Cops n’ robbers

On episode 527 of the Savage Lovecast, Dan related a story in the context of a caller asking if a 24/7 master-slave relationship was possible about how he was once taken to task for describing BDSM as “cops and robbers for adults with your pants off.” He was at a conference and someone came up to him and said it was much more than that and, oh by the way, not being able to literally own another human being was a form of sexual repression. Or something like that.

Not that I would know anything about 24/7 master-slave things (though I do know something of the end of slavery in this country), but the more I’ve experienced and lived the less comfortable I’ve become with the “cops and robbers” analogy. It seems too flippant to me now.

Sure, for some, BDSM is something that’s simply scene-based. They buy their 50 Shades “My First Bondage Set” they found on the endcap at Target, feel very naughty indeed, and then get along with their lives. Maybe they never do it again because they feel incredibly stupid and self-conscious or maybe it spirals into a full-fledged Thing for them, but for most, it’s just a playful aside. In these cases, I totally buy Dan’s analogy. But it can be (and is) so much more for some.

My theme around here lately is “it’s what I am, not what I do” and the cops and robbers thing is all about the opposite. Belle and I don’t live in a scene. When I’m really submitting, I’m not pretending or acting. Bottoming, being hurt by a sadist, really giving of myself and being denied create a deep emotional resonance inside me. Drew and I were talking about this when he visited recently. Knowing what I know about myself now and if I were in a position where I wasn’t married to Belle, finding someone who was capable of accepting my need for domination would be a high priority. Perhaps higher than any other single attribute. That’s not playing.

I suspect Dan knows these things. That an inclination to some aspect of BDSM, like all things, exists on a spectrum. But for those of us on one of the far ends of that spectrum, his description is severely lacking.

Turn and face the strange

It’s funny because I was thinking about writing something more or less on the topic of change. Specifically, change in how one expresses their sexuality or identity because, you know, that’s the kind of shit I talk about here. Then this shiny turd appeared over at Drew’s blog (emphasis mine):

Drew, you will always be the one who changed Thumper and forced your sissy feelings on him. This is all garbage that further justifies why the concept of gay marriage is bad. You can’t keep it in your pants and want us to accept that?

The comment was left after Drew composed (the second part) what must have been a difficult post on the subject of actually being in an open relationship when it’s the other guy who’s about to get lucky (Axel, not me). He bared his soul to a certain extent and wrote what must have felt like pretty raw and exposing stuff. But this post isn’t about that, specifically. And it’s not even about the comment, really, but it popped into being in the midst of me pondering this topic so it kind of has to be part of it.

I mean, after I point out the vile and disgusting prejudice on display. What a fucking asshole. Truly. I’ll say again, if you feel as this person does regarding marriage equity, know that I can’t stop you from reading my words and gaining value from them, but also know I begrudge that benefit and think you’re amongst the most terrible and reprehensible people on the planet. I hope you choke on it. Have a nice day.

Anyone who’s read this blog for a while (like, earlier than about a year ago) knows that I haven’t really changed at all since Drew appeared on the scene. I was always very open about my bisexuality and the sundry kinks I enjoy. Drew has only provided an outlet for some of my kinks and, to a certain extent, impacted the kinds of things I write about here (like these very words — oh, so meta!). If that’s the change the commenter takes issue with, I’d refer them to this post.

In fact, the fetish core to this site’s raison d’être — enforced male chastity — has probably been with me for as long as I’ve been alive. My sexual attraction to members of my gender goes as far back as my attraction to those of the opposite gender. But, I was not always aware of my interest in things like bondage and masochism and I never thought of the concept of an open marriage as being anything like something I could do.

It seems to me that we’re overly invested in wanting to be “normal” when it comes to sexuality and sex. We’re saturated with images of what that looks like from our earliest exposure to media. Boy, girl, happily ever after. It’s only recently that it seems as though our culture is starting to be OK with recognition of the other dynamics that make up healthy human sexuality. That there is no one definition that fits all. I think the younger generations are going to be significantly healthier than mine was.

