Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

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Tom Allen
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Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by Tom Allen »

Because the topic come up once in a while, here's an essay I wrote a few years ago. It's just my opinion, of course, but it might be a worthwhile read for both neophytes and know-it-alls.
Having solved the problems of world hunger, universal medical care, and corrupt politicians, it’s good to know that some people still have enough energy to tackle the really important issues of whether or not “enforced” chastity is an actuality, whether or not one needs a device, and what devices are serious enough for consideration.

At the moment, this argument discussion is taking place over on Sarah’s Male Chastity Blog, although this is really just another instance of the discussions that take place on some group or forum just about every freaking month. It’s kind of like the kudzu of the kinky internet; as soon as you think it’s gone, it pops up somewhere else.

So, let’s review a few things. As I’ve said a bazillion times, chastity devices are sex toys, plain and simple. Just like handcuffs, rope, or other restraints, they are equipment to enhance sexual, or more accurately, erotic enjoyment. This is not a paradox; except for extremely rare circumstances, people buy chastity devices in order to engage in erotic control scenes. Yes, the scenes may play out over long periods — weeks or months — but the essence of the play is erotic control of one’s sexuality.

Yeah, yeah, I know that some of you are ready to get on a soapbox about how it has changed your relationship, given you focus, made you a better partner, blah, blah, blah. Well, I call “bullshit” on that entire concept; what you’re describing is not the magical effect of the device anymore than Dumbo’s crow feather gave him magical flying powers (sorry, when you have kids, these kinds of analogies come to mind). Rather, I suspect that you, yourself have become more focused, a better partner, etc., because you’re enjoying the attention and you’re reciprocating in a way that fits the paradigm you’ve set for yourself (actually, since we don’t live in a social vacuum, that other people around the internet have set for you). You want to call the device a symbol of your new life? Hey, great — that’s exactly what those freaking wedding bands do. How well was that working for you?

So, does that mean that chastity devices are toys? Well, that’s a bit more complicated, so to avoid certain emotional connotations, I’m going to call them “equipment”. This makes more sense because that’s how we usually refer to other kink-oriented items; the word “toy”, while having a connotation as being something used for fun, also conveys an image of something that’s not intended for serious usage (fsv of “serious”). Hence, the snobbery of those people who sneer at anything made of plastic, who are in turn frowned on by those espousing the use of anything less than a full stainless steel Tollyboy (or whatever) belt, who are then dismissed as amateurs by those who have spent months of their salary (and months of fitting time) to own custom Latowski metal underwear.

And of course, all of the above people are dissed by the domlier/subbier than thou types who claim that nobody should even need a device, they should simply develop the willpower to do as they are told.

A pox on all of ye, I say.

Those of us who enjoy using chastity devices do so because it takes willpower out of the equation entirely. Does Mrs. Edge tie a ribbon around my cock to remind me that it’s her property? No. “Oh, screw that,” she says. “I want to make sure you don’t even have the temptation, let alone the opportunity.” I believe that this sums up the concept rather well; for us, the kink is about her control, not mine. I believe that most other people into using chastity devices have a similar mindset.

Having eradicated the kudzu set to rest the idea that it’s perfectly okay to use devices, let’s move on to the idea that chastity can be “enforced”.

It can’t.

That is, it can’t in the sense that between consenting adults, nothing can be enforced without some willing participation. There are two aspects to this, the emotional/relationship aspect, and the practical/physical aspect. Let’s tackle the latter because it’s easier.

Okay, I want everybody to sit down and take a deep breath. Most of you have heard this, but not all of you were listening, so it may come as a shock.

There is no such thing as an inescapable chastity device.

I want you to trust Doctor Tom on this one. I have been working with tools since I was a child. I own an entire machine shop. There is no metal that can not be cut, nor any lock that can not be defeated by the proper application of time, effort, and money. Stainless steel? Feh, I cut that in my garage. Titanium? Don’t make me laugh. Carbonite? Get real, that’s only in Star Wars.

Lock shackles can be cut with bolt cutters. Locks with hidden shackles can be drilled out. And there are very few designs that can not be defeated with a Dremel and a couple of grinding discs. Full belts with metal chains? You can cut the chains and wriggle the belt off. Without chains? They have thin sheet metal cutters that you can slide in along your waistband. High-end “trapped ball” devices like the Gerecke or Steelwerkz? A little tougher because you’ve got to work close to sensitive skin, but still doable with a steady hand and the proper tools. Lori’s and other devices that utilize a PA piercing? The area holding the lock itself is thin, and easily accessible with a small jeweler’s saw. And obviously, plastic devices can be cut or broken.

