Caitlin returns for a follow-up coaching session with her partner, Chris. They check in with Leah about their BDSM explorations, dom/sub dynamics, communication in and out of play sessions, aftercare, safe words, bruising, pleasure, and sourcing and trying new ideas.
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT (CLICK TO OPEN)
LEAH: Welcome to Good Girls Talk About Sex. I am sex and intimacy coach Leah Carey. And this is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!
LEAH: Hey, friends. A couple of weeks ago, you heard me do a coaching session with Caitlin. She was talking about her newfound attraction to women and how she can go about exploring it. And I’m going to give you a little update on that at the end of the episode.
During that conversation, she mentioned Chris. The two of them have been in a friends with benefits relationship for a while that both of them consider non-monogamous. But when the pandemic hit, they were already inside each other’s bubbles, so they became monogamous sort of by necessity. Today, Caitlin and Chris joined me together for a couple’s coaching session where we talk about their explorations in BDSM.
They began playing in the BDSM realm several months ago and came to me because as Caitlin said, “They don’t know what they don’t know.” They wanted to have a place to ask questions, get feedback and talk in an open and non-judgmental space to make sure everything is out in the open. Now, Caitlin has been a previous coaching client. I had never spoken to Chris prior to this conversation, but he let me know that he has been a listener to the podcast for a while. So, I just want to say hello to all you men out there who are enthusiastic listeners.
They knew that this conversation was being recorded for air and I’m grateful that they were both willing to show up with such openness and honesty. If you enjoy listening in on these coaching sessions, please let me know. I have one more recorded to share with you a couple of weeks. But if you like them, I’ll do more in the future. At the end of this episode, I’ll give you more information about how you can work with me, doing sex and intimacy coaching. Okay. Now, let’s talk to Caitlin and Chris.
So, Caitlin and Chris, I am so excited to talk with you. Caitlin, you and I did a private session recently talking about your explorations into attractions to women. And you and I have worked together before, as we’ve said then. But now, we’re folding Chris into the conversation. Chris, you and I have not worked together at all. In fact, this is the first time we’re speaking at all. So, I’m excited to sort of hear what’s going on with the two of you and find out how I can support you. I understand that you’re both kind of allergic to labels.
LEAH: I think we have taken from my earlier conversation with Caitlin is that the two of you are more like friends with benefits than you are like a traditional couple.
CHRIS: That’s correct. Yeah.
LEAH: You would consider yourself non-monogamous were we not in a pandemic situation.
LEAH: Where the two of you are sort of each other’s bubble. Does that feel correct?
CHRIS: Yeah. Exactly.
LEAH: Okay. Terrific. So, now, I’m going to send it over to the two of you to let me know what is going on that you want to talk about today.
CAITLIN: So, we’ve been friends for a long time before sex got at it. And so, that friends with benefits, it is that sort of best friends with benefits scope, which has been advantageous because we already communicated so well in so many ways and trusted each other in so many ways. And so, probably five months ago, I think we worked out it was. We sort of shifted into a more intentional BDSM dynamic. So, the vanilla sex we were having had shades of that. And at that point, it became a much more intentional like, “Hey. Do you realize we’re kind of leaning towards this anyway? And I’ve thought about these things. Have you thought about these things?”
CAITLIN: And it turns out we were both thinking about these things.
LEAH: It’s funny how that works out.
CAITLIN: It is. I was like, “This is the most convenient thing to happen to me ever.”
LEAH: Before you go on, can you just tell me. Before you had this conversation, what were the shades of BDSM that were showing up?
CHRIS: When using a tie as bondage or kind of like rougher sex, I guess, for lack of a better term.
CAITLIN: Or blindfolds.
CAITLIN: Basic restraint.
LEAH: Yeah. So, pretty lowkey stuff, but definitely moving out of your sort of like Tab A goes into Hole B kind of sex.
CAITLIN: It did.
LEAH: Okay. Great.
CAITLIN: Shades of consensual, non-consensual, a little bit before. And so then, it became a very intentional thing. And so, we’ve been very careful, and I think in a good way intentional, about communicating sort of, we use the term play date for that versus we’re just having vanilla sex because we need a term.
LEAH: I love it. Yes.
CAITLIN: So ahead of time talking about, “Well, what do you feel like? What do I feel like? Well, how do you want me to do that?” And then it happening, and then aftercare and the reflecting after, “Well, how was that? Well, what if we did this different?” Sort of checking in.
And so, I think we are in a good space for that, but we also don’t know what we don’t know. And so, in both the aspect, are there things that we should be considering that we just don’t even know to consider as we’re in that dynamic? And then, also, you almost don’t realize what other things you might like. And so, when we were talking in preparation for this, it was almost like, “Well, I like tuna salad so I probably also like chicken salad. But if I don’t know chicken salad exists, how do I try chicken salad?”
CAITLIN: And so, it’s a little bit of that, I think.
LEAH: Yeah. Okay. Great. And when you said you mentioned after care, can you tell me what your after care looks like?
CHRIS: Yes. It’s usually depending on the type of play date but typically like ice pack, a lot of cuddling and holding each other, making sure Caitlin is hydrated well, things of that nature. Really just kind of making sure emotionally connecting with each other afterwards rather than just being an intense play date and then being, “Well, that was fun. And I’m going to go and I’ll see you later.”
LEAH: Good. I’m glad to hear it. That’s really important piece of this whole thing. And so, it sounds like Caitlin, you are primarily or exclusively a Sub in these dynamics?
