narrative, and recapture you rhythm of creativity. It’s a time when you can actually feel present in your own lives rather than mindlessly plowing through the day like robots.  It’s a chance to take back your life.

Ceara Lynch likes to travel during her sabbaticals. Taking a sabbatical to travel opens up opportunities to do things that she might otherwise have never done.  When she gets out on an adventure, she become the person she was meant to be.  She begins to experience life rather than just live it.

And I’m all for Ceara Lynch doing that.

Sometimes we need a good reboot.  We need time to de-stress, to get re-energized, to find inspiration, to get motivated.  Whatever the reason, no one should feel guilty about taking a sabbatical.  This is your life.  You only get one shot at it.  There are no do-overs.  And at the end of life nobody ever says “I wish I had worked more.”

Ceara Lynch: Heroes and Cowards

If I never hear the word ‘hero’ again, it’ll be too soon. A couple guys hook up their boat to the back of their SUV and drive to Houston to help with flood relief. And the TV news commentator is gushing about how they’re ‘heroes.’ A old woman smacks a would-be purse snatcher over the head with her purse on the subway, and social media and TV news is blathering on about what a ‘hero’ she is. A young girl sets up a lemonade stand in her front yard to raise money for Hurricane Harvey victims, and the local press calls her ‘the youngest hero.’ And it goes on and on. Enough with the ‘hero’ shit, okay? Ask any of the people in the above stories if they’re ‘heroes’, and they’d say, “No. Just doing what’s right.” And you know something? They’d be correct. Doing the right thing isn’t heroic, it’s the norm. Or at least it should be. The thing is — if everyone’s a hero, then no one is. The word loses it’s meaning. The concept is diminished. When ‘heroes’ are a dime a dozen, truly heroic efforts are cheapened or overlooked.

So what is a hero then?

A fireman risks her own life to save an infant for a burning inferno. Heroic? Hell yeah. And dramatic too. So give that fireman a medal, write up a glowing news story about her, and let the accolades flow. But don’t confuse her actions with her profession. Not all first responders are heroes. Neither are all deployed men and women of the military. Actions, not uniforms, make a hero. And usually the truly heroic actions are more of a sustained effort than a drama-filled burst of insane energy and love. The low-income single mother working two part time jobs. Raising her family in a tough situation; her two teenage daughters aren’t pregnant, her son has never been to jail. For years she’s put in the work and the sacrifice. And her children are better for it. To me that woman is a hero. Heroics is about extraordinary effort and extraordinary sacrifice, and most important, about selflessness and love. It’s not as rare as we think. But it’s usually overlooked or misidentified. Heroics make good broadcast news, but broadcast news is pretty shallow. To find the real heroes, sometimes you’ve got to look deeper than that. And, as in the case of the single mother, sometimes you won’t recognize their heroics until years later. Not everyone is a ‘hero’. But I think they’re out there. As are the cowards.

Recently, Ceara Lynch referred to herself as a coward; or more specifically, to her reaction to a death threat directed towards her as being cowardly. Here’s the back story as I understand it. Ceara is not shy about producing fetish videos that may be politically incorrect. As she points out, “All fetishes are politically incorrect.” But some fetishes are more hot button issues than others – like racial humiliation, or those with a specific anti-religious theme. At some point, an anonymous religious zealot took offense with one of Ceara’s clips and threatened her life if she continued to produce clips with that particular theme. It should be noted that over the past decade, journalists and others have been killed for less by these same sort of zealots. So the threat had to be taken seriously. Discretion being the better part of valor, Ceara stopped producing those particular type of fetish videos. But in so doing, it left her with a sour taste in her mouth. In her mind, she had done the cowardly thing in sacrificing free speech for security. Which is bullshit, of course. But we always seem to judge ourselves more harshly than others would, so I understand where she’s coming from. But, in this case, Ceara’s self-critique is wrong. She may have been afraid, but she wasn’t acting cowardly.