Personally, I think we’re born with all our various kinks and preferences fixed in our heads at an early state (maybe before we even emerge). We don’t develop kinks as much as we unearth them. We don’t “turn gay” as much as we allow ourselves to accept that part of ourselves. Why do I say this? Not because I have science on my side (not that I’ve looked), but because it seems perfectly apparent to me. Before I knew what chastity was, I liked the feeling of penis constriction. Before I knew what gay was, I was drawn to some males more strongly than others. Before I looked into BDSM, I knew I responded strongly to images and scenarios involving capture, containment, loss of control, and domination. I also know that I psyched myself out over many of these things or simply disallowed myself to think about them outside of masturbation. But no, I didn’t become kinky at some point in my forties. I finally let myself be kinky.

But I do think we evolve from a relationship standpoint. I think what we want from a partner changes over time. I never thought about openness with Belle because early on my feelings for her were such that I didn’t want anyone else. Saw no point in anyone else. There was no room inside me for anyone else. Now that’s changed. Luckily, we still have a connection and I still want her and need her in my life, but we’re both fundamentally different. We know more about ourselves and each other. We are much more confident in our bond. We have already made all the extra people we’re going to make and they’re well on their way to being self-sufficient. So now, the intensity and perhaps the motivations of how we once felt have changed.

I think we need to allow ourselves as people to change more than we do. To see that in some ways our sexualities are fixed but the way we express them is more fluid. We need to not feel guilt for feeling the way we do if it’s different than “normal” or how we’ve been identifying for years. We will always be left- or right-handed, but we will not always draw with a crayon or write with a fountain pen or paint with a brush.

We are so much more complicated than we allow ourselves to believe and capable of so much more variety and experience than we’re aware. We should embrace that, not bury it. We should revel in it, not feel shame. We should especially not let others make us want to bury who we are or feel shame because of their internalized self-hatred.

Everything else will follow

The other day, over on the Twitter, a young man (whose account is private, so I won’t say who it is) tweeted the following:

I hate who I am, the things I like… They complicate my life so much and took away what meant most to me. Why can’t I just be ‘normal’…?

This tore me the fuck up. I mean, I don’t know this guy really. We’re both on Twitter, that’s it. But I wanted to sit down and talk to him right then. To give him a shoulder to let it out on.

I have been that kid.

At various times of my life and for different reasons. When I was young (like he is) and regardless of who I was with or crushed on, I couldn’t stop thinking about someone else of the opposite gender. Or when I tried to make a go of it with the one guy and just couldn’t get myself there and knew I was going to hurt him. Or when I simply shut down sexually and emotionally and went years without touching another person in an intimate way. Or when I was with Belle and feeling like a total freak for liking the shit I do. Why can’t I just be normal!? Again and again, I asked myself that.

And I want to tell him, Dude, there is no normal. Normal is a myth. A lie. Normal is what we call the straightjacket of societally approved acts. In my experience, nobody is fucking normal. And life? It’s always complicated. Every second of every day in some way. By definition, that shit is complicated. It’s just we get used to some of the complications. We make room for them and stop feeling them.

From my perspective just this side of the half-century mark, let me also say “normal and uncomplicated” sounds as boring as hell. It’s only the not-normal and totally complicated that make life worth living. Truly.

I don’t know this guy’s situation. I don’t know what he’s even talking about, really. No idea what he lost or how, though I assume it was an S.O. and because he’s got some nifty little kinks. Let me say that again: Nifty little kinks. Those are what make you fucking awesome. Those are what make you you. There is nothing to hate there. Nothing.

I get the pain. I get the frustration. But you cannot change who you are. You can’t stop wanting what you want. And trust me (TRUST ME), someday you will find a person (or more than one) who wants to be the opposite of your desires. Who desires to feed your desires. It will happen.

If we don’t love ourselves, it’s hard for others to love us. If we don’t accept ourselves, it’s hard to be accepted. If we don’t acknowledge our inherent specialness, you can’t expect anyone else to. Acceptance of one’s self and one’s superpowers (which your sexual predilections absolutely are) is necessary for a happy life.