CAITLIN: Except for the few times we’ve tried it the other way, which was not my forte and I did not enjoy and I have informed Chris.
CAITLIN: So, he wants that experience, which is fine. We’ll have to wait until after the pandemic. If he was going to do it, it’s not me.
LEAH: Okay. And Chris, how does that feel to you?
CHRIS: It feels appropriate because, yeah, we tried it a few times. I’ve noticed that I have been able to sink into that sort of extent, and then the moment I pick up that Caitlin’s feeling uncomfortable that I realize, “Okay. I’m feeling uncomfortable and this doesn’t feel right.” And so, I’m not sure I want to have a submissive experience that often, but I do think at some point, being able to actually have and say, “It’s actually what I want or if it isn’t what I want.”
LEAH: Yeah. Okay. Great. So, it sounds like the communication lines on that are wide open. And that’s great. I love how open and communicative the two of you are with each other. This is a fantastic place to be working from. You also mentioned ice packs, which makes me think that you’re doing some high impact play. Is that correct?
LEAH: And how extensive does that play get?
CAITLIN: I don’t know. This is one of those things we don’t even know.
CHRIS: We don’t know either. We can send you the pictures of the bruises.
LEAH: Okay. Let me ask it differently.
LEAH: What kinds of activities are you doing? What kinds of implements are you using? What kinds of communication scale do you have during the play itself?
CHRIS: So, anything that’s ranging from a paddle, riding crop, you grabbed a switch from the woods, but you said, “Let’s.”
CAITLIN: He was hesitant to use myself with a grab switch.
CHRIS: Well, because it’s along those lines. One of the first things that we’ve been really conscious about doing is before I use anything on Caitlin, I’d make sure to use it on myself. And so, that was the first time using the stick for the woods. I was like, Yeah. No.” I’m not comfortable being able to control the level of impact of this from like, “Well, it kind of hurts, wow. It’s very small”, for the lack of a better term.
CHRIS: And then, sometimes spanking with my hand as well. And regarding communication with that, it’s usually kind of checking in beforehand like making sure that Caitlin remembers what her safe word is. And then, periodically during, it depends on the iteration of the impact play, I guess, for lack of a better term. So, if it’s slow and drawn out, then usually we typically have music on in the background. We have our play date playlist.
CAITLIN: We’re conditioning. We’re researchers.
CHRIS: You’re driving. You hear that song in the car. You’re like, “Ooh. Hey.”
CHRIS: “I miss Caitlin right now. It’s so weird.” But there have been times have it’s slow and drawn out, the music, riding the entire duration of a song, but going from 2 up to 10. And other times, it’s 2, 6, 8, 10.
LEAH: Okay. Great. I love to hear you use that kind of measurement system. So, 2 to 10 or 0 to 10 because that means that the two of you are really communicating about where you are and it’s not just stop and go. So, terrific. And Caitlin, how are you feeling about being able to use your safe word? Have you ever safe worded?
CAITLIN: I have actually fairly recently. I think only once, the one time and it was actually during impact play.
CHRIS: You’ve done it two or three times.
CAITLIN: Have I? Well, I don’t remember half the time what happens.
CAITLIN: For me, it’s very like, “I’m high. Things are just happening.”
LEAH: So, you go straight into Sub space?
CAITLIN: I can’t. So, we’ve been intentional about that too. And the dynamic. And for me, it’s very much either I’m in a more bratty mood and it’s leaning towards that way and I don’t get into deep Sub space and then it’s more of a back and forth almost banter to it versus “Okay, well, I’m going into Sub space.” And so, I’ve had to express particularly with impact play, you can’t jump from 0 to 8. If you’re trying to get a reaction to being bratty, that may be a jump from 0 to 8. But if you’re trying to get me to where I’m deeply submissive, then it has to build more.
That’s just the different way that I experience that. And so, to Chris’s credit, he’s very intentional about, I think, paying attention to, “Okay. Am I actually getting into Sub space?” If it’s a time that I’ve expressed that like, “Yes. This is where I want to be in it.”
LEAH: Okay. Great.
CHRIS: Versus telling you to breathe. There’s been times where I do the opposite where I’m almost trying to get her out of Sub space in a way like being a jack ass.
CHRIS: We’ve established if I’m being a nice person in general, but then there are some of our play dates where I quickly become an asshole.
LEAH: And is that fun for you, Caitlin?
LEAH: Okay. Good. Perfect.
CAITLIN: I’ve quit trying to understand as part of myself. I’m like, “I don’t know why.”
LEAH: I think that sometimes analysis is not necessary.
LEAH: I know that that’s not really a part of either of your brain makeup. You like analysis.
LEAH: Okay. So, I want to go back and pick up two things. One is safe wording. I actually think it’s really important to safe word. Specifically, Chris, I think that it is periodically really important for you to push Caitlin to the point of safe wording, so that you both have that experience. So, Caitlin, you know that you’re capable of doing it when you need it and Chris, you trust that she will do it when she needs to.
CHRIS: The first time that Caitlin uses her safe word. Afterwards, we were talking. She wasn’t necessarily apologetic about it, but was a little worried like, “Hey. Did I use that? Thank goodness. In a weird way, I can breathe now knowing that I could trust you that much more in these experiences.” And I think I didn’t realize that just starting BDSM kind of dynamic, I didn’t realize how much. I knew that she was able to trust me but I didn’t realize how much I was going to be have to be trusting her in these experiences.