Everyone is afraid. Usually we finds ways to cope with that low-level fear and live normal healthy lives. But certain things, like credible death threats, are so perverse and outside the normalcy of life, that our day-to-day coping mechanisms have difficulty in handling them. That new fear has a sense of urgency and threatens to temporarily override our rational thought. In the extreme, fear is replaced by terror and normalcy is rend asunder. (This is what makes terrorism such a potent weapon.) But being fearful in these perverse instances is not the same as being cowardly. To be cowardly is to allow your fear to adversely affect other people. For example, by not doing the job others depend on you to do; or worse, by panicking and showing fear in such a way as to undermine the morale and courage of those around you. Other people define your cowardice, not you. And just as martydom does not define courage, choosing your fights wisely does not define cowardice.

Ceara Lynch is no coward. No one is adversely affected by her choice, in this instance, to not take a stand for free speech and continue to produce this particular brand of fetish video. Free speech will endure regardless.

And as for the flip side of the coin. Ceara Lynch isn’t a hero either. Though I think at some point in her life, she just might be.

Sex Workers

It was a little over 40 years ago. I was hours away from boarding my plane to Newport, Rhode Island and the Navy’s Officer Candidates School. I could tell that my father  was searching for something significant to say. Something that would mark the moment for him. I was going, and the only gift he could give me were words. I don’t think he ever knew just how marvelous a gift those words were to become. His words, his simple yet eloquent thought, would guide me for the remainder of my life.

Decades have passed since that day. I’ve met people all over the world from every walk of life, of every demographic, every temperament, and every disposition. And always in the forefront of my thoughts were my father’s words, “Afford people the dignity they deserve as a human being.”

It’s a simple idea. Which makes me wonder why it was so dam hard to do at first. I mean, there were people that got my respect right off the bat. But others … well … I saw them as flawed; they were ‘less than.’ I was young, brash, judgmental, and pretty much an asshole. But thank God, my father’s words were always there. Lurking just below the surface. Eventually, slowly, they began to prod through the thick self-indulgent layers of my thick skull. And eventually I learned to adjust my perspective, to look at people through a kinder lens. Eventually, viewing people through the lens created by those words became a habit. Now I always see it. In everyone. Dignity. It’s what makes us different. It’s what makes us human.

And it’s why I now get angry when people are treated as ‘less than.’

In the United States, somewhere near the bottom of the ‘less than’ ladder are sex workers. Strippers. Exotic dancers. Escorts. Prostitutes. Porn stars. Culturally, they’re seen as ‘flawed’ and not worthy of dignity. And that’s bullshit. Society’s got it wrong.

They’re people. They love. They live. They aspire. They cope with life. They’re all worthy of being afforded the dignity they deserve as human beings.  And part of affording them the dignity they deserve is to recognize their work has value. Work for which they should be fairly compensated.   Anything less is inhumane.  And anyone offering less is an asshole.

CEARA LYNCH: HER MOST IMPORTANT VIDEO CLIPS

Ceara Lynch’s pornography is different.  Her interactive and personalized services immerse a customer in an ecosystem of debauchery.  Catering to a wide spectrum of fetishes, with a particular emphasis on humiliation and financial domination, her video clips are arguably the most important dimension of that experience. With nearly 1600 clips to her credit, it’s pointless to try to identify her best. Instead, I’ll try to identify her most important clips — clips that took her or her customers in a new direction; clips that pushed the envelope; clips that revealed more about her person than about her persona; clips that inspired; clips that saw and took advantage of a new way to play online. In short, I’ll try to identify the most trailblazing clips in a trailblazing career.

So, in no particular order, here are Ceara Lynch’s Most Important Clips.