This is my thousandth post on Denying Thumper. One would expect I’d burn it waxing poetic about chastity or denial or being a little subbie rabbit. Maybe, in a way, I am. Because accepting those things about myself has led me here. A marriage with a wonderful woman who loves me for the freak of nature I am and I love her back fiercely. In fact, we love each other so much, I’m able to have a fucking boyfriend on the side (and I mean that literally). In a way, this entire blog and every word I’ve ever written on it is a giant example of what this post is about.

Accept yourself. Love yourself. Be yourself. Everything else will follow.

General merchandise kink

2015-01-11 10.24.10I once said I’d never post another thing about Fifty Shades of Grey ever again, but I cannot not post about this.

While trying to find my little girl the exact kind of oatmeal she wanted (only had to go to three stores…), I stumbled upon this endcap at our local Target. Right there at the end of the shaving aisle, a veritable “My First BDSM Scene” kit. Blindfolds (“No peeking!”) and vibrating cockrings along with (not shown) teeny tiny bottles of lube and something called a “massage candle” all sold as licensed “Fifty Shades” merchandise.

Look, I get that Fifty Shades isn’t high literature or even a faithful depiction of a BDSM dynamic, but my opinion of it hasn’t changed. Fucking Target is selling kinky shit on an endcap. Not just the book. Actual gear. Yeah, I know it’s just about the tamest things you can imagine (and that Durex has been selling vibrating cockrings there for a long time), but this is kinda like seeing muggles perusing a selection of Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes merchandise in the toy department.

Anything that helps people do something other than vanilla missionary stuff in bed has to be a good thing, right? I mean, Jack on Will and Grace was hardly a realistic portrayal of a gay man, but he begat Cameron and Mitchell on Modern Family. And they, in turn, have probably helped buffer America’s acceptance of gay marriage and families. Anastasia and Christian may be horrible representatives (I still haven’t read it, probably never will, and won’t make seeing the movie a priority), but if they’re the price to pay to get D/s-type relationships and dynamics in the mainstream, then so be it. Let the real people take it from here.

Dickless

Last time we were naked and rolling around together, an unusual thing happened. I couldn’t get it up. You know, these things happen. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t freak me out, though. And kinda like when I can’t fall asleep, the issue itself starts to become the issue and the flaccidness/wakefulness causes me to focus on the continued flaccidness/wakefulness and perpetuates additional flaccidness/wakefulness.

I woke up that morning laying on a raging hard-on since Belle had let me out the day before. I was super fucking turned-on and squirmed and rubbed the stiffy into the mattress waiting for her to wake up. Then, before getting her off, I was still all hard and leaky. I thought about just jumping her (because I know she likes it and I was in the right mood) but I did the usual and got her off with my fingers. Then she told me to go down on her and I eagerly complied. Then she came. It was all good.

But right then I figured out something was not quite right. It’s hard to explain but when you’re really grooving in the sack nothing feels weird or awkward or out of place, but at that moment, disentangling from the sheets and moving back up to be next to her I felt uncoordinated and not sexy. Then I started to worry about how my face smelled like her and how she’s not the biggest fan of that (though I’d use it as cologne) and the next thing I know I’m on top of her with a squishy tool. It just wasn’t right. I did really want to fuck her, but the connection wasn’t being made somewhere.

I laid next to her and she had the penis in her hand and she tried talking dirty to me. Not just any dirty talk, though. The kind a subbie little wannabe cuck with a penis humiliation kink wanted to hear. She told me about her boyfriend and how big he was and how much better he was at getting her off and, much to her surprise, the penis started to grow inside her grasp. This is really weird for her because she doesn’t have any understanding of where this comes from for me. It’s really alien to her.

Alas, it was for naught. The meat wasn’t cooperating. It drooped again.