CHRIS: And so, that was such a gift in a beautiful way. Okay. I can trust her to use the safe word.
LEAH: And that’s really important. Because you can’t relax as the Dom unless you know that you can trust your Sub. This D/S dynamic is super interesting because while it looks like the Dom is the one in control, it is actually the Sub who is in control because it is the Sub who gets to say at any moment, “Stop. I’m out.” So, when you’re trying new things, you might want to set up a specific time when you’re like, “I want to try this thing with you. Let’s see if you enjoy it. And if you do, let’s push it until you say safe word, so we both know where that line is.” And then, you also are both fully familiar with that activity.
CHRIS: Right. Though we’ve never had experience we’re introducing something new that isn’t very intentional at the time. Like, “Let’s try this out and let’s feel it out.” We almost do that kind of pushing to the safe word.
CHRIS: But correct me if I’m wrong.
CAITLIN: I think before we tried impact play for the first time, we did it outside. We’ve had a play date and then I had said, “I think this is something that I want to try.” And so, then Chris volunteered, “Okay. We’ll do one and just try it.” And so, then we talked through that. And so, we laid there, not in that dynamic, like he hit me with various things at various strengths.
CAITLIN: And I was like, “Oh yeah. Oh no. I could get into that.” And then, that’s when I realized how meditative that was for me to the point where I will now intentionally request it in like, “Yes, we’re in a play date but I want this to happen at the beginning” or “I want this to happen at some point.”
LEAH: Caitlin, do you ever become nonverbal in your Sub space?
CAITLIN: It feels sort of heady enough that it feels like I am, but I’ve never got to the point where I think I would actually not be. And when we have pushed it to those times where it seems like there’s potential, Chris is very intentional about checking in outside of I have a safe word. And so, he’ll pause and say, “I’m going to do this now” or “This is going to get harder” or “This is going to get more intense. Do you remember your safe word?” And he’ll have me verbally say it or “Wave your arm” or “Signal some other way.”
LEAH: All right. Good. So, you guys are so ahead of the curve.
LEAH: So, I love all of that. And there are some people who go into Sub space and lose the connection with their words. It’s totally normal. It’s just a brain connection thing when you’re going so far into feelings that those connections, you lose track of them. So, it’s really important to have a nonverbal safe word that you can use in the event that that happens. So, if the two of you have agreed that it’s waving your arm, great. I know some people who play with gags and other things that intentionally make you nonverbal. They’ll have the Sub hold a bell or hold a ball or something so that if the Sub releases their hand, the Dom can hear it drop on to the floor and they know I need to check in.
CAITLIN: That’s a good idea because we have had in times where we are using gags and things. I can tell it’s been very in the moment for Chris to come up with. As we’re playing, he’s trying to come up with a system. And so, he’s like, “Put your hand here. You can do this. This is what it’s going to mean in this moment.” Yeah. Holding something would be easy.
LEAH: So, that’s just something to think about and talk about between the two of you, so that it’s consistent. And then, just like your safe word, you never have to think about it. You don’t have to come up with each time. Yeah. Great. So, what are some other questions that the two of you have?
CHRIS: And so, one of the things that we were talking about is, I think, what’s been exciting for both of us is being able to kind of explore what we like and what we don’t like when it comes to sex. And particularly, for me, I mean, I went from. It’s going to sound like too much information about sex.
LEAH: Nothing is too much information.
CHRIS: So, I feel like our initial sex was I wasn’t comfortable with blow jobs. I never received one before. I couldn’t handle touch if it was directed to me without me being able to anchor myself to Caitlin, being able to touch her in some capacity as well. And now, that’s very much not an issue at all.
CAITLIN: Things have escalated quickly.
CHRIS: It’s become very aggressive and I enjoy it a lot. But along those lines were things that has been weird mindset that I can’t quite get out of is typically when we’re doing play dates, my pleasure is one degree of separation. I don’t know if it makes sense. The reaction I get from Caitlin is what turns me on, rather than something that she’s doing to me is turning me on. That’s not in any fault of her.
It’s more the way I’m framing things up becomes, “Okay. I’m tying you up and then I’m fucking your mouth.” But the other day, it’s still the act of making her gag on my dick versus getting a blow job. And so, I don’t know. It’s like that’s the times we’ve tried almost flip it to make it like, “Okay. I want things to be about my body.” Because we don’t know, our default is, “I want it to be about Chris’s body. Therefore, Chris should be submissive. We’ll tie him up.” And then, that’s when the spiral will happen for us is, wondering how to make it about my body while being dominant, if that makes sense.
CAITLIN: Almost being more verbally dominant because you’re very physically dominant. And so, I’ve said because for me as a Submissive, “Well, just lay there and tell me what to do.” And then, problem solved. So, for me, that would be the same experience like that is the same Submissive as if I was tied up. Submissive is Submissive.
But it seems for Chris that verbal is different. And so, we did do a lot outside of the BDSM context in our vanilla sex life, for a lack of a better term. We did the three-minute game quite a bit from the group class video. And so, that helped both of us a lot. But I think Chris, especially, he had no idea what he liked or how he liked being touched. And so, that was a big shift that prepared us very much for this. And so, almost how to accomplish that same thing but in the context of BDSM would be helpful.
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LEAH: Before we go any further into this conversation, I want to say to Chris that what you are verbalizing is completely normal.