Die for Me (8 Min., 20 Nov 2009) In late 2009, as one of her earliest advertising efforts, Ceara briefly promoted herself with a now defunct FEMDOM marketing website, www.dieforher.com. That effort (which included one of her earliest interviews) resulted in extensive internet play of a trailer, Die for Me.  Her most dark clip to date, it revealed a role Ceara relished … a combination of girlish charm and femme fatale sophistication that induced men to run towards their own demise.  The clip would eventually go on to be one of Clips4Sale top-selling videos in 2009.  Die For Me , along with another important video she produced that same year, Interactive Blackmail, resulted in her being named  www.dieforher.com‘s 2009 Femme Fatale of the Year.   At 23, with two top-selling clips at a flourishing Clips4Sale marketplace, Ceara had moved out of the shadows and onto a career path that would make her an undisputed leader in her industry niche.

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Ceara Lynch “Die for Me” Trailer

The Bitch Next Door (Series, Nov – Dec 2010) When it comes to male fetishes, it’s pretty safe to say that there’s nothing new under the sun. By 2010, Ceara had become sufficiently experienced with the males’ mind that her video productions tended to follow plot ‘templates’ for the more common fetishes. In late 2010, she produced a series of 12 clips … The Bitch Next Door Series … which folded all those templates into a single coherent story line. Entailing a full spectrum of fetishes from denial, to humiliation, to sissification, to foot worship, to pee drinking, and more, these 12 clips take the viewer on a smorgasbord of FEMDOM delight. For those able to remain chaste through the entire series, the final clip provides an amazing twist well worth persevering through to the end.

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Ceara Lynch “The Bitch Next Door, Part 10”

N*ggr (10 Min., 27 Nov 2015) Her most controversial clip, Ceara pushes the envelope of a customer’s fetish to the point of bumping against a social taboo. Denounced as racist by critics, this humiliation clip (commissioned by a black client) uses strong racist language and verbal imagery. The importance of this clip lies not in so much in its taboo subject matter as in Ceara’s cogent defense of its production and her subsequent commitment to unencumbered non-injurious fantasy play by fetish practitioners everywhere (http://blog.cearalynch.com/2016/09/01/racial-humiliation/)

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Ceara Lynch “N*ggr”

Interactive Blackmail (9 Min., 25 Oct 2009) “Do you really think that you stand a chance against me?” And with these words, Ceara opens a clip destined to become a classic. In this clip, Ceara is at her best as the young wicked Brat Princess seducing men into emailing her personal information … information which she implies will be used ruthlessly and often to get what she wants from her victim. It’s early Ceara Lynch at her finest. Edgy and raw, it used email in conjunction with POV video clips to push the technical envelope of online submission. But perhaps more importantly, it introduced a very real element of danger that took fetish play to another level. Fantasy could become reality if Ceara wanted.  That she never actually chose to exploit those opportunities did little to diminish the sexual charge released by this very real online power exchange.

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Ceara Lynch “Interactive Blackmail”

Real Orgasm (10 Min., 01 Jun 2015)  In this clip, the usual Ceara Lynch persona disappears and is replaced by Ceara Lynch, the person. There’s no fantasy play. No games. It’s one hundred percent real. Shot from the neck up, Ceara provides a view of herself masturbating to climax. The clip could not have been made prior to her ”self-outing” in the spring of 2014 and is a watershed moment in revealing a confident and self-secure Ceara Lynch to her audience.

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Ceara Lynch “Real Orgasm”

Phone Sex (5 Min., 20 Aug 2013) Sometimes it better to be lucky than good.  As with this video.  Phone Sex is Ceara Lynch’s most pirated video of all time. Before Ceara hired a DCMA take down service, this clip’s search engine placement results (for “phone sex”) became an unintended marketing boon for her business, showcasing her talents for an audience that otherwise may not have known of her.  Despite the huge piracy rate, things turned out remarkably well for Ceara as the short video eventually went on to become number one on Clips4Sale’s top-selling clips list.

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Ceara Lynch “Phone Sex”

Ask Lynch (Series, Jan 2012) Before ‘”AMA” was a popular shorthand for “Ask Me Anything,” there was Ceara Lynch’s five-part video series, Ask Lynch. These videos were among the first opportunities for her fans to delve beneath the persona and discover a bit about the person. Responding to invited questions from her fans, Ceara answers were genuine, interesting, and honest. Some of the questions were a bit outlandish, some serious, some fetish-orientated, and some were just your basic ‘get to you know’ type. With few exceptions, Ceara’s answers provided insight into her thinking, character, and values. At the time, the clips may have been overlooked as a bit gimmicky; today they can be more fully appreciated as one of her earliest steps down the path towards full public acknowledgment of her chosen profession.

