Thursday, January 21, 2010

D/s, I love you

Warning: Today's topic is very adult in nature, so if you are easily offended by such things, I suggest that you skip this one.
I have always believed that what two or more consenting adults do in the privacy of their own bedroom, kitchen, back yard swimming pool, or dungeon is their own business and no one else's, even if some of their activities would make Dana Carvey's Church Lady purse her lips and say, "Well, isn't that SPECIAL?" But what if they blog about their sexual activities nonstop or otherwise make their private lives very public? The Church Lady might not approve but it's still NBD, in my book, because there's a lot of that going around, and this isn't a sex blog, most of the time.* But what if someone uses his kinky sex play as part of a New-Wage/selfish-help shtick? What if he claims that his quirky activities are not just a fun way to get off, but also a means of learning and teaching powerful life lessons?
Well, that's when he walks right into my Whirled.

I can hear the wheels turning in some of your heads now. Capitalize on one's kinky love play by convincing others that it is deeply relevant to their own business and personal lives? "Genius!" I can hear some of you saying. "Why didn't I think of that?"

Well, Steve Pavlina, owner of the Personal Development for Smart People blog, author of a book by the same name, and "active member" of the Transformational Leadership Council (TLC),** did think of it. As you may recall, Steve was featured briefly on my Whirled last July when he was going on and on about being in Bermuda for the Top Seekrit TLC summit. (My pal Duff McDuffee also blogged about Steve (and a few other New-Wage gurus) in September. Do read Duff's post, if you haven't already.) As it happens, another TLC meeting began Wednesday, January 20, in Puerto Rico, and will culminate this Sunday, January 24, which is Cosmic Connie Day, aka My Birthday. Steve Pavlina is in Puerto Rico with this gang of New-Wage elites, and once again has been Tweeting about it, as he did last July. He wrote of hugging a dozen TLC-ers upon his arrival in humid PR, and apparently a lot of them have been visiting his hotel room as well, as evidenced by this Tweet:
Going to visit a rainforest tomorrow for the first time ever. Lots of different insects have been visiting my hotel room to say hi.

But what does that have to do with kinky sex? Not much, probably, but you know how I get sidetracked sometimes. Anyway, in a PS that I later added to my July 2009 post, I mentioned Steve's foray into the wild world of "polyamory," which is a sophisticated social-anthropological sounding way of referring to an arrangement whereby one or both partners in a marriage or other close committed relationship get to boink whomever they want, and everyone is cool with it.

Steve first announced his polyamorous intentions at the end of 2008, saying that was what he was going to focus on in his personal life in 2009. One got the distinct sense that his wife, Erin, was not nearly so enthusiastic about the new arrangement. Around the time that he decided to explore polyamory, Steve apparently also became involved with promoting the "Man Transformation" products by David DeAngelo, aka Eben Pagan, which teach men to transform themselves so they can get attractive women. Announcement of the Pavlinas' separation and impending divorce came towards the end of 2009.

And then Steve was off to the races, bound (oops, poor choice of words, as you'll see in a moment) and determined to become a real player in the field of enlightened promiscuity...I mean, "intimacy abundance." He got a fashion makeover and new hair color and 'do that would have driven those wild and crazy guys, Georg and Yortuk Festrunk, mad with envy, and must surely have attracted many big-breasted foxes to his lair. Life was just getting better and better for him.

It got even better when, after what must have been weeks of intense self-exploration and mulling over how best to take advantage of being a single guy again, he discovered the world of dominance and submission, aka Dom/sub, aka D/s. He first wrote about this at length on his January 2, 2010 post (scroll down to 'Alternative Relationship Styles'). He further explored the topic on January 4 and then again on January 7. "I really love my life!" he enthused on his January 4 post.

In case you haven't guessed it, Steve is a Dom, and is currently exploring a relationship with a "consensual sex slave." Although so far he has shielded her identity, it seems he's fairly bursting at the seams to tell more. Recently he tweeted:
I can't share a status update because nothing happening in my life right now is PG-rated, but she sure is yummy!
In his blog posts, he goes into a great deal of rationalization about the dynamics of the Dom/sub relationship. "It should be abundantly clear," he writes in his January 4 post, "that D/s can be a tremendous growth accelerator, assuming you approach it with such an intention."

