In Loving Service. Always.

Living life by his personal code of love, loyalty and obedience , Tank (your writer and host) is a 24/7 sub exploring what it means to live life by the collar.


Told though photographs, musings, video and occasional fiction, "In Loving Service. Always" shares Tank's world of consummate service and his journey of personal growth.


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As a big fan of your blog and as a psychology major at Berkeley, I’ve been thinking of your Dom/sub discussions as a subject for my senior-year Honors Thesis (that, or Jeffrey Dahmer). You give a lot of credence to foxbear, whose hair-splitting, quasi-pornographic screed seems designed to give this D/s system a rational “viability” instead of seeing it for what it is: a trauma-based sociopathology. To query this whole D/s dialectic, would you mind if I put you on my “couch”? See my next post…..
Anonymous

Thank you for taking enough interest in my website to psychoanalyse me.

I didn’t realise that unsolicited, anonymous advice was a part of the syllabus at Berkeley.

What The Fox Says: Giving Up and Giving In

foxbear:

image


What began as a response to one of fuzzbutt’s weekly blog posts is finished below:

I think you’ve done a good job of hitting several of the big-picture basics on power-exchange, boy, especially as you experience them. Keep in mind that as you experience more and different kinds of PE, the kinds of categories you’ve laid out here will get broader, flesh out, gain more subtle shadings—or may be subject to a kind of wholesale revision if you find that the framework no longer reflects your experiences. This sort of thing isn’t particularly subject to dogmatic orthodoxy, and if I had one criticism of your post here, it’s that you deliver it in a very academic fashion with definitions and the sound of authority (which I suppose is completely understandable, given that you’re an academic who is an authority in his field). I caution you and everyone else who dips toes into PE and BDSM to always be aware that your submission/surrender/etc. won’t always be like or look like someone else’s and vice versa.

To demonstrate just what kind of difference I’m talking about, let me lay out some of the framework I use for talking about different flavors of power exchange. You and I have already had some of this conversation before, but there are readers and followers who aren’t privy to all of that, so you’ll have to bear with the repetition.

To narrow the issue down, I am specifically looking at the different ways that power is exchanged, how the end result—the exchange—can be the same, but the means of it (and the headspace of the parties) be different. If I were to talk about it in purely sexual terms, for example, a guy might end up getting fucked hard and ridden like a rented mule because 1) he wrestled his buddy for top and lost, 2) he normally tops his buddy, but was talked into bending over because his buddy was in a mood and kept pestering him to go heels-up for a change; 3) he might have been in a mood himself or just had an itch that needed one of its periodic scratchings; 4) he might have seen the need and boner of another and “volunteered as tribute”; 5) he might have seen a big dick that he wanted in him and rubbed his ass all over it like a cat in heat; 6) he might have been a little drunk and horny and thrown his heels in the air for the first guy that offered; 7) he might have taken out a Craigslist ad and had someone come in his unlocked back patio to the bedroom and fuck him senseless while he lay blindfolded on the bed; or any of a hundred more transactional scenarios. In each case, though, the result is the same—he’s getting fucked hard and by someone else who is clearly driving that bus.

Now take that broad spectrum of possibilities concept—where there are more roads mentally to the exact same physical result—and plunk it right down into a BDSM and larger power-exchange context, ie. more than just merely sexual power. Instead of mule-fucked, it could have just as easily been our example guy bound hand and foot, gagged, paddled and nips tortured for four or five hours, or…well… A whole lot of other shit my perverted brain could dream up, but that doesn’t further the conversation much.

SO, with that in mind, I tend to talk about the mental end/headspace of the person giving up power as a kind of spectrum, though one with lots of squirrelly notes and wiggles on its not-exactly-straight-line-linear path. Along one end of its length, I see a lot of different flavors of conditional submission, followed by a more generalized submission that has fewer and fewer strings attached until you reach an unconditional submission, which is in turn followed by surrender.

Conditional submission is exactly what it sounds like: an exchange of power that comes with conditions (and one of the most prevalent conditions is that the exchange will end with the end of a scene and parties will return to their previous relative positions of power). This is where you see a lot of Dom/sub dynamics of various flavors, including most “role-played” D/s, Puppy/Pony/Non-human play, non-relationship scenes, and even a fair amount of teaching and mentoring play, including some Daddy/boy interactions.