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Ceara Lynch “Ask Ceara”

Lip Locking Lushes (8 Min., 21 Sep 2011) Among the very earliest of her “kissing’ clips, this remains one of the best. The clip opened up a whole category of Ceara’s videos. Featuring play rather than simple collaboration, Ceara and Mistress T depart from their usual Domme personas and relish each other’s sexuality. The chemistry between Ceara and Mistress T is palatable, the passion real. As with Ceara’s ‘Real Orgasm’ clip, the viewer is offered a very real insight into Ceara’s sexual dynamic. As the clips ends, Ceara and Mistress T lead each other into the bedroom and close the door, leaving the viewer with only his imagination … and an insatiable hunger to know more.

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Ceara Lynch “Lip Locking Lushes”

Lynchnosis (2 Min., 7 Jul 2016) This short but powerful two-minute clip was Ceara’s first deliberate attempt at video hypnosis. A bit stylized and over the top, it nevertheless pushed the envelope and opened an entirely different genre of Ceara Lynch video – hypnosis, mesmerize, and brainwashing. For those clients predisposed, these new content clips provided a deeper richer connection with Ceara … or so at least it seemed.

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Ceara Lynch “Lynchnosis”

Goddess Worship – Submit to Cearaism (7 Min., 12 Oct 2009) This is another video classic that provided a marked departure from Ceara’s previous work and which introduced a whole new dynamic for herself and her customers. Gone was the Princess. The Bitchy Spoiled Brat had been replaced with a Goddess to be worship and adored. Ceara was a deity around whom the world revolved. Science and reason could not explain the primal urgency and excitement aroused by Goddess Ceara. But those feelings, those emotional and sexual needs, were there and would not be denied. So a new religion is formed., “Cearaism”. A bit contrived, but nevertheless at its core one senses an underlying element of truth.

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Ceara Lynch “Goddess Worship – Submit to Cearaism”

30 Minute Tease and Edge (31 Min., 09 Oct 2014) By clip standards, this is a featured length movie – over 30 minutes of sustained tease, denial and edging. It takes a lot of imagination and work to maintain any solo performance for that length of time. But Ceara delivers. Her performance transfixes her audience, and for the next 30 minutes the outside world is suspended … only Ceara exists. It’s a remarkable clip and a remarkable performance that could only be done by an accomplished and practiced professional. Ceara draws on all her skill and talent to make this clip work. And it does.

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Ceara Lynch “30 Minute Tease and Edge”

Blasphemy (14 Min., 08 Aug 2015) “Fuck Jesus.” And with these words, Ceara shatters another taboo barrier. Less criticized but more provocative than her “N*ggr” clip, Ceara goes full on anti-Christ in this video. She’s always relished the role as provocateur, and this clip is Ceara at her disrespectful best. Beneath the superficial storyline, the viewer senses a genuine disdain for organized religion and religious beliefs; particularly when it comes to proscribed sexual norms.

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Ceara Lynch “Blasphemy”

Your Brain on Porn (9 Min., 26 Feb 2015) Can a person become addicted to pornography? And if so, what are the consequences? Ceara is unconvinced that pornography addiction is real, at least to the extent that an diagnosable addiction manifests itself physiologically as with drugs or alcohol. Nevertheless, that didn’t preclude Ceara from exploiting pornography addiction as an avenue to worm her way deeper into the psyche of her customers. It’s a complex issue that could have very real consequences for both porn consumer and porn producer. While not addressing the issue head on, this clip nonetheless provoked considerable discussion about porn addiction elsewhere within the online FEMDOM/FINDOM community.

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Ceara Lynch “Your Brain on Porn

As always, your comments and thoughts are appreciated.