So, obviously, this is about much more than just getting off with yummy sex slaves. It's also about personal growth and business development, as Master Steve 'splains in even more detail on his January 7 post, which you really must read. At one point he expounds upon why a partnership of non-equals can work as well or better than a partnership of equals. He posits two different scenarios, in which a business owner either has a free slave to do the owner's bidding, or a free manager who tells the owner exactly what to do. He concludes:
...So would you agree that all else being equal, you’d be more likely to succeed as an entrepreneur if you could start your business with either a free slave or a free manager, assuming they’re competent? And if you can see in advance that you’re likely to succeed, wouldn’t you be more willing to dive in and try it? Wouldn’t you also be willing to stretch and take more risks in your business?
Now consider this. Would these businesses also be good experiences for the slave and the manager? Could you fathom that they might also benefit tremendously from it? For example, what if the slave is, in real life, someone just starting out on their career path, and even though they work for free, they gain tremendously valuable experience. This “slave” is essentially an intern. Similarly, the manager could be thought of as a mentor or board member.
Many variations are also possible, whereby the slave and manager could easily share in the rewards of the business.
Hopefully you get the idea. The point is that a partnership with an unequal power structure can have some serious advantages, and it could very well turn out much better than a partnership with two equal partners who share responsibility for all decisions and actions in a more balanced way.
Well, this is essentially how a D/s relationship works behind the scenes, except that instead of trying to build a business, the partners come together to help each other grow as human beings.
Although it looks asymmetrical on the surface, D/s actually has a very balanced way of fostering new growth experiences for both partners. One simple reason this happens is that it reduces the risk of failure. It also creates a dynamic whereby if a failure experience does happen, it’s no big deal.
So there, you naysayers. And before you go all snarky or judgmental about this whole Dom/sub game, Master Steve admonishes you:
Perhaps an even more important point is to be careful not to dismiss a potential new growth experience out of hand. Be cautious about judging what you’ve never experienced or what you’ve experienced only in a limited way. If you’ve never experienced a particular dynamic firsthand, it’s safe to say you don’t have a clue what it’s really like. If you cast judgment from the outside looking in, all you’re doing is limiting yourself. I think it’s better to keep an open mind about that which you’ve never tried. Don’t buy into the social conditioning that encourages you to pre-condemn with prejudice. Our society cannot progress much until we drop such limiting thoughts.
And just for good measure, he repeats the lesson on his Twitter page:
Educate yourself first before forming an opinion on something with which you have little or no experience.
Anticipating critics, he notes on his January 2 ("2010 Focus") post:
I’m looking to see how much maturity my readers can summon in terms of watching me explore this path without going kittywompus, especially since other people are involved. In the past I’ve been largely disappointed, but perhaps the New Year will bring a new level of genuine acceptance and curiosity...
... Commence with the criticism now if you must, but just remember that ultimately it’s all about you anyway… and a harsh reaction could be a sign of a repressed desire to be dominated. Or perhaps you just need to be introduced to a particularly skilled sadist to soften you up a bit. ;-)
I noticed that the "Related Articles" at the end of his January 7 post begins with these two items:

  • Domination and Submission
  • Million Dollar Experiment – Submissions Rolling In (Shouldn't that be "submissives rolling in?")

  • Comments are turned off for the D/m posts, but you can discuss it all on the Steve Pavlina forum. Here's the link to one thread.
    Now, I don't know about you, but I think Steve's pla
    n to mix his kinky sex life with his personal-growth shtick really is sheer genius.*** For one thing, he could very well be on the verge of tapping into a grievously under-served market: the conspicuously enlightened porn consumer. A few years ago I suggested the possibility of New-Wage porn movies (it was really just a passing mention on this post; look for the paragraph on "Spiritual Sinema"), but Steve Pavlina has actually had the courage to go forth with a New-Wage porn lifestyle.