Way out on the end of the conditional submission end of the spectrum is where consent first enters the picture—in what is generically called consensual non-consent or a no-way-out scene. The initial consent is given and the stage is set and then the Dom has all the power and decides with the scene is over—no safewords at all. Oftentimes, the point of the play for the sub in this sort of scene (as with much of edgeplay) is to be pushed into areas that they would not otherwise go or allow themselves to be taken. Once there, the struggle, the internal fight, the physical resistance is expected, and whether it is through exhaustion or helplessness, their submission and acceptance is something that has been wrenched out of them. It’s brutal and intense play, which should not come as a surprise, given that initial consent by knowing parties is the only thing that separates it from honest-to-gawd torture and rape. But for some, not just the total loss of control, but having it TAKEN from them—complete with the terror and panic and adrenaline—is the kind of submission that they need to express and satisfies them deep down into their grubby little souls. Think of it like the roller coaster junkies or horror movie fans or guys who do X Games kinds of shit. It’s not for everybody, and it has its risks, but it also has satisfactions that can’t be gotten any other way.

A little further down the spectrum, you see things like the guys who wrestle for Top, or Dom, as the case may be. Submission is something that is physically asserted and enforced after a certain amount of struggling and striving. In this kind of an exchange, the headspace for the sub is one of being bested, having competed and lost, having hopes of being in control crushed out and the power taken. Consequently, there’s often a bit of a flavor of humiliation or shame in this kind of exchange, though any number of conditions can be negotiated out in advance to tailor the scene to the desires of the participants. Also, while I know it’s not exactly the same thing, I frequently locate these sorts of exchanges in the same neighborhood as the guys who like to switch and “trade licks” with paddles/etc, though the power keeps getting yanked back and forth, with the enforcement usually through shame and ego-driven psychological pressure rather than just the physical. I’d put all of the above types of exchanges squarely into “giving up” territory.

Other conditional submission situations are things that you’re more familiar with, I think. Pup play, ALL of the role-played scenes (including just the generic Dom/sub roles without lasting dynamic), and many others. They tend to have a different headspace for the submission involved—a kind of disassociative adoption of a character or alternate personality that makes them free to behave as they otherwise would not, including giving up a certain amount of control for a time. The big shift that I tend to see when we get to these types of exchanges is that power tends to not be “taken” quite so much. Oh, sure, there can be struggles and protest and even tears (um, because that’s fucking hot), but the submission comes willingly in the end, rather than grudgingly or dragged kicking and screaming. But in the end, these, too are negotiated exchanges that rest on foundations of conditional submission, even if that condition is as simple as, “I want you to call me your little piggy and spank my ass hard with your hand before you fuck me.” The translation is, “Unless you call me a pig and fuck me after my ass is good and red, I’m not submitting to a spanking.” The point to note here, is that even though the sub is the one getting his hide tanned, he’s the one who is ultimately in control of the dynamic, even after the power is exchanged.

I’m sure that by now you can see how teaching scenes, demo play and even some mentorship interactions (like some of our Daddy/boy interactions) belong in conditional submission territory. They are sub-driven, for the most part, with the condition often being the learning that’s taking place. The headspace is one of training, submission for a purpose of improving oneself, in addition to the satisfactions that come along with letting somebody else make the decisions and drive the bus. I’d put these conditional submission exchanges into the “giving in” bucket, since they aren’t forced like the others mentioned before, but are still dependent to a greater or lesser degree on the sub getting something that he wants—be it attention, ego validation, pleasure, knowledge and experience, catharsis, or just the freedom of letting go for a while.

As the strength of the conditions begins to wane a little further down the spectrum, particularly the temporal condition, and the power imbalance between a dominant party and submissive party takes on a longer-lasting quality, we enter what I refer to as a “generalized submission” exchange. These kinds of exchanges are uncommon outside of some kind of relationship dynamic (the labels that are most often used for them in the gay male leather realm are Daddy/boy and Sir/boy) or some kind of social recognition of “power orientation.” They often involve ritual and protocol, open acts of service and demonstrations of respect outside of scene-play. Headspace for this kind of exchange doesn’t carry with it the kind of struggle and taking of the “giving up,” and doesn’t carry so much negotiated conditional scripting as “giving in” with a self-serving end in mind does. The generalized submission in these sorts of dynamics are what you very aptly dub “natural” in character. It flows from a recognition of relative power and relative position, and often takes a substantial amount of satisfaction in providing the Dom with pleasure and satisfaction—whether that comes through providing service and comfort and convenience and outward shows of respect, or from submitting to the sadism, disciplinary measures and perverse ministrations of the Dom’s sexual and power-driven appetites—or the like.

Down at the far end of the generalized submission, typically in the context of a permanent power imbalance of a Sir/boy relationship, there is something that I refer to as unconditional submission, and it really only makes sense in contrast to what I refer to as surrender. That being the case, I’m going to skip over it and hit surrender and then dog-leg back over.

Surrender is just that. It is a sub’s release of any consideration for his own wants, desires, preferences, comfort, pleasure, and even ego, and all of that utterly subjugated to a full focus on and consideration for the Dom’s wants, desires, preferences, comfort, pleasure and WILL. Surrender’s only satisfaction is in obedience and conformity with the will of it’s owner. And I use “owner” very deliberately here because this sort of exchange headspace only really exists in Master/slave relationships.