 

PEDESTAL HEIGHTS, SELF ESTEEM AND THAT RIGHT DOMME

In case you haven’t noticed, the media has discovered Ceara Lynch. In recent years, she’s been the subject of televised interviews, cable television network shows, popular podcasts, e-magazine articles, a local television news story, and even a full length hybrid documentary (Ruin Me”) scheduled for release in Dec 2017. Not yet a pop icon, she is becoming the public face for an expanding niche of internet entrepreneurs. Culturally her persona resides at the intersection of the American dream, feminism, entrepreneurship, and sexual freedom. Ceara Lynch’s art doesn’t have a message. She’s stumbled onto something, recognized the opportunity, and took advantage of it. There’s no deep meaning or message in her work. No socially redeeming value. She’s not beating some drum for an issue or idea. She’s just making money and having fun with it. And that’s a large part of her public appeal. She’s genuine, unambiguous, and isn’t pushing some sort of cultural, social or political agenda .

And that makes me smile. I’m glad for her. But not because we have some sort of special relationship or anything like that. We don’t. I’m just one of tens of thousands of online admirers who find her attractive. And finding her attractive, I put her on a pedestal. But in my experience, most women don’t want to be put on a pedestal. Not a high one, anyway. They find it uncomfortable. Placing them on a pedestal runs counter to their more realistic sense of self.

So how high of a pedestal befits Ceara Lynch? Or conversely, how much of a display of my submissiveness is too much?

When it comes to BDSM behavior, I generally hate lists of “rules.” Interpersonal relationships are not build so much on rules as upon mutually respected boundaries discovered through an agile process of mental give-and-take. That said, below are a few thoughts for male submissives about pedestals, self-esteem, service with dignity, and playing with Dommes in general, and Ceara Lynch in particular.