    More importantly, I believe he is providing an excellent working model for the ideal relationship between a selfish-help/McSpirituality/New-Wage guru and his/her devoted followers. I think the Transformational Leadership Council should be very proud. At their Puerto Rico summit Steve is scheduled to speak about building traffic. And he should know about that; after all, as he told his friend Joe "Mr. Fire" Vitale when they were hanging together at the TLC party last year in Bermuda, his blog gets two million visitors a month.
    Maybe if more of the Transformational gurus take a page from Steve's book, they can divert some of that easy money from the multi-billion dollar porn industry into their own coffers. The new FTC regs and other factors may have rained on the parades of some of the gurus, and Sweatgate may have also put a damper on the festivities, but all is not lost. There's still that prurient-interest angle!

    By the way, Steve's most recent blog post, as of today, offers another lesson that many selfish-help gurus or wannabes surely need: How to Build a Stronger Ego. Once again he mentions that he is at the TLC meeting in Puerto Rico, and notes that several of the TLC-ers...
    ...gushed over how much they liked my new hair. By making a small change to my avatar, it created a fun shift in the way people relate to me, even people who already know me. But prior to making this change, I was one of those guys who could criticize others for fussing over their appearance. It took me a while to realize that I was giving my power away to others so as to avoid taking full ownership of my own avatar’s appearance.
    As the Church Lady might say, "We like ourselves, don't we?"
    So let's hear it for Master Steve and his courageous decision not only to spiff up his avatar by getting new hair, but, more importantly, to plunge headlong into the world of D/s.*** And all of you harsh critics out there, before you go all kittywompus or something, just remember that the Master has your number. It's painfully obvious that you are harboring a deep desire to be dominated. Get on your knees now and thank him for being brave enough to show you the light. And be sure to gush over his new hair while you're at it.

    PS ~ On a related note, here's a little blast from the past: a page from my old work, Cosmic Relief, showing that once again I was ahead of my time. The "ad" was a take-off on a business book that was a bestseller back in the 1990s, The Discipline of Market Leaders, by Michael Treacy and Fred Wiersema (the Amazon page is for the expanded edition published in 1997). Click on the pic for an enlargement. (And I must apologize for the relative crudity of the comp above, but I'm sort of busy today and didn't have time to lovingly labor over every pixel, as I have done at times in the past. But hey, it's the thought that counts. And I don't know about you, but I'm kind of feeling inspired to break out into a verse of 'Rose Tint My World.')
    PPS ~ For even more enlightened sexploitation, check out ACCESS Consciousness. (The link is to one of my most recent posts about ACCESS, but the post contains links to my earlier articles on the topic as well.)

    Update, February 2010: Oh, dear. Nothing pokes holes in a cozy little master-slave relationship like Cupid's invasive arrows. Yes, Steve Pavlina and his sex slave have officially fallen in love with each other, and are apparently no longer so much into the D/s thing. In his February 12 blog post Pervlina reveals his former slave's identity and shares with us that she is a major Trekkie who beats the hell out of Star Trek Trivia, that is. No word on whether they utter Klingon endearments to each other in moments of passion (thank Goddess for small favors). Anyway, so much for that New-Wage porn lifestyle.

    * As I said above, this is not a sex blog most of the time, but believe me, that is not from lack of material. I've learned more than I care to know about the private lives of some of the New-Wage luminaries I write about. Let's just say they're a randy bunch and don't mind "sharing the love," whether they're in an allegedly monogamous relationship or not. At least Steve Pavlina, for better or worse, is more honest and open about his shenanigans than most of that crew.
    ** Incidentally, when I checked the Transformational Leadership Council site a little while ago, I noticed that Steve Pavlina is still not listed as a member in good standing, but then, neither are others who say they are TLC members. At least I haven't seen their names there on the times I visited. Perhaps TLC just doesn't have the resources to keep their web site updated. On the other hand, James Arthur Ray's
    name was on the TLC membership roster at one time – he was listed as a founding member – but apparently his name was removed some time ago. (He was listed at the time I wrote about the TLC back in July, but that, of course, was before Sweatgate.)
    *** I feel compelled to add a huge sarcasm alert here, just in case there was any doubt.

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    Unknown said...