LEAH: This idea that my pleasure comes from her pleasure is very much a part of the Dom experience. And yes, there is a distinction between domming in order to take care of the other person’s needs versus taking care of your needs. And both of those things can happen, but it is a very different mind space for you. So, when Caitlin says to you, “If you just tell me what to do, I’m still in that Submissive space.” What is that discomfort for you or that disconnect for you?
CHRIS: Yes. So, one of the things that Caitlin will joke with me about is I can’t visualize things the way that the rest of the population can. And so, it becomes I can’t really think of what that looks like without having that experience. And so, for me, it’s like, “Oh, being dominant is simple. I just tie her up.” And I know what that looks like, but I don’t know what it looks like to lie in bed and still dominate her in the sense of like controlling her around the room and have it be physical.
LEAH: So, there’s a distinction between physically dominating and mentally dominating. And this is something that I know you’re both researchers, so you can sort of go down a rabbit hole of googling about this. There are even people who are called sensual dominant. So, it’s all about controlling the other person’s actions through their senses, just through their sensuality. I would suggest that maybe since you’re not exactly sure what the activities that you are you want to tell her to do, maybe you can say to her, “Okay. I want to feel this. Now, figure out how to make it happen.” Does that feel like something that you would have more access to in that space?
CHRIS: Are you asking me or are you asking Caitlin?
LEAH: I’m asking you, Chris.
CHRIS: Yeah. I do. I think, again, it’s almost like being at, I can’t think of a better term, but like Walmart versus Costco. I’m aware I could do any of those things, but it’s just too overwhelming. I’m lying there and I’m like, “Okay. There’re so many things I can make her do right now” versus if I knew a menu of like, “Here are three commands you use.” Then, that’ll be easier.
Another thing, too, is I think I don’t have a problem verbally telling Caitlin what to do, as long as it pertains to her body. So, I have no issue at all telling her like, “Use your vibrator. Hold it against you.” Like, “Okay. Take it away.” I can take stand the core of the room and be bossing her around, but for some reason, when it comes to bossing her to do stuff to me, that starts feeling like some weird process like, “Okay. That’s too far. You’re out of line.”
LEAH: Yeah. Okay. So, I have two ideas. One is that you think of yourself as the asshole boss who says, “Now, get this project done, but I’m not going to give you any instructions and I’m not going to give you any timeline. But whatever you’re doing, it’s not enough and it’s not fast enough.”
LEAH: And you can just perform domming from that place, if that makes some sense to you. Another thing that you could do is, Chris, when you are in that non sex space, when you’re not in sex brain with all of your chemicals flooding. And it sounds like the two of you are great at having these conversations, so with the two of you, go through, make a list for yourself of some of the things you really enjoy having her do, and then make a poster of them. Caitlin, you’ve actually heard me give this instruction to someone else in our group coaching, I remember.
CAITLIN: They have an actual menu.
LEAH: Yes. Exactly. You have an actual menu that you can look at and say, “I want you to do number three.” And then, when you’re in that space, you don’t have to come up with it, you just have to choose from the options in front of you.
CHRIS: So, I do think for me, it’s a difficult dance of balancing I want to make Caitlin do something but at the same time, I’m aware for her. She wants to be in this Sub space. Correct me if I’m wrong, but you want to be able to not think. And so, the act of telling her, “Okay. Come up with a way to please me.” I’m aware that’s not allowing you to be submissive then.
CAITLIN: I think it still would be because it’s still you. Because you do a fair amount of mental control already and verbal control already. It’s just your point is directed at me or doing something else and not directed towards bringing you pleasure.
CHRIS: And that’s what brings me pleasure. It brings me pleasure to manipulate you verbally, but yeah, it’s never focused, it’s always that one degree of separation.
CAITLIN: But that’s not unique to the BDSM dynamic either in that the lack of focus on you or too much attention on you. I mean, he’s not kidding when he said the person when we started having sex, I couldn’t do anything to him if he was not also touching me.
CAITLIN: And so, I was still confused the first time I went down on him and he’s like, “What are you doing?” I’m like, “Well, this is a thing. We do this.”
CHRIS: I’m hard. You don’t need to do anything else to me. That’s sweet, but no.
CAITLIN: I’ve never had this experience before where I went down and someone was like, “What are you doing?” That’s a weird question. I’m not sure how to handle this situation.
LEAH: So, it seems like the two of you have done a lot of learning together and this is just the next step of your learning together. You’ve got a great base of, Chris, you physically dominating Caitlin and even mentally, verbally dominating her for her pleasure. And now, sort of the next space for you to go into is dominating her for your pleasure.
And Caitlin, you and I talked in our one-on-one conversation about erotica. This would be a great place for the two of you to start looking at some erotica together. I specifically suggest Literotica because there are going to be just thousands of stories. You can just quickly go through them and be like, “Nope, not interested in that. Oh, but this one. This is the one that shows me what I want to do.” And then, you can sort of take notes from it. And really see this really turns me on, so I want to mimic this behavior. I am not a fan in most cases of fake it until you make it.
LEAH: I think that in general, that’s a real problem. But in cases where you’re trying to learn new behavior that you’re just not sure how to do, I think that mimicking somebody else’s instructions so that you can be like, “Oh, this feels right and I want to adjust this and I want to throw this piece out.” That can be really helpful.