Now, this is the heart of the argument: If any device can be cut apart, then they’re worthless, right?

No. This is where the emotional/relationship aspect comes into play.

Having established that you can’t be locked up without your consent, let’s examine what that consent entails. In any relationship, and especially in a D/s relationship, we take on roles that match up to some script that we have running in our minds. When there is a large disparity between the script and our real life, we become depressed or restless — a symptom of our unhappiness. For an example, pick any one of the dozens of FLR blogs in which the men have been trying for months or years to convince their wives to “take charge” in some way. Those men who resort to “stealth submission” are, in some respects, trying to fit that script to their real life scenarios, and not feeling especially successful.

For the men who somehow manage to talk to their partners about chastity and orgasm denial, a lot of them write about their frustration when their wives or partners lock them up for a few days, then leave the keys in plain sight, or forget to lock them back up again, or pretty much ignore the entire situation. Message boards are filled with “How do I get my wife to…” questions. Consent isn’t a problem in these cases, except on the other side; i.e., men who want their partners to consent to some erotic sexual control.

But for those who actually have partners that want to play along, there is usually have a period in which the man gets accustomed to wearing the device for several hours or days at a time, and once broken in, the play starts. Sometimes they use a point system, sometimes it’s random numbers (dice games, darts, lotto picks), or sometimes it’s a pre-determined number of days. Some guys underestimate their ability to hold out, and begin begging for some kind of release. When they do this, are they doing so because they aren’t able to break the cage and have an orgasm? Of course not. This is simply part of the play itself. Chastity enthusiasts want to feel the loss of control, even if it’s illusory, because this meshes with the script in their heads. That’s why “enforced” chastity is really a scene. It’s extended, and it’s not situationally dependent (e.g., it doesn’t have to be played in a dungeon, or only on a weekend), but it’s still a scene, and a scene requires some kind of consent.

In these scenes, the devices have several purposes. Ostensibly, they are to prevent the men from taking control of their penis, presumably through masturbation. In some cases, partners have discovered that the device helps to ease their own feelings of guilt when they don’t feel like having sex; some women say that they would like a massage or some physical attention, and often feel like their partners keep trying to turn those circumstances into an opportunity for sex; the devices can remove the sense of responsibility (“I’m sorry, honey, but the two weeks aren’t up yet.”). Again, an extremely frustrated man can head down to his basement and cut the cage off to masturbate. But they don’t. It’s not because the cage is unbreakable, it’s because so far real life isn’t running too far off course from that internal script.

Yes, some men say that it’s because of their devotion, but that sense of devotion itself comes from that internal script. In some paradigms, they are bold, but subservient knights, willing to put up with personal trials to win the hand our their princess. In others, they are happy to see the script begin to modify itself (“Be careful what you wish for, you might get it” seems to be their motto). There are other paradigms, but the important point is that they all work as long as real life somewhat matches up to their script.

For some — I suspect most — men, part of that script does entail an inescapable device. This is why some people spend so much time convincing themselves that this or that modification will make their device foolproof. I can personally attest to having spent hours working out ways to improve my CB3000 resistance to pulling out. Some men will take it a step farther and get a piercing (as did I, although it didn’t work out well). The idea is as I wrote above: we want the temptation completely removed, we want to feel a loss of control, even if we temporarily desire otherwise at times.

So, if you have to consent to wearing a device, and if a device can be broken or cut off, how does that give you a situation that removes all control?

It doesn’t, of course. This is where our internal script has to depend upon the willing suspension of disbelief, just as any other Hollywood movie or Barbara Cartland novel does.

If your script considers your personal sense of responsibility to weigh as heavily as the need for a secure device, then your WSD allows you to wear, say, a CB3000, even though you know you could pull out and masturbate in the shower if the pressure gets to be too much to handle. On the other hand, if your script (or your partner’s) calls more heavily for a true loss of control, and you’re unwilling to pretend, then you start looking for something more secure. Perhaps you add a KSD to your device. Or perhaps you get a piercing. Or perhaps you do as so many chastity enthusiasts do — go from device to device, always looking for something that’s just a little bit better than the last.