    Awesome post. You got it! ;)

    Athol Kay: Married Man Sex Life said...

    My gosh that is funny. But when you consider that Erin lost a husband as a cost of all this impersonal growth, I guess it's not so funny.

    I've dabbled with the Pick Up Artisty stuff, and honestly the majorty have enough of a baby to bathwater ratio to have been worth the effort. Men will do nearly anything to be good with women, and gaining increased skills is a pandoras box.

    Personally I've tried to harnass my powers for good, though reading over Game and "getting it" has been sorely tempting at times.

    Great post Connie. Very much shining a light.

    Rational Thinking said...

    I am definitely noticing a trend growing here amongst these personal development/new age types: not only do they want to do what they want to do, they want our approval of what they do - nay, not just approval but admiration! It's very odd. I notice it from your 'snargets', I see it from JAR, I see it here. Major neediness. Very odd.

    Deb Frueh said...

    The part that gets me is how he seems to feel that it's perfectly normal for me to go to his website to learn about online businesses - yet have to learn about his personal experiences with D/s. At least he's honest about his love affair with himself (and his ego!).

    SustainableFamilies said...

    OMG this had be laughing out loud... for the reelz.

    Although it does also make me genuinely worried. Oh the humanity! Where with the world come t!

    Can you imagine... LGAT brainwashing combined with D/s agenda???

    I mean really... how would you make it against the law? I suppose the porn industry has already been using tactics to convince vulnerable people to submit but they don't have the savvys of the new wage guru.


    Yes I feel bad for Erin, I truly I feel really worried about the people who are going to be talked into being sex slaves! Even if someone agrees to be treated badly, gosh it makes me worry for them.

    Karin Hiebert said...

    So Avant Guard of you! or is it Avante gard? garde? very ahead of your time...

    You're just another SHIT! lol

    Donna Matrix & Mike Hock Trickles

    that's some crazy Schmidt!

    Cosmic Connie said...

    Steve said...
    "Awesome post. You got it! ;)"

    Thanks, Steve. Looks like my readers got it too, LOL.

    Cosmic Connie said...

    Thanks for weighing in, Athol. I have a strong sense that Erin will be okay; I hope so, anyway.

    As for the Pick-Up Artist stuff, like anything else it has its good points and bad. There's a lot to be said for teaching men how women tick (and vice-versa). But -- again, like anything else -- there are going to be folks who abuse the knowledge. I'm hoping that more women are getting wise to this stuff so they know when they're being played.

    Cosmic Connie said...

    Rational Thinking said...

    "I am definitely noticing a trend growing here amongst these personal development/new age types: not only do they want to do what they want to do, they want our approval of what they do - nay, not just approval but admiration!"

    I've noticed that trend too. And most of them don't just want our approval and admiration; they want our money.

    Cosmic Connie said...

    Deb Frueh said:
    "At least he's honest about his love affair with himself (and his ego!)."

    LOL. And, as I mentioned in a footnote to my post, at least he's more honest than some of the other New-Wage gurus who pretend to be in committed, mutually monogamous relationships.

    Cosmic Connie said...

    Sustainable Families wrote:
    "Can you imagine... LGAT brainwashing combined with D/s agenda???"

    I *have* imagined it, and it isn't pretty. But if you look at it in the right light, it is so profoundly ludicrous that no one is going to take it seriously. That's my hope, anyway.

    Or am I being overly optimistic again?

    Cosmic Connie said...

    Karin Hiebert wrote:
    "...that's some crazy Schmidt!"

    LOL. As they say, Schmidt happens. (Yeah, I've heard 'em all. But I still refuse to change my name. :-))

    Karin Hiebert said...

    Now that I actually read, re read and clicked on all of the linky dinks...

    I feel so enlightened. A hole new world has opened up for me.

    crazy shit for sure.
    yucky feelings

    Karin Hiebert said...

    Afternoon coffee at the shit house...

    yup- legally it's still my name. Couldn't suffer with a name like that just to go dropping it completely!

    just still use Hiebert

    now do I add the new married name?
    That could really complicate things.

    Cosmic Connie said...