CHRIS: I like that. I think one of the things too, we’ve been talking about is, for me, I didn’t know it until I tried to have Caitlin do it, and then she’s like, “Oh, I didn’t realize you’re into this was kind of shades of voyeurism.” And how do you go about that in a way that doesn’t seem like something that Caitlin is interested in and are there happy mediums with that that you could suggest to be able to have that kind of experience?
LEAH: So, let me clarify. Chris, you’re into the experience of voyeurism and Caitlin, you’re not?
CAITLIN: Correct. So, my hesitation with it, but Chris is not engaged in it, is that concept of consent with someone else in the general public who might see has not consented to seeing it. So, that makes me very uncomfortable. So, anything where someone hasn’t consented. Like I think even posted on Instagram of the Bachelor and her dildo. Someone else hasn’t consented to this.
And so, that is what hangs me up on it. And so, we have talked about how in a context of a sex club or something where everyone there is consenting to being part of experiences, I might actually be more okay with it. I don’t know. I have not tried that. But particularly, getting in a pandemic, is there anything that might fulfill that need for Chris somehow without it then potentially intruding on other people, which I will never have that, it will always be a hard line?
LEAH: Sure. So, here’s the basic concept. Yes, voyeurism without the concept of the people who are being voyeured
LEAH: Is really not okay. It is a consent violation. The beautiful thing is though, there’s people in the world whose kink is exhibitionism. And there are people whose kink is voyeurism. Exhibitionists are served by voyeurs and voyeurs are served by exhibitionists. So, it’s a beautiful symbiosis.
CHRIS: We’re mixing this up, Caitlin.
CAITLIN: Yeah, we might be mixing it up here.
CHRIS: We’re mixing it up. I don’t necessarily want to watch people. I want to be watched.
LEAH: Perfect. Okay.
CHRIS: That’s exhibitionist. That’s not voyeurist, right?
LEAH: Yeah. That’s exhibitionist.
CAITLIN: Yeah. We’re mixing them both.
LEAH: Okay. So, exactly the same details, just reverse the words. Being an exhibitionist in public without people’s consent, not cool. But this is where the Internet is a beautiful thing.
LEAH: Because you can find spaces on the Internet where people com together. Now, obviously, it’s against the rules of any and every platform that you could use. But there are plenty of people who are putting together Zoom sex parties.
CAITLIN: There’s even a funny concept as sex parties.
LEAH: And just to be fully transparent, I’ve been invited to a lot of them and I haven’t done any of them.
LEAH: So, I don’t know exactly what the experience is. I do know that there are rooms that are specifically set up for exhibitionists and voyeurs.
CHRIS: Is there a happy medium in between that, though, as well?
CHRIS: Correct me if I’m wrong, Caitlin. I think that’s a lot.
CAITLIN: That’s true. That might be a stretch.
CHRIS: So, I think for me, I view exhibitionists as more like being in a hotel room and having sex up against the window. It’s the idea that people might be able to see us, but I don’t need to identify that as the two of us having sex, per say.
LEAH: Well, you could rent a hotel room and go have sex up against the window.
CAITLIN: We almost tried it at one point and I was like, “The light is on in here and it is dark out there, which means that people can see and hear us.”
CHRIS: And I’m like, “Yeah. That’s the point.”
CAITLIN: That’s the point.
LEAH: My feeling about the hotel room thing is a little bit different. It’s not like going out into the public square and having sex where people can’t avoid it. If you’re in a window on a city scape or in any hotel, you are anonymous and people can choose to look or choose to not look. It’s a very small square of space if you’re in the outside looking in. You can choose to avoid it. So, that is certainly an option. So, it sounds Chris like your kink is more like this sort of surreptitious exhibitionism, as opposed to outright exhibitionism?
CAITLIN: It’s the rush of not getting caught, I think, for part of it too. Because at one point, we did in a consensual, non-consensual play date. And so, he asked, he’s like, “Okay.” So, if it’s non-consensual, he has a backyard that has neighbors very far away and it’s small and there’s a lot of trees and it’s fenced in and there’s a patio. It is as outside as you can be and be protected and reasonably having sex. And he’s like, “So, if I made you go in the backyard.” And I was like, “Well, I’m not going to like it, but if I consent ahead of time to non-consensual.”
CAITLIN: And so, that’s been sort of the happy medium so far because in it is technically the potential of getting caught.
LEAH: How does that feel for you, Chris? Does that feel like it scratches the itch?
CHRIS: Yeah, that definitely does. Particularly, we joked that’s one of the times that we’ve really realized I could be a jackass in those moments because hearing Caitlin be like, “Yeah, No. I’m not going to be happy about it but yeah, I’ll go outside.” And I was like, “Even better.”
LEAH: So, Caitlin what are some other things you wouldn’t be happy about?
CHRIS: Great question.
CHRIS: Why don’t I ask that? I always ask, “What do you want?” Why don’t I ever ask, “What do you not want?”
CAITLIN: I don’t know. I appreciate, Leah, giving that suggestion now. I don’t know because I think I have very few actual hard limits. I say that. We’ve gone through and done, I think after group class you talked about, Leah, going through and doing the survey that you each do individually and it matches you with, “I might be into this. I could do this. I’m not absolutely doing this.” So, I do have more red limits than I would have said because I want nothing with feces. You don’t realize until the surveys have the options of feces there are.
LEAH: That’s called a Yes, No, Maybe list. So, go on.
