I hope you have been enjoying Rika’s Lair, my monthly column dedicated to thoughts and experiences regarding power dynamics in Service-Oriented D/s relationships. Look up “Ms. Rika” in the search box for links to all of my articles in KinkWeekly!
There’s this thing about male chastity cages: By their nature, they work when you DON’T do anything. The whole idea of chastity cages is that you put them on your subject and, until you decide to take them off, they do not get to have sexual pleasure. It seems simple: You just have to lock it on. However, it turns out, in practice, there’s a quite a bit more to it than that.
The issue is, when he’s in that cage, his attention is on that cage at all times. Obviously, you expect him to have feelings of enduring something, suffering for you (in theory at least), and of sacrificing a very basic freedom. However, the device impacts him in many other ways besides limiting orgasms and erections. The device has weight and compression on his penis. It forces him to sit to urinate, changes the look of his clothing, often chafes a little, changes his gait, makes it different for him to clean, makes him self-conscious and aware of what’s visible to the outside world, makes it difficult for him to sit comfortably for long periods of time, and changes his sleeping habits. In short, he is physically aware of it – all day and all night.
For the dominant, you close the lock and start the rest of your day. Nothing is making you aware that he’s suffering. Nothing is changing your daily routine. You have no constant reminders. For you, nothing changes – except for the few times in the week when sex is on the table (or in the bed!).
And that’s part of the allure of the chastity fantasy: The slave suffers while the keyholder blithely goes about their day. All the freedom belongs to the keyholder; all the suffering/frustration to the locked. However, that’s just the fantasy. The reality is usually quite different.
In reality, subs want to know that they’re not alone in their dynamic. They need to feel the dominant’s intent; to feel that what is being done to them, is being done TO them – and that the dominant is the one DOING it. They don’t just want to be limited; they want to know that the dominant is deliberately limiting them.
The problem is, the sub constantly feels the “burden” of the device and is actively thinking about it at all times, but the dominant isn’t. This creates a disconnect – the threat to the sub is very real; that their submission is all in their head – and that the dominant is unaware of the extent of what the sub is going through. The sub wants the dominant to recognize the power the device has and to OPENLY LEVERAGE the helplessness that the sub feels. They want this – all the time, because they are reminded of it – all the time, and they’re thinking about it – ALL THE TIME. Since the dominant isn’t physically reminded, and isn’t being interrupted all day long, they may seem unaware of the extent of the sub’s predicament.
Many men respond to this by “sharing” how they feel, especially when not asked. They feel the need to emphasize and highlight their frustration – both verbally and physically. They overtly show the desperation that they’re feeling – and sometimes act in “over-the-top slavish fashion”, in an attempt to demonstrate the “benefits” to the dominant of keeping them in chastity. They attempt to encourage the dominant to show recognition of their plight by acting on that advantage, and to do things like tease the sub to “make the frustration worse”. They need the dominant to demonstrate how much they enjoy his
suffering and captivity. Sometimes (and unfortunately, often), they will even act up in an attempt to have the dominant react by punishing them, usually hoping that the dominant will use the device to increase their frustration (e.g., a punishment of another week in chastity!) Worse, if the dominant doesn’t react, subs often gets angry or melancholy, and in particularly bad situations, openly challenge the dominant’s abilities.
The end result of all of this demand, is pressure on the dominant: Pressure to play the game; to give the sub what he perceives he should be receiving; to try to think about what the submissive is feeling as often as he is thinking about it. As I explained above, there is no natural driver for the keyholder to be as aware of the device as the wearer, so trying to be equally focused is simply not a realistic expectation. Trying to keep the sub’s condition in the front of your mind is a tall-order for someone who is supposedly the object of the submission and a lot of burden for the partner who is supposedly being served. Worse, when that pressure builds up on a dominant, no matter how confident they are, it’s too easy to interpret it as a lapse of their own abilities. All of which serves to undermine the integrity of the dynamic.
I find that it helps to be aware of the disconnect and the way it presents. I find that knowing about the dichotomy of focus that chastity brings to the partnership, helps dominants to readily recognize the pressure their submissive is putting on them – so that they can deal with it in a more confident manner.
Once you’ve recognized the pressure for what it is, you can decide how you want to react to it. When it happens to me (and it does for things, not only chastity related), the first thing I do is a little introspection to try to determine if the sub is just being needy, or if I actually have been a little distracted.
If he’s being needy or just over-focused on the device, I generally tell him so, and tell him to get it under control. There is no “…or else” clause in this statement, because punishing him in response to neediness will reward manipulative behavior. Rather, I just insist on his adjustment. If he fails to do so, I’ll likely take him out of the device indefinitely. I’m not going to play the game if he’s not going to provide the self-discipline I demand. He will usually respond well, as he also understands the disconnect and knows by the other things I do (see CERAF in my books), that I am active and committed to our dynamic.
On the other hand, if I feel that I may have been depriving him a bit of recognition, or have been neglecting him a bit, then perhaps a few “simple gifts” (read “Uniquely Rika” and “Uniquely Us” for a deeper discussion of simple gifts!) are in order, just to let him know I’m actively involved in the dynamic – and that I have put him in chastity for my own reasons.
While controlling a sub’s orgasm is a common desire of dominants, the use of a device to do so is more often the sub’s desire. For many of the reasons above, using physical devices to force a sub to be chaste – is a fantasy more enjoyed by the wearer – and may be more of a burden for the keyholder. In many dynamics, including mine, putting a submissive into a chastity device is either a treat of sorts, or a shared symbolic gesture. It doesn’t define submission – or create it – but rather, is one of many ways to formalize a concept. I make my opinion well known to my subs: When the symbol becomes more important to the sub than the submission, it’s time to do away with the symbol! I’m willing to be aware of the disconnect, but I’m not willing to give up MY freedom for it.
Ms. Rika is a lifestyle dominant, educator, and author; living in the suburbs of NYC with her husband/slave. She has written several popular books on her approach to adding Dominant-Centric, Service-Oriented D/s to relationships. You can find her books (in both print and eBook formats) at Lulu.com (http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/msrika), or at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the iStore, Books-A- Million, Kobo.com, or anywhere books are sold. Search for “Ms. Rika”. Write to me at Ms_Rika@hotmail.com
As a device wearer I really appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. This has been a real issue between me and my Keyholder to the point of almost ending a relationship.
The end result of all of this demand, is pressure on the dominant: Pressure to play the game; to give the sub what he perceives he should be receiving; to try to think about what the submissive is feeling as often as he is thinking about it. As I explained above, there is no natural driver for the keyholder to be as aware of the device as the wearer, so trying to be equally focused is simply not a realistic expectation.
Finding a solution wasn’t and hasn’t been easy, but, the important part is that we are still together and working through the issue.
Hi WW! If you both understand (and I recommend, openly discuss) the situation and the pressure it causes, the device begins to change meaning. It becomes more of a tool / toy – like handcuffs or a straight jacket = at the dominant’s disposal. They know you’re thinking about it all the time, but they also know they don’t have to. And you recognize that your dominant is consciously choosing NOT to try to think about it all the time – and is, in a way, denying you all the more.
When you both understand the dynamic and the impacts of that dynamic on each other, your minds start to forget about WHAT is being done and zone-in on WHY it’s being done…and then you really start to feel your connection – even when you’re not in sync with the focus.