You know the one. Everything just goes sideways. Nothing you planned seems to go the way you imagined. There are a few ways this can happen, but for this article I’m not going to talk about hitting triggers or pushing limits too far. I’m going to focus on a scene that includes things that you’ve maybe done a hundred times. A scene that, on paper, should be fantastic.
How can a scene like this go wrong?
Often it’s about head space. This can go for either partner. If the bottom had a rough day or they are stressed about work, family, etc. – it may be very difficult for them to stay connected during play. Same goes for the Top. Perhaps there are emotional or hormonal influences. One or both partners feel emotional (anxiety, sadness, depression, irritability…) and not know why. Yet it influences their focus on the scene or maybe their ability to “let go” and enjoy the moment they are sharing.
It may be indicative of a relationship issue. Perhaps something that happened shortly before the scene (minutes, hours, or days) that has yet to be discussed or resolved.
Other people in the room can also have a huge impact on head space. There may be another scene nearby that is completely distracting. Or, my favorite (can you hear the sarcasm here?), the rude “peanut gallery” standing way too close and having their own conversation or – better yet – throwing their two cents into your scene. These are all external influences that can really effect head space.
Another situation that causes a “Charlie Brown” scene is when the Top forgets which partner they’re playing with. This may sound absurd to some people reading this, however, I assure you it happens. What I mean by this is when the Top has several play partners and they mix up likes vs dislikes or they get a bit ahead of themselves and skip over the warm up, thus putting the bottom in “toleration” mode.
So what do you?
Whenever the scene is over, I recommend you have a conversation. (I know I always harp on the whole communication thing – Gah!) When the scene is over depends on you and/or your partner. Many times when a scene is just not going well, regardless of how many things you try, one person will call it before it would normally be over. This is ok. Even if you wanted it to continue, I recommend not “guilting” your partner about stopping the scene short.
Talk about what you’re feeling or what it is that’s on your mind. If it was external “noise” from other people then take a moment and decide whether or not you want to continue to play – perhaps in a different room. If it’s individual stressors or emotional reactions, let whichever partner that is having the feels talk it out. Maybe once they’ve vented a bit you can try to play again. If it was the scene itself (as in the scenario where the Top isn’t tuned into their partner who’s in front of them) then talk about what came up, what the Top was thinking or what felt off for the bottom. Decide together if you want to give it another go. As far as the unresolved relationship issues, well, work at resolving them! Not only that – also try and communicate about how to resolve issues in the future before they become a problem that, in turn, disrupts play.
Having said all that I will add that of course there are reasons a scene can go south that I haven’t mentioned. Hopefully you get the general idea. Sometimes you gotta just chalk it up to an off night, go home and watch TV, and then try again another day. That is perfectly ok too.
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.