CAITLIN: So, the Yes, No, Maybe list. So, I did realize I have a more “No”s, but they are what I assume is done at the extreme end of things like bodily fluids, not necessarily, at least like urine type bodily fluid.
CAITLIN: Besides that, we haven’t. So, interestingly, I thought I had more hard limits when we started this. I would have said that impact play was out. I have no interest in you hitting me. And then, I was the one who was actually like, “Well, maybe try it lightly. Maybe I’d like it.” And then, he was doing it. I was like, “Well, can you try it harder? I don’t feel what you’re doing back there.”
CAITLIN: “Maybe put purpose.”
CHRIS: Yeah. Like, “Hey, I have thirty minutes. Can I come over for a little bit of impact play?”
CAITLIN: Yes. And now, I’m like, “Well, take pictures. I want to see if it’s bruising.”
LEAH: When’s the last time that the two of you did the Yes, No, Maybe list?
CAITLIN: Actually, I don’t think we’ve done it since we started doing BDSM. We did it when we started having sex in general.
LEAH: I would suggest that you go back and do it again because those things change. Things shift. You discover that you like things you didn’t know you were going to like. Your taste change and you’re not longer into something that you used to be into. Go back and do it again. And Chris, you might find some of those things that are “Maybe”s for her that you can command her to do that she’s not going to be so excited about.
CHRIS: That’s perfect.
CHRIS: Do you have a particular list or a website that you could recommend for that?
LEAH: Might I suggest mine.
CHRIS: Perfect. There you go.
LEAH: And what I like about mine, if I may.
LEAH: Is that there is a rating scale. It’s not just Yes, No, Maybe. If you’re a Yes, are you a “Yes” at a 2 or are you a “Yes” at an 8? And so then, Chris, again, her “Maybe”s are kind of a squishy area, so you want to be careful with those but you might find some “Yes”s that are just a 2. Yeah.
CAITLIN: I don’t know how it didn’t occur to us to do this again because that was so helpful in the beginning.
CHRIS: Yeah. I think we have formally continued to do that.
CAITLIN: Yeah. I mean, because we debriefed so often.
LEAH: And because the two of you are into a little bit more hardcore BDSM. You’re not into super hard core BDSM, based on what you’ve told me, but you’re in that sort of medium area. My list will be good to a point and I’ll send it to you. Help me remember when we get off the phone, I’ll send it to you and I’ll put it in the Show Notes.
But you may also want to go and find a specific BDSM list. These lists were actually crated by the BDSM community, specifically because communication and negotiation is so important in these interactions. I created my list for people who are sort of on the lighter end of that, but still needed that communication tool.
CHRIS: I do think that’s something that’s been so much helpful for us as we’ve progressed along with our play dates is that when we’re trying to find stuff online in particular, it’s either people that are like, “Take your Submissive. Tie her up.” We were doing that before play dates, so that’s not helpful.
CHRIS: On the other side of the spectrum, it’s people that are suggesting crazy stuff. I don’t think we know what we are on the scale, but I do think we are at a 5, 6.
CAITLIN: I can’t even gauge. It’s one of those things again, where we don’t know enough to know. Most of the stuff you just find on a typical Google search, we’re like, okay. We got that covered.
LEAH: When the pandemic is over, you might enjoy finding a BDSM party or a tasting. That’s what we have here in Portland. Monthly, when there’s not a pandemic. There’s an evening that happens for BDSM tastings, where you can have and people have their rig set up and you could experience each of the different things for a couple of minutes. And there are things there that blow my mind on a regular basis. Somebody has a vacuum table. I want nothing to do with that.
LEAH: But my partner’s like, “Sign me up. I want in.”
LEAH: So, it’s not like anything is too far. It’s just what your personal tastes are. And so, when you have an opportunity, I think the two of you might really enjoy going to one of those gatherings and just sort of seeing all the different options. But in the meantime, erotica is, again, always a great place to sort of get some ideas.
Chris, you wanted to go back to bruising.
CHRIS: Yeah. So, I think one of the things with our typically impact play, but even a lot of times when we’re having play dates, I think the dynamic that we both enjoy. I think Caitlin, in particular, enjoys being pushed to what is her limit and what is too far for her? And we’ve had some play dates where I’m aware that I’ve had to stop, even though she’s not ready to stop because I know she’s in a Sub space where the next day, she’s going to be hurt. And how do you balance making sure you’re fulfilling that for her like she said, “Hey. You didn’t leave any marks. What the heck?” And the next time, you’re like, “Oh, I’ll fricking leave marks.”
CHRIS: But you don’t actually want to hurt her afterwards either. How do you balance that?
LEAH: So, Chris, one of your jobs as a Dom is to keep your brain when she loses hers. So, if she’s saying, “Yes. Keep going” to an activity that you know is going to be detrimental to her, not because you think, “Oh, this is too kinky and this is too weird and somehow, I’m damaging her.” But because you have actually seen evidence in prior play sessions that the next day, she’s like, “Oh, when we were doing this, it was fun, but now this is too much.” That’s your job to walk that line for her when she can’t keep her brain straight. On the other hand, are you saying you don’t ever want to leave bruises?
CHRIS: Oh, no. I think we actually want to leave bruises.
CAITLIN: We’re both relatively competitive.
CAITLIN: And so, it’s more do we actually want it or are we just competing against ourselves? Like when you’re running and you try to run your miles faster the next day? It’s a little bit of that. I don’t actually care about them other than I’m like, “Well, it’s less than last time.”