  • Dommes (and submissives) are people. Vanilla courtesies always apply.
  • Don’t try to act like a Domme’s submissive or slave without their consent. Would you try to act like a woman’s boyfriend if you weren’t? Of course not. Same principle applies. It takes two people to establish that relationship. Don’t be a tool. Get the Domme’s buy in first.
  • Don’t showboat. Sincerity counts more than a disingenuous performance.
  • Your fetishes, needs and desires matter. They are not, however, the Domme’s problem until she chooses to address them. If the Domme won’t address them, there’s a reason – most likely your desires and hers aren’t compatible. In that case, don’t persist in trying to establish a relationship. Not having your needs met doesn’t make you a submissive, it makes you a martyr.
  • Your fetishes, even if they don’t involve your penis, are intimate acts. They are as personal as asking for sex. Govern yourself accordingly.
  • Unless a Domme asks for them, don’t offers acts of service for acts of kink. It’s not a fair business deal. Your service is generally of far less monetary value than what the Domme would otherwise earn for enabling that act of kink you want.
  • Not all Dommes are comfortable with you buying them stuff. If you want to buy them stuff, ask first. Money is power. Given freely and sincerely, gifts and tributes are a type of of power-exchange that can lead to a mutually satisfying experience. If on the other hand, the Domme thinks you are just buying them gifts as a way to exercise your own power, that mutually enduring and satisfying relationship you seek will continue to evade you.
  • Your submissive desires do not define you. They are not the entirety of who you are. A Domme’s long term interest in you will have more to do with you, the whole person, rather than you, the submissive.
  • Professionals who stay in the business will be trading a real service for money, and will be as explicit and up front about what they do to max extent possible. Anyone less explicit and up front (i.e., women who demand tribute first) are either scammers, naive, or not serious about their profession.
  • You are no more or less valuable as a person just because you are a male submissive. You are not unattractive to all women. Some may even find your fetishes compatible with their own.
  • Dommes can’t sustain a conversation based on how awesome they are. Don’t force a worship dynamic on them. Use compliments like you would salt and pepper – apply sparingly and where suited.
  • Don’t mash a square peg into a round hole. Try to make your needs sexy and inviting, and not like a chore the Domme’s doing for you.
  • Safewords are so you can say “no.” Use a safeword if you’re afraid you don’t have the willpower to stop. Discuss in advance with your Domme what it means to you. Never assume the Domme knows. Never, ever assume.
  • If you act like every Domme is the last lifeboat off the Titanic or your only chance at a relationship, she is going to run away. Don’t behave like a nut job. And don’t get taken advantage of because you are desperate.
  • Don’t compare Dommes with each other. Discussing with a Domme how she is prettier, saner, smarter, etc., than some other Domme won’t go as well as you think it will.
  • Penis size is less important than you might think. The average aroused penis is just over 6” long and 2” in diameter. The average aroused vaginal opening is 6 1/2” deep and 2 1/2” wide. The area that is thought to be important for most women’s sexual response is the outer one third. The point is, dicks longer than 6 inches are mostly just humping air.
  • You can’t seduce women with a lousy picture of your anus. Or dick pics.
  • Don’t tell the Domme how their gender or ethnicity makes them naturally dominant. Dominance is a state of mind, not a physical attribute.
  • Don’t tell Dommes certain sex acts aren’t ‘dominant’ or worry about how subs aren’t supposed to want certain things. Satisfying your partner as a sub may mean doing what she wants, not what you wish she wanted.
  • Pegging, cross dressing, etc., are not inherently submissive.  ‘Serve’ is not synonymous with ‘kinky sex act’. If you just want it up the butt, you don’t need to call a woman ‘Mistress’.
  • You are allowed to have limits. Give some thought to them. Know them. It is not your Dommes job to ‘push’ or ‘expand’ your limits unless you both think that idea of that is sexy.
  • Dominance and submission is more like a dimmer switch than a radio button. You’re not either a dominant or a submissive. Most people have a mix of dominant/submissive personalities and sexual tendencies. It’s a spectrum that people fall somewhere in the middle. Find where you fall, embrace that person, and enjoy it.
  • Don’t trash talk other subs or try tell a Domme how you are an “alpha”slave or “a true submissive”.  Your ranking system is self labeling and bullshit.
  • Dommes can be insecure, sad, clueless, make mistakes, need snuggles, fall in love, have terrible taste in media, get horribly infected ingrown toenails, have body image issues, question their sexuality and self esteem and at the end of the day are just as lost, clueless and fumbling around as you.   So don’t be surprised when they fall off that pedestal you place them on.  Because they will.  Best to lower that pedestal a bit so no one is hurt the next time they do.

CEARA LYNCH: MONETIZING IMPOSTER SYNDROME

I recently saw that Ceara Lynch obtained tickets to this year’s Burning Man festival. Seeing those tickets reminded me of an incident that occurred when I was attending in the mid 2000’s. It was my second Burning Man, and lot’s had changed since my first – more art, more people, more anarchy, just a whole lot more of amazing. Period.

I was walking around with an artist friend just taking it all in, and we got to talking about how she did her art. Her answer struck me as odd, not because it was so unexpected but because it was so familiar. The way she did her art – her creative process – was exactly the same way I pretty much had done my job. And I just retired from the military. Which isn’t exactly know as a place for artistic expression, if you catch my drift. Anyway, what she said was, “Nowadays, I pretty much just make shit up as I go along.” I mean, she had been doing her artist thing for over 20 years. She knew the advanced techniques of her craft, and she had lots of experience (meaning she had made lots of mistakes along the way.) She had arrived at that point in her career where she trusted her skills and experience. And she also knew that if she made a mistake or two or ten, the world wasn’t going to end. As she said, “Dude, it’s just wood and metal.”

I had heard that “making shit up as you go along” mantra many times during the course of my 27 years in the service. The first time was in the 1980’s. I was still a pretty junior officer, and my eight men and I had been assigned a job that, if we failed to get it right, could potentially cost people their lives. We did all the planning, red teamed our plans, prepared contingencies, and went over all the “what ifs” we could think of, but still there were a lot of things that could go wrong. It was hardly the perfect plan, it was based on imperfect intelligence, and as the saying goes, “No plan survives the first contact.” Just before launch, my boss pulled me aside, “If the shit hits the fan and things falls apart, just trust your training. Trust your equipment. Trust your men. And use your initiative. It’s okay to make shit up as you go along. Just get the job done.” “And keep me informed.”