As she was talking, she was also asking what a better tack was. Did I want to hear that her mythical boyfriend was better than me (bigger cock, better lover, etc.) or that the penis was insufficient to meet her needs? Since I know the boyfriend is mythical, he doesn’t much work for me. Hearing that she would like one with a bigger cock, though, does. Hearing that she thinks the penis is too small or thin or whatever does. She said that’s hard for her since that kind of talk essentially disregards all safeties nice girls have conditioned into them. I’ve written before about how she’s always been super expressive about how much she likes the penis, how good it feels inside her, etc., to the point that I have often suspected she was trying too hard to make me feel good about it. Also, her first husband was apparently much bigger (before we were married, she once compared it favorably to the Jeff Stryker dildo — should have been a clue to both of us that hearing the news was in no way damaging to my ego and I spent a lot of time imaging her fucking that big dick). But I’ve also written about how I got her to admit that she really does prefer the bigger dildos she’s let me use on her before. The penis would be better for her if it was bigger (specifically, thicker). In fact, that’s something she’s joked about a hundred times in the time I’ve known her: It’s not about the length, it’s all about the girth.

So yeah, the small penis thing works because it’s kinda true. It may not be as true as if I was only four inches long and as big around as a white board marker or something, but it’s still true. And yes, I do want to hear her say that to me. As often as she wants. While we’re having sex. Tell me that it’ll never be big enough to really get her off and that she probably should look for a man with a real cock if she wants to feel one, etc. That so, so works for me.

Over on the FetLife, I read this posted to the “Submissive men and women who love them” group (by a sub guy):

Name calling and humiliation

Why is this necasary?

I personally am not a fan of it. I understand that sometimes when punishments must be metted out they might come out as part of it but why is it necessary at any other point?

In my opinion a Domme/sub relationship is that of a sub devoting himself to a Lady. Serving Her and giving his will over to Her; while She in turn gives him a safe place to take the world off his shoulders and focus on nothing but his submission to Her.

To me name calling and huliation are not a safe place because you can never know what will truly hurt someone to their core.

Is my evaluation of a Domme/sub relationship wrong?

Ferns‘ reply was perfection, of course:

It’s not ‘necessary’, but some people find it fun and hot and awesome. And that’s great.

Similarly, it’s not ‘necessary’ to flog/cane/peg/smack/fuck/kiss/any-other-form-of-play someone either. But some people find that fun and hot and awesome also.

Erotic humiliation is a form of emotional masochism, just like impact play is a form of physical masochism.

Like others said: if you don’t like something, it’s easy enough to avoid getting involved with those who do.

“Emotional masochism” is exactly right. There may be a place where I will be “truly hurt to my core” but I’m nowhere near it right now. I can’t even imagine it. Partly because I don’t measure my worth by the length of the penis. I know how much I mean to Belle and how much we love one another and, for whatever reason, none of that is in any way threatened when she tells me the penis is too small for her. I will never resent her for saying it. I crave to hear her say it.

I have a friend I’ve known since junior high. After high school, he moved in with his soon-to-be stripper girlfriend who all our friends, male/gay/female alike, acknowledged was super hot. Not just in how she looked (which was way above average) but in how she comported herself. She was a strong female and I was especially drawn to her (and spent far too much time thinking about what I was saying when talking to her). She used to call my friend “Dickless.” It was her little nickname for him. She used it all the time and in front of everyone. It really pissed him off. Since he was one of the few guys I knew who I didn’t fuck/get fucked by around that time, I can’t say if it was true, but it didn’t matter. She was gleeful at his outrage. The madder he got, the cuter and more adorably she’d say it. It was fucking awesome. I’m not going to say I knew at the time I wanted her to be saying that to me, but I do remember how it affected me. There was a certain thrill at hearing her say it to him in front of everyone. I never for a second felt sorry for him. I was in awe of her.

So, flash forward to today. I know, intellectually, that the penis is not so small as to be of no value to Belle. I can and do get her off with it. It’s a perfectly serviceable size. But I also know it’s not exactly what she’d prefer. So, also intellectually, I can honestly say to myself it’s…insufficient. That little leverage is the fulcrum she could use to really take advantage of this particular fold in my sexuality. And I really wish she would.