This is why some smarmy people talk about deviceless chastity; in their internal script, they focus on giving control over to their partners through developing their own self-control, and willingness to forgo temptation. In their scripts, overcoming such trials adds to their sense of self-worth. Similarly, those people who are more serious about their desire for actual loss of control will seek more “serious” devices because it adds to the believability of the script. This is why fantasies of unbreakable, uncuttable carbon-diamond unobtainium devices are so common — a lot of people enjoy the idea of loss of control. This isn’t so surprising when you consider that in other types of scenes, whippings, piercings, cuttings, and other types of sensation play are often accompanied by some kind of restraint. By the way, this points up the reason that the deviceless crowd is so annoying — they don't seem to understand that there is a huge disparity in the internal scripts that we like to play out.

I should point out that in addition to using chastity devices, some people choose to enhance their sense of loss of control by using some kind of a contract. True, it’s not legally enforceable, but that’s beside the point. The contracts usually have clauses and stipulations as to such things as the frequency of orgasm (thereby giving some feeling of safety for men who might not be sure how well they will deal with the denial), and consequences for contrived infractions such as begging for an early release, or “unauthorized” orgasms (via an unsecured device, or for those occasions when their partner fails to lock them back in). Again, the contracts are just a way to add some realism to the script, by reinforcing the idea of relinquishing control.

So, the paradoxical question arises: Can we consent to a loss of control within a relationship?

On one level, I don’t see how that’s possible. One’s willingness to relinquish control is only as strong as one’s desire to continue following (or lightly editing) their internal script. As Sarah points out, if her husband decided that he wanted out, he could either physically overpower her for the key, or head into the garage to cut the device off. However, the consequences for this would probably mean that Sarah would be angry or disappointed, and might not be willing to engage in such play again. If he decided that he could live with those consequences, then there is really nothing stopping him from ending the game unilaterally.

So, regard for the consequences is one of the (and probably the biggest) reasons that chastity can be “enforced.” This is actually a point that reinforces the believability factor with the stainless steel devices and the full belts; the consequences for cutting or breaking one of those affects not only one’s relationship, but also becomes very expensive as the wearer thinks about breaking a device that cost hundreds or possibly a couple of thousand dollars.

So, any degree of enforcement comes down to a regard for the consequences of breaking the agreement (contract, tacit, or otherwise). Now, can we all get back to enjoying our kink, and stop arguing about it?
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by cuyahoga »

I’m doing it wrong, and I’m happy with that. For us, the cage has nothing to do with enforcement of anything. It’s bondage, and just like being tied up, it’s simply sex with variation.

I’ve always wanted to be frustrated with being in the cage, but it does take a while to get me to the point of actually wanting to be out. Even in shorter periods of confinement, though, there is a special pleasure to that first unconstrained erection. That’s part of the feeling I’m after. There’s also a feeling of submission that I seek, and the cage emphasizes that. In reality, most of the feelings I seek could be achieved without chastity. The cage is just icing. It’s the surf to the turf.

When I’m in the shower, I frequently pull completely out of the back to thoroughly wash those portions normally difficult to get to. If she ever witnessed that, she wouldn’t care, except maybe to be glad that I could wash properly. If she responded by questioning how to prevent that, and wanted me to get a PA piercing for the purpose, that would be extremely erotic. But only for the extra layer of fantasy.

Enjoying a movie often requires some sort of “suspension of disbelief.” This type of play benefits in the same way, and those people without the imagination to do so shouldn’t be argued with. They should be disregarded and dismissed. They are the ones “doing it wrong.” We’re happy; they probably aren’t.
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by Tom Allen »

Enjoying a movie often requires some sort of “suspension of disbelief.” This type of play benefits in the same way, and those people without the imagination to do so shouldn’t be argued with. They should be disregarded and dismissed. They are the ones “doing it wrong.” We’re happy; they proba
Somebody asked me about our key situation, and I explained that we have one in the bathroom so I can unlock for a good cleaning or for a long bike ride. He could not wrap his head around the idea that I didn't use it daily to wank. "You have access to it? That doesn't make any sense!" Meh, it doesn't have to make sense to *you*, it just has to work for *us*.
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by danj »

I have an easily accessible key in my wallet at all times. Not taped up, it's all ready to go. I've never used it without permission. My only "fail" was one day when she allowed me to stroke the penis after a shower when I was unlocked (that's caused a new rule: I'm no longer allowed to ask to stroke...meaning, I'm never pleasuring myself alone...only by her request and in her presence). That time I was alone, and got carried away and came. The way we play, if I'm locked, I'm locked and I don't see myself cheating while in the cage. And I do pull out of my Steelheart to clean in the shower.