    Yes, Karin, those "linky dinks" are pretty eye-opening. Or eye-rolling.

    I'd forgotten that your maiden name was Schmidt. I suppose you've received that famous Christmas card at some point in your life... you know, the one where Santa's reindeer are alighting on an outhouse, and Santa is saying, "No, damn it, I said the SCHMIDT house!"

    Karin Hiebert said...

    Rudolf got it right though!

    in my case

    Yakaru said...

    What kind of a future are these weirdos creating? Even depraved sex acts are not safe from being spiritualised and exploited. Is nothing sacred?

    Cosmic Connie said...

    No, Yakaru, nothing is sacred. Leave it to the New-Wage hustledorks to tarnish the golden image of the porn industry.

    Anonymous said...

    A you saying there is a new craze for whipping new agers in the offing (or in the basement), Connie?

    Maybe it's a way of shaking loose blocked chakra energies.
    Hmm, I shall rub my chin and ponder the possibilites of this new stage of Gaia's evolution.

    I can certainly see how you could channel the pain into mental focus and superpowered intention, I think someone like Vitale could run a very good 'nail your scrotum to a cross to enhance your intention power' course.
    I would pay to see that.

    I think people should offer their ideas for what method they would use to help their favorite new age guru to achieve the necessary levels of 'intentional focus energy'.

    I'll start you off.
    Deepak Chopra... hot wax on the manhood.

    What I want to know is, do the ascended wise ones have anything to say on this.

    Unknown said...

    Pondering the current lineup of luminaries in the Transformational Leadership and the wannabees reminds me of the famous quip by Groucho Marx

    "I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."

    Kalachakra said...

    Happy Cosmic Birthday!

    (Sorry I'm a day late)

    SustainableFamilies said...

    Oh happy birthday! See, I agree with you, if they read about it in advance ANYONE would think it was insane. But if someone went to an LGAT and didn't know what they were walking into and thought is was "self development" and went through some sort of confess your innermost secrets to everyone sort of thing and were in a vulnerable state and then... people can be suggested to do all kinds of things, especially when a skilled brainwasher knows what their doing.

    I mean, I have gotten talked into things I never wanted to do by men and they weren't even using any fancy stuff! Just normal insecurities on my own part! It makes me worry for people like myself, who have gone through periods of really low self esteem and had to work through all the bad stuff people do to people with low self esteem.

    Then again, maybe I have known some guys who were using knowledge of my own issues against me.

    Well, the more things like this get made out in the open so that people can be prepared to walk away from it, the better! This is cult material though. People getting encouraged to agree to let themselves be treated as less than human.

    I want to say, "Oh yeah, only people with issues will agree to that!"

    Which may be true. But it's still really freaking sad, and I do hope people WILL get savvy to it, and even people with issues and subject to persuasion will see how to look out for themselves.

    We live in a weird freaking world!

    Anonymous said...

    Having spent 6 years at an "SRC" (that's Spiritual Retreat Center or, more accurately, Sexual Recreation Center masquerading as the former), I saw a lot of sex workshops held there and was surrounded by many in the polyamory movement (this was a big center that hosted a national polyamory conference). Most of them were self-involved, emotional drama/trauma 7th graders who used their polyamorous exploits to inflate their positions among these gurus of the body and also to stave off the boredom of their otherwise ordinary lives.
    While there, I became vomitous over the fact that women, usually the "slaves" in the situation, began revealing which gurus they'd slept with as a way to make their climb up the fame ladder. EW.
    I'm wondering if Mr. Steve would wax so enthusiastic if he were forced to be the slave in the whole equation. It's always a nice view when you're on top, so to speak.

    Jonathan Timar said...

    Thanks so much for the link! I think your blog is fascinating. I lost respect for Joe Vitale some time ago, but I still thought Steve Pavlina was an okay guy.

    But this Eye Wide Shut kinda stuff is a bit much. Too much money, not enough to do I guess.

    Jacq said...

    I think Pavlina was just a big geek in high school and his insecurity is manifesting itself now.

    If you haven't read this post - it's hilarious:

    Maybe not as insightful as your post - but I love the snarky - keep it up!