CHRIS: But then, probably it’s because Caitlin does have that bratty, but also submissive shades of both sides. The submissive side of her will enjoy. The next day, she’ll be bratty about it like, “Oh, I thought you love bruises. There’s nothing here. What the heck?”
CHRIS: Well, next time I’ll beat the shit out of you.
CHRIS: And that’s hard by myself. The next time like, “Okay. That was her being bratty, decide in this moment.”
LEAH: So, what you just said is super important. Each experience, each play session is discreet onto itself. Just because she had a response to something last week does not mean that she’s necessarily in the same headspace today. So, you need to start each play session with a new understanding or a current understanding of where your partner is.
CHRIS: Do you have suggestions for bruising? Is that a weird question to ask?
LEAH: For how you deal with the aftereffects of it?
CAITLIN: How to create them.
CHRIS: No. Because I can say in the videos, “I’ll beat the shit out of her.” There still won’t be bruises. It’s not because I’m afraid to hit her harder.
LEAH: You just don’t bruise much, is that it, Caitlin?
CAITLIN: So, I think I do actually, but apparently not on my ass.
CAITLIN: No way.
CHRIS: It’s so frustrating.
LEAH: So, this is something I’m going to actually have to do a little research on because this is not a question I’m familiar with, but I will do the research and I will get back to you.
LEAH: I have some friends who are into very heavy BDSM. So, I will ask them, and then I’ll get back to you.
CHRIS: Perfect. I guess out of the way, is that also healthy? One of the things that Caitlin has heavily alluded to is that we are both very competitive. So, I don’t want to be doing something where we’re like, “Oh, let’s try to do this just for the sake of doing it” if it’s not a healthy thing to do.
LEAH: High barometer is not what would other people in the world tell you. My barometer is are you having fun? Are you having any regret afterward? Are you having any discomfort feelings? If you’re having discomfort feelings, it’s not something to look at because it’s not aligned with your needs and desires.
CHRIS: Oh, you mean emotional discomfort.
LEAH: Right. I don’t mean physical discomfort. No, I’m talking about emotional.
CAITLIN: That’s inevitable.
LEAH: It sounds like the physical is part of the experience for her. So, that’s not a problem. If either one of you is having emotional discomfort of what you’re doing, that’s something to look at. But if you’re having a great time, fuck what anybody else says. Who cares?
CHRIS: Yeah. Easy enough.
LEAH: Yeah. All right. So, we’re coming to the end here. Is there anything else that the two of you would like to talk about? Questions you’d like to ask? Anything else?
CAITLIN: I don’t think so. This was so helpful. Thank you.
CHRIS: Yeah. it’s really helpful. Thank you so much. It’s nice to finally meet you. I’ve heard about you for so long.
CAITLIN: Literally, here in the podcast.
CHRIS: Yeah. I listen to your podcast and I’m like, “Oh my gosh. This is a first-time caller on the podcast.”
CHRIS: So exciting.
LEAH: Well, I’m thrilled to have had the chance to talk with both of you. This is really fun. This kind of you’re pushing your edges and you just want to make sure that you’re doing things safe. I love this kind of conversation, so thank you for showing up to do it. And I really love how communicative the two of you are and how concerned you are for each other’s safety and comfort. Not physical comfort.
LEAH: But emotional and mental comfort. I think that’s fantastic and there are a lot of people who will say, “BDSM is just wrong. It’s wrong and it’s sadistic and it’s bad.” Because the only version of it that they know is the 50 Shades of Gray version, which is a shitty, shitty Dom.
CAITLIN: Wildly dysfunctional. Emotionally abusive relationship.
LEAH: So horrible. So abusive. Yeah. Any time there’s a Dom who says, “If you say safe word, then we will never play together again”, run. Fucking run away.
CHRIS: We’ve talked about this before. It’s been so surprising how much the BDSM context has helped us with communication in general. And not just with the two of us, but in our lives, in general. Setting clearer expectations and things of those lines. Like, “Oh, this is actually the healthiest by far.”
LEAH: In fact, the people in the sex positive community will almost always say, “Look to our BDSM brothers and sisters for what good communication looks like.” People who are doing it in a healthy way have some of the best communication in our culture. So, yeah. I love it. Y’all are awesome. We can talk any time you want.
CHRIS: We’ll definitely take you up on it.
LEAH: I hope you enjoyed that deep dive into considerations around exploring new facets of kink and BDSM. If you’d like to work with me, I am available for one on one and couple’s sessions. And I offer both weekly videos sessions and/or daily coaching by text.
I recently added the coaching by text and my clients are getting phenomenal results. For instance, recently, I’ve been working with a woman who had been in a relationship where her sexuality was just not welcomed by her partner. It left her feeling completely separated from her own sense of fun and adventure and unsure how to interact with anyone who showed interest in her. When we started working together, just a month ago, she was afraid to trust her own sense of excitement if someone showed interest in her because she didn’t want to get into another bad situation. And the idea of saying no to someone she wasn’t interested in sent her into a state of emotional paralysis. She wanted to break the unhealthy patterns that got her into bad relationships, reconnect with her own needs and desires and learn how to confidently present herself to new potential partners. During just one month of daily texting and weekly video calls, we’ve identified the red flags that signposted borderline abusive relationships, practiced how to say no to suitors she’s not interested in, discovered what she needs to feel safe and stay present when engaging with a new sexual partner and practice talking about those safety measures with a potential partner.