Contrary to popular portrayal of “Masters” and their “slaves” (mostly in porn), where Masters are all swaggering egomaniacs bent on crushing their pitiful slaves into a humiliating and degrading submission for a brief time before fucking their brains out, most Masters of my acquaintance are fairly humble people, and their ego is FAR removed from their ownership of slaves. Good Masters whom I know and respect take their responsibility for their slaves so seriously, view the gift of their total surrender and trust as so precious and awe-inspiring that they are humbled to their core by it, and respond accordingly, taking up and shouldering that responsibility with a kind of egoless symbiotic purity of need meeting need. A good and well-balanced Master/slave relationship is a beautiful thing to watch and see in motion. But I digress…

The reason I lay all of that about surrender out first, and spend all that time focused on the role of ego is that ego as a motivator is the sole separating feature between surrender and unconditional submission. What a slave does for his Master is done for his Master alone, and many slaves will balk, be made ENORMOUSLY uncomfortable or even hurt by praise or being told that they’ve done well by their Masters. They frequently take a certain amount of satisfaction in being told to do things that they fairly loathe doing and then obeying, precisely because they cannot take a shred of pleasure in it aside from the obedience itself and the satisfaction that it brings his Master.

A boy who unconditionally submits to his Sir, by contrast, is still motivated by and validated by his own ego and sense of himself. One of his deepest satisfactions is to be told that he is a “good boy,” that he has done well or made his Sir proud. Through his submission, he may lean into activities that he hates just like any slave, but his satifaction will not come solely from the obedience, but also his self-recognition of his own worth as demonstrated by that compliance—he is dedicated, obedient, and valued for his service. His virtue, if not praise, is its own reward. For the slave, there is nothing other than the pleasure of his Master. Like the mule-fucked guy from those early scenarios, you may see identical outward activities pursued, but how we got there is VERY different.

I hope that gives you a fuller picture of the framework that I use for talking about PE, and some of how it relates to some of the types of traditional dynamics that we’ve talked about before, boy. If you have questions or want some clarification on anything in particular, be sure to make note of it and bring it up this weekend. *smooch*

I relate a lot to a number of the thoughts in this article here. 

Ummm.. How is this guy not on the New York Times Bestsellers list yet?

Reblogged from foxbear
Forgive my ignorance but what's the difference between Boys/pups/subs/slaves?
818cuddlebear

foxbear:

sub = a generic term to describe any person in the submissive role during a power exchange.

boy = a submissive partner in a bout of conditional submission who is motivated by ego reinforcement and whose service has a particular “flavor” of boy to a “Daddy” or a “Sir.”

pup = same as a boy, except that the service is to a “handler” or “trainer” or “owner” and it has a canine flavor, complete with the transformative aspects of adopting a pup identity. 

slave = a submissive partner in a permanent or long-term power exchange whose service is one of surrender and who is motivated by an egoless desire to please his or her Master

More at the link:

http://foxbear.tumblr.com/post/88340682866/what-the-fox-says-giving-up-and-giving-in

Reblogged from foxbear

25/09/2014: Today I went to a special late night opening of the California Academy of Sciences where they featured speakers specialising in microbiology and pandemics.

Alejandro here was helpful enough to meet up with me and show me around. I haven’t seen him in three years.

A question of worth...

kevinreader:

As you know, I’ve been struggling to put down my thoughts this week into writing. It really is all the fault of that lovable ranga brandedbulltank

Some of my favorite conversations with him start from the most innocent of comments that quickly snowball into in depth conversations requiring…

Kevin was kind enough to write up his thoughts and to be honest I’m pretty speachless.

Thank you SO much Kevin.

Reblogged from kevinreader
I hope this doesn't come off judgmental. Why do you enjoy saline injected gentiles or over sized ones?
codemonkeywrites

Gentiles? I prefer my jews injected with saline personally. (ha cha cha cha„, I’m here all week. Try the fish.)

Heh, I think it’s sexy. It’s a fetish. The look, the weight and heft etc. It’s not a common fetish, but it’s mine.

Subspace: A Master Wants to be Needed. A Slave Needs to be Wanted.

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After having a talk with my friend kevinreader, he asked me the question: "Why is it that you feel that you give away your love freely, but feel as though you need to be worthy of the love of others?"

In thinking about the question I was reminded of a phrase, it goes: “A Master wants to be needed. A slave needs to be wanted." I believe it speaks somewhat to the psychology of both of those positions.

I believe that in essence, the dominant headspace can in tend to be a rather greedy one. The dominant does not want a submissive that gives in halves, a sub whose loyalties are flaky and whose obedience is inconsistent is not very valuable.

The submissive on the other hand craves often validation, recognition and value. In his own mind, the submissive craves the love of his dominant, but the mentality of the sub is such that he perceives the love of his dominant and much more valuable than the love he gives from himself to others.

