At this moment, Joy and I are almost exclusively vanilla. I say “almost” because, me being me, there’s always a certain amount of manhandling and hands-above-head holding that’s going to happen during sex, but other than that… The cuffs are packed away, the paddles lie cold on their shelf, and while an occasional vibrator may see some use, the more extreme models remain in the back of the drawer. It’s quite different than we have been used to around here–the feeling of intense sexuality that used to permeate our house has faded, and been replaced with a feeling almost of waiting…for what, I’m not sure, but it sure feels like something is going to happen around here sometime soon.
We have been through a hiatus in our D/s relationship once before, and it lasted for several months, but that time was different. It was clear what had happened, and in fact, the break could be traced to a single event. This time, however, there was no discernible trigger event, and I’m still not entirely clear what has caused Joy to retreat from her submission. Joy does not seem to be very clear on it either.
As best as I can tell, several different factors seem to be contributing to the way Joy feels. These include:
- Embarrassment: Joy has a powerful sense of shame, and for some reason it seems to have kicked in strongly around ttwd and some of the things we have done together. Spanking is particularly shameful to her, and she can hardly even talk about it. The embarrassment seems to have two sources–the first is Joy’s traditional conflict between what a strong woman “should” be like and the bedroom submission that so excites her. The second is her own self-image–she believes both that she’s no longer as attractive as she used to be (because she’s no longer twenty-something) and that she’s not very good at submission.
- Fear: Joy is afraid that she might lose herself in submission, that the strong woman she prides herself in being might vanish and be replaced by something else…something less.
- Outside stress: With an uncertain career situation at the moment, plus a variety of other external stressors, Joy feels a fair amount of general anxiety, and that doesn’t mix well with D/s for her. For Joy to feel comfortable enough to submit, she must feel secure in her life, and right now, that’s an issue.
- Libido: Joy says that her libido has decreased abruptly. I’m not sure whether that is a physical change, or whether that is simply a result of the above factors combining to reduce her overall desire for sex.
While all this sounds rather distressing (and trust me, it is), at the same time I remain convinced that progress is being made. We are still talking about the situation, for one thing. For another, sex has improved over the past couple weeks. Despite her claims of low libido, Joy has recently been rather demonstrative in her enjoyment of our times in the bedroom, and that heartens me. We have also re-introduced a toy or two, and that makes for another step in the right direction. And I have seen how aroused Joy becomes when a hint of D/s is displayed while we are together, despite her rejection of it.
I espouse taking baby-steps and being satisfied with incremental progress when it comes to BDSM. It’s not easy, but I am having to follow my own prescription right now, being content with each inch forward and being patient when no forward progress is possible. Inch-by-inch we go, and hopefully eventually we will earn our way back to where we started. If not, then we will need to adapt. What we will become in that case, I cannot say for sure.