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Question: My other half has rape fantasies that scare him. I have matching fantasies on the other side. However, he is afraid that he will go too far and hurt me. He doesn't want to see himself as an abuser.
Oh, my - Yes, I can relate.
I was raised in a violently abusive household. Every kind of abuse, and lots of it. As soon as I escaped, I started therapy (over 200 hours), and attended many, many self-help workshops. I did this to learn philosophies that worked better than "Whoever Hits The Hardest and Yells the Loudest Always WINS!".
Also, I actively sought-out wise, kind older gay leathermen as mentors. This was in the mid-1970's. They helped me to become a much, much better man. It has been a long, long road to where I am now.
I'm currently nearly 60 years old, and I have had to come to a better understanding and acceptance of my darker side, which is always with me. I call it the Dragon:
Many times in my long career as a kinky man, I have been called a "wuss", a "wannabe" or a "fake" because I'm entirely too considerate, perceptive and merciful in my approach to my submissives. At least visibly, in public play. What those people judging me don't understand is, I have lived every day in terror of what I'm truly capable of.
I don't do verbal abuse, because I know that I could very easily go waaaay too far, and damage the hell out of somebody. Having seen the cost, up close, I relate to others as I myself would feel under the circumstances. Folks who have never been truly challenged in life never have to develop the deepest empathy, that can make for a very caring Top.
I don't do physical abuse, either. Ever. Yet, how can I claim such a thing, when I will gladly whip somebody bloody?
Each one of these men were deliriously thankful, after our play.
Because I use "Calibration”: I check in at regular intervals during play, and only take them as far as THEY are getting stimulated. I’d rather UNDER-do it (particularly with beginners), and leave them wanting more, than to traumatize them.
I negotiate beforehand, every time. I order the submissive to check in after every play-session via email and phone, to give me a better understanding of his progress and recovery. My goal is to help him to push his limits further every time, and to gladly thank me for it afterward.
Wearing the Dragon on my back.
I only wear it when I MEAN it.
I still need (for my own, unique reasons, due to my circumstances) to be a ferocious, diabolical Dragon Master. I have a lot of rage and aggression inside me, and it needs to come out and play periodically, to help me stay balanced in the rest of my life. This is not necessarily true of anybody else. In order to look at myself in the mirror and to see a good, virtuous man, I have to express my darker side, but ONLY with men that eagerly want what I have to give.
I’m delighted to say, with great pride, that nearly every submissive comes to me and starts by saying “NO PAIN, NO MARKS” as a hard NO. Yet, as the years go by, he easily and naturally becomes the “Pain and Pleasure” greedy bottom that I love to have in my life. It takes patience, zero manipulation, and positive reinforcement to train a man to become the greedy and eager pain-pig he always wanted to be.
The fact that I have never been arrested, put in jail or been killed, tells me that I can trust myself to safely set my own limits. My submissives all love me, even years and decades after they’ve moved on in their lives. So, I’ve recently learned to embrace my inner Dragon. It hasn’t changed my BEHAVIOR, but it has allowed me to relax and let myself off of the hook.
That Which You Resist, Persists. So, I choose to give myself a break. That’s my advice to you, too.