To our good fortune, the shit didn’t hit the fan that time. And things went according to plan. But I had learned that “making shit up as you go along” was okay. Even encouraged in the right situations. It was okay to get creative. In fact, as I got more senior in rank and gained more experience, I found myself “making shit up as I went along” far more often than I did back in the day. Fact of the matter was that some of the stuff we were doing later on hadn’t been done before. “Making shit up” was what we were expected to do.

Like my artist friend, I had learned to trust myself and my abilities. For her, it was a lot of trial and error and making mistakes that were, in the larger scheme of things, not very consequential. For me, it was training, training, and more training. It was failure when it didn’t count (during practice) so that we would be successful when it did.

Not everyone has that sort of training regimen or, like my artist friend, the freedom from unforgivable consequences if they make a mistake. When it comes to confidence building in the normal workplace, those sort of conditions are luxuries. So some people find it unnerving when they’re required to “make shit up as they go along.” And even if they’re successful, they aren’t comfortable that their success is based on a requisite level of skill or knowledge. They feel like a fraud. And they’re afraid they’ll be found out.

The Impostor Syndrome …

Back in the 1970s, researchers coined the term “impostor phenomenon” which describes what happens when you feel like a fraud and fear that you’ll one day be exposed. Common symptoms include worrying that your success in life has been the result of some kind of error and thinking that everyone around you is more intelligent than you. For years, the scientific community believed that the phenomenon was largely confined to high-achieving women. But many of those same researchers are beginning to realize that feeling like an impostor is a more universal experience and that it could be even more problematic for men.

Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy describes this shift in perception of the impostor phenomenon — also known as the “impostor syndrome” or “impostorism.” After she gave her TED Talk on power posing in 2012, Cuddy said she received thousands of emails from people who reported feeling like a fraud — and about half were men. Meanwhile, other researchers were discovering that men struggled with impostorism just as often as women. In private practice, men were generally unwilling to talk about it. But when asked anonymously, men were expressing it to the same degree as women. Cuddy explains that “men who deviate from the strong-assertive stereotype — in other words, men who are able to express self-doubt — risk experiencing what psychologists call ‘stereotype backlash’, a type of punishment which often takes the form of harassment or even ostracism for failing to conform to societal expectations.” As a result, men end up hiding their fears, unable to unburden themselves and seek help.

The problem with impostorism isn’t simply psychological discomfort: It can lead directly to failure. Cuddy writes that impostorism causes us to self-criticize constantly, to “choke at the worst possible moments, and to disengage — thereby virtually ensuring that we will under perform at the very things we do best and love most.” Unfortunately, achievements don’t necessarily alleviate impostorism. In fact, Cuddy says, they may just make the experience worse, because you have new opportunities to feel like you don’t deserve your success.

If impostorism exists in the workplace, it almost certainly exists in the bedroom. Measured against culturally-exaggerated expectations of ‘typical’ male size and sexual prowess, a man could easily feel inadequate; a man could easily see himself as a fraud. Not really a man. Something less. An impostor. And thinking that, as Cuddy points out, leads to feedback loop of failure and under performance which just reinforces the notion of being a fraud.

Enter Ceara Lynch …

Now I don’t know if there is any therapeutic value in sharing these insecurities with a woman like Ceara Lynch. But it only takes a cursory glance at Ceara’s extensive clip catalog to see that male sexual impostorism makes up a large part of her customer base. As Ceara often says, “We don’t chose our fetishes.” But our fetishes do come from somewhere. Perhaps fetishes like small penis humiliation, feminization, and sissy training have their roots in impostorism. As I said, I don’t know.

What I do know is that Ceara Lynch has found a way to monetize male humiliation and impostorism on a mass scale. And I think that’s pretty cool.