But yeah, it's all consensual!
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by Naljeans »

I too have the key in my wallet, and I’ve never used it without permission. I sometimes have to switch cages for work. Our rule is that I notify my owner when going from steel to plastic and then get permission to go back in the steel. I’m also forbidden from getting hard when switching - which has led to me sometimes switching cages the night before (avoiding morning uncaging altogether.)

I could take the cage off any time I wanted and only my conscience would inform her. I cannot conceive why I would do that, and devalue our trust and the whole point of being in chastity. I’ve never wanted to get hard or orgasm so much that it outweighs that. She would also instantly know if I had orgasmed based on physical signs and my personality.

I fantasize about getting a PA and not having access to the key at all. Alas, I cannot do so logistically, and really don’t need to anyway.
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by Schnoff »

“Nobody should even need a device, [y’all] should simply develop the willpower to do as [you] are told.”

Oh snicker. I find there’s two broad mindsets about “how to do an activity”, really any activity, from kink to drinking wine to sports:

- Everyone needs to follow this specific script that I follow, and when they don’t, it makes me so insecure about how I do things that my own fun is impacted.
- I do me, and you do you

It’s when that first group gets loud on the Interwebs that things can get a little messy - but only as messy as you allow. It’s good to remember that discussions can be stepped out of, and encountering this stuff in real life is rare.

I don’t think this is all will power, by the way. It’s a desire to be locked, or without orgasm. It meshes with the script in one’s head and goes to identity. Hence all the “I am
better off this way” and “locked me is the right / true me” and variations thereof. That’s powerful motivation to refrain from orgasm, and ultimately much more successful than relying on will power alone.
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by Chastityat60 »

Well said. Great reminder. So often the fantasy overrides the reality. I want to let my wife read it..but not yet. Thanks
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by gilesenglish »

That's a really meaty post! I think it's mostly correct for a lot of chastity fetishists. However, I beg to differ a little on the question of whether chastity can be "enforced", and thus on the implication that chastity is always a kind of play.

There are two aspects to this: enforcement and security. However, the elephant in the room is that some of us are sufficiently submissive that submission is our orientation, meaning we behave like addicts.

the consequences for this would probably mean that Sarah would be angry or disappointed, and might not be willing to engage in such play again.

Is all the enforcement most of us need.

If we dick around, the Femdom goes away. The same goes for whatever punishments our partners decide to administer. (The irony is that subs in vanilla to kink relationships have a worse negotiating position, and thus more authentic power exchange, than those in born kinky relationships.)

This takes us to security. What stops us secretly pulling out and getting off, or defeating the device with a vibrator or whatever?

Tom is saying that we basically follow a fantasy script. I almost wish that were true. It would be a better ego defence!

I think, for many of us, it's more basic than that. Wearing a device puts us in a submissive headspace, making it hard to even want to defeat the device. That sense of powerlessness further feeds the submission. Over time, it becomes hard to imagine being turned on without being locked, and when we are turned on, part of the excitement comes from being locked. Thus the more turned on we are, the less we want to unlock. It's a feedback loop.

Ah. But if we like it so much, then how can we say that we are forced? Surely consent is the same as enthusiasm?

For me, Masochism - which is what we're talking about here - exposes the fragmentary nature of the human brain. There's no authentic self, only a set of parallel and often conflicting tracks that neither cancel each other out, nor sum to a single whole.

We crave what we hate, enjoy what we fear, gain satisfaction from experiences we disliked, relish risks we'd rather avoid.

We are a delicate balance of opposing drives, and it's easy for other people to push us into adventures. The vanilla world has its personal trainers, sports coaches, drill sergeants, expedition leaders, inspiring bosses. We have our dominants.

And, being human, we also have our habits. Over time, we lose perspective, and our brains tag the the power exchange as real, even if we rationally know it is not enforceable. If that's a script, then so is marriage.

However it started, I obey Xena because that's who I am.
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by jfenoffti »

Schnoff wrote: Fri Jul 26, 2019 3:41 pm

- Everyone needs to follow this specific script that I follow, and when they don’t, it makes me so insecure...
Just like certain political groups. Some things are universal.
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Re: Consent & Sensibility, or Is chastity all in your head?

Post by Xileh »

Tom, your posts are often thought provoking and as usual, spot on. I view the chastity device as a symbol of transferring power to my wife. She enjoys the control and for her, it has been transformative. As I wear the device, and she exercises and expands her control, there is a great deal of trust between us that makes it enjoyable for both of us. I’ve thought about the concept of a script playing out, but I think our path is more organic. The script is written every day in ways that I would not have considered.
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