In a former blog post, I introduced what I described as “Master’s Gaze”. It’s an internalised and self-regulating gaze in which a submissive sees himself as he imagines his Master sees him. Whether it has any bearing on reality or not is something which another matter again. I believe that it is in the realm of internalised self-regulation where most obedience exists.

In my own training, a strong idea that exists in the relationship is one of “worthiness”. A sub loves to make his Master proud and must be prepared to always strive for bigger and better things, to improve oneself. Complacency makes for failed relationships and the stagnation of the self. We all get distracted and have setbacks occasionally, but the emphasis is in that drive, in that push.

As a sub, one’s primary disposition is to be highly generous with his efforts and affections towards his dominant as well as being gracious and appreciative of all gifts he receives. I’m a consummate sub, with a very loving and physically affectionate streak. I give it out readily and it means the world to me when it is returned.

Are you a sub or a dom? I’d be interested in getting your feedback about the ideas brought up today. foxbear what do you think?

Hey Jack

I’ve followed your blog for a few years now and have watched you go through highs and lows and I’ve always rooted for you. You’re an amazing guy and an inspiration to me.

I’ve known for a long time that I am a pup but I have been afraid to be honest about that side of myself. But following you, and watching you grow; not just physically (very hot and amazing by the way) but as a pup and a person. I look up to you as a pup and I strive to be like you.

You’re loyalty, honesty, respect, and dedication are an inspiration. I hope someday when I am collard and have a master I can be half the pup you are. I hope that things get even better for you, you deserve it. Good luck.

patrickwinehouse

This was a such a beautiful letter I just wanted to share it with you all today.

Tank you are quite fascinating. I've been reading your blog for sometime now. I'm slowly learning the Dom/sub culture. And I just adore pale gingers and your big bulky physique gets me hard each time. Wish I lived closer I'd love to spend time with you and maybe workout too. Hmu if you ever visit wash DC or Maryland.
musclebeast300

It’s rather interesting. Even though I have the legal ability to live and work anywhere in the United States, it almost feels that I’m a citizen of San Francisco. I don’t anticipate to be on that side of the country any time soon.

Thank you for your kind comments.

For Da Noobz!

foxbear:

image

*ahem*

… 

I mean budding and curious kinksters, of course!  

(Seriously, though, we ALL began our journeys into leather, kink, BDSM, power-exchange, etc. at the beginning, no exceptions.  Pretty much all of us stared at those waters or just dangled our toes in for a long time before wading out into it—or perhaps executing a spectacular cannonball dive into freakdom.  In any case, NOBODY should look down their nose at those folks just starting out, whether it’s porn or experimentation or 50 Fucking Shades of Grey that turned them on to their inner freak.  It is instead our duty as leathermen and experienced perverts to educate and teach them, and to answer their questions!)

With all of that not-very-funny attempt at humor bullshit out of the way, I wanted to address the fact that I have been contacted a fair bit recently by several rank-novices about wanting information about the lifestyle, to know where they can look to learn more.  And so I give you the four following tidbits of advice that may help:

1) Read this post in which I sorta answered this question before.  There are some new developments and resources, however, included below.

2) Take the time to flip back through my blog, as I’ve dished up a fair bit of information about specific topics, as well as general history and information and “what the fuck it is that we do” type stuff.  Specifically, check out posts tagged with #whatthefoxsays#leather and #BDSM.(There will be some overlap.)  There are also a lot of Asks that are untagged that you can just jump to through going to my Archive and scanning back through them.

3) Also, you may want to flip back through the last year or so of fuzzbutt07's blog and see some of what he's experienced.  In June of 2013, he was pretty much a complete beginner.  Now he's a honest-to-gawd leatherboy (still with plenty of room to develop, of course), and has done an admirable job of chronicling his journey here in the Tumblrsphere.

4) There are some other blogs out there that you might wanna follow—people who not only post hot pervert/leather pics, but who include substantive writings on BDSM-related topics.  A few in particular come to mind, who both post original writings and who sometime reblog other quality thought/theory stuff: realpowerexchange, lthredge, brandedbulltank, slave2766bootbrushpup, I’m sure that there are dozens and dozens more out there, but those are the ones that I can think of just now.  I don’t always agree 100% with everything that they post, but hey—the journey is different for every one of us, and reading more experiences and getting more perspectives will help you to find your own way.

SO, there ya go, noobz.  Now go get your freak on!

—Your friendly neighborhood FoxBear

Oh wow. Thank you so much for mentioning me. One thing that that Tumblr is really useful for is the collective experience of the subs that share parts of themselves on this website. Because submission is such a personal thing, everyones experience is likley to be different, but you can certainly learn from the wealth of others.

Reblogged from foxbear