She’s feeling strong enough and stable enough in her new communication skills that just this week, she decided to say yes to a man that has shown interest in her. She sat down with this new play partner and told him exactly what she needs in order to feel safe and stay present when they’re playing together. They had a deep conversation about their turn ons, turn offs and relationship expectations, and agreed to boundaries that leave them both feeling seen and taken care of. Even just ten days ago, the thought of having that conversation threw her into terror filled tears because she didn’t think she could find the words. But through patient daily encouragement and the opportunity to practice saying the words out loud as often as she needed to get comfortable with that, she has moved leaps and bounds.
And now, she has a play partner that she’s excited about playing with instead of dreading violated boundaries and missed communication. When I checked in with her this morning to check if it was okay to share her story, she said, “Yes. I am feeling so proud of myself! The world needs to know what an incredible service you’re providing and I’m so happy to contribute to getting the word out.”
This is exactly the kind of momentous movement you can have with patient daily encouragement. That’s what I want for you. And I’m looking forward to supporting you as your coach. If that sounds like something you’d like, click over to leahcarey.com/coaching and there, you’ll find all of my coaching offerings. And if you want to dip your toe in the water before diving in headfirst, I get it. The PJ parties are a great way to spend a couple hours getting a sense whether you feel safe or comfortable with me before committing to a full coaching package. All of this information and more is at leahcarey.com/coaching.
And one more thing, before we leave Chris and Caitlin. As I was preparing this episode, I got a message from Caitlin with an update about her same sex explorations. She wrote to me, “When we talked about my realization about being attracted to women, it was so new. I’ve really only done self-reflection. I hadn’t reached this stage of gathering information to learn more. In the last month, I have. And I’ve learned so much about internalized biphobia and bi-erasure. Once I started to dismantle those deeply ingrained concepts, I’ve reached a place where I can not only confidently and comfortably claim bisexual as a label, but I think it’s important to claim it. When we talked, I said, “I didn’t want to have a label.” But I realize now that I was rejecting the label because I wasn’t comfortable with it. I was just moonlighting as being enlightened, so that I transcended labels because I couldn’t make being uncomfortable with bisexuality fit with how comfortable I would be claiming a label like lesbian.”
Thanks so much to Caitlin for bringing up the issue of internalized biphobia. It’s something I’ve talked about a little bit here in regard to my own story, but it would be a great topic for a future episode. Listeners, if you have thoughts on biphobia or bi-erasure that you’d like to share, please call the listener line at 720-GOOD-SEX and leave a message. I would love to hear from you.
LEAH: That’s it for today. Good Girls Talk About Sex is produced by me, Leah Carey, and edited by Gretchen Kilby. I have additional administrative support from Lara O’Connor and Maria Franco. Transcripts are produced by Jan Acielo.
And I’m incredibly grateful for the financial support from Good Girls Talk About Sex community members at Patreon. If you’d like to support me in telling these stories and answering your questions, head over to www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex. You can find Show Notes and Show Transcripts at www.goodgirlstalk.com. To ask a question about your sex life, your desires or anything to do with female sexuality, call and leave a message at 720-GOOD-SEX.
And before we go, I want to remind you that the things you’ve probably heard about your sexuality are not true. You are worthy. You are desirable. You are not broken. I work with women just like you to reflect their true sexual nature back to them without the judgment, shame or fear that can get in the way of us seeing it for ourselves. As a coach and PJ party hostess, I will guide you in embracing the sexuality that is innately yours no matter what it looks like. I’m here to help you sink so deeply into your true sexuality that the version of yourself that was scared to speak up for her own needs feels like a mirage from another lifetime.
Until next time, here’s to your better sex life!
- 4:20 – Caitlin and Chris catch Leah up on the new-to-them BDSM they’ve been exploring and what they’d like support with.
- 7:31 – Caitlin is clear that sub is her turf.
- 8:38 – They get into specifics with impact tools, paddles, riding crop, switch, etc. Chris explains how he manages and escalates the impact using a 1-10 scale and timing set to playdate playlist.
- 12:55 – Leah talks about safe-wording to help Caitlin really get into sub space and also to give Chris reassurance. The line rests in the hands of the sub. Leah also talks about non-verbal safe cues.
- 17:55 – Chris shares his progress since the start of their sexual partnership.
- 20:29 – PJ Parties for Grownups!
- 23:13 – Pleasure dynamics for the dom, and physically dominating vs verbally dominating. Chris has an easier time with one over the other and is naturally a giver, so Leah helps him find new some avenues and techniques.
- 27:07 – Making a restaurant-style command or activity menu ahead of time can help. Leah shares a few tips.
- 30:53 – Navigating voyeurism/exhibitionism, consent, and safe places to engage.
- 36:21 – The Yes/No/Maybe list is great for finding and knowing your hard red lines. It’s also a good idea to revisit the list periodically. Leah shares other resources and talks about BDSM tasting events.
- 41:31 – Chris talks about finding and pushing the limits as a dom while still being careful not to hurt her.
- 43:50 – Each play session is separate and discrete; always check in fresh.
- 44:56 – Is pushing BDSM limits healthy? If you’re having consensual fun, carry on.
- 48:26 – Here’s how to work with Leah.
- Three Minute Game
- Yes / No / Maybe list
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WORK WITH LEAH:
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