The next morning, she tried it out a little. I was still free but she wanted me in and said I had to “lock that tiny dick up” or something very similar. That was pretty great. She says she’s not wired to be so mean to me and that it’s a challenge. I get that and I so appreciate that she would make the effort. But I also pointed out denying me orgasm was something she had a hard time with, too, and now it’s second nature for her. She’d never go back to letting me come when I want. Perhaps, in time, calling the penis what it is will end up the same way.

Follow-up for Kerri

Hmm…

I keep thinking back to the note I replied to yesterday. The one from a reader named Kerri who said, in part, “I cannot tell you how grateful I am for you to share your journey so publicly because I have found a lot of comfort in knowing that my desires aren’t necessarily singular, alone or deviant,” and, “…I don’t want to bare my soul to anyone who is likely to think I am weird…” and “[I] am so terrified of losing my husband, I either need to not feel how I do, or ask him to be what I need.”

Thing is, she never really came out and said what she needed or what her kink was. Did she want to carry a key? Or be locked? Or something else? Top? Bottom? No idea. But really, that doesn’t make a difference and it’s not what I keep thinking about.

So, I’m going to take another pass at her situation, but this time from a higher altitude. She said, “I either need to not feel how I do, or ask him to be what I need.” I can tell you right now, Kerri, you will not be able to stop being and feeling what you are. That bottle may stay stoppered for the rest of your life, but those feelings will never just evaporate no matter how far down you stuff them or how hard you will them to. They’re yours to keep. They are who you are.

No, you don’t necessarily need to act on your feelings/urges/whatever. Not everyone does (and, just between you and me, not everything you think is sexy ends up actually being that in real life). But I’m guessing that since you took the time to write me, they’re pushing at you pretty hard.

The second thing you said — “or ask him to be what I need” — is equally fraught. He may be what you need. That would be like drawing a straight flush, though. More likely, he is what he is and perhaps he can act like what you need him to be or what you both are has enough overlap to work. That’s the best case scenario, in my opinion. It’s also possible he can’t even think of being what you need him to be. That’s a scary prospect, I agree.

I don’t know you, let alone him, but you fear losing him and destroying your marriage and breaking up your family because of the kind of sex you want to have. Only you know him. Is that really likely? Or are you shaming yourself for being who you are? Are you inflicting fear of rejection and loss as a kind of punishment on yourself for being unlike who you think you need to be? I would know from that as I did it. Many times I felt like a complete freak and, even after leveling with Belle on all my various kinks and desires, making our sexual relationship work often felt too hard and I knew inside it was all my fault. Because I was not normal.

What I know now, and what I want you to hear, is there is no normal. There’s different. There’s compatible and incompatible. There are things each of us like and don’t. But nobody on this earth is normal. Not you, not me, not your husband, not the fucking Pope or President of the United States. People act normally (or, what they think is normal), but I think we all have our little kinks and peculiarities. We’re all kinky little fuckers deep down inside. And none of us are to judge what turns someone else’s crank (as long as it’s all consensual and practiced ethically, etc.). Not even ourselves.

So, please please free yourself from that guilt. Of that dread. You deserve to feel as you feel. You deserve to be happy. There is nothing wrong with you.

I know I’m incredibly lucky. I have a wonderful and supportive partner/friend/wife/keyholder who has made the realization of my sexuality not only possible but also rewarding. And it’s because of her support that I know how empowering it is to feel outside the shell we can make for ourselves when it comes to walling off whatever sexual feelings we have that fall outside the bullshit cultural paradigm. You need to break out of that shell to feel whole. You need to face who you are and give your husband the benefit of the doubt to face it with you.

This advice shit is tricky. Like I said, I know nothing more than what you told me in your note. Your husband may be a dick and maybe you already know he won’t be supportive. In which case, I wonder why anyone would want to live like that. But I’m making the assumption he isn’t. I can’t map out all the moves for you, but I can tell you how great it is not to be living with an important part of you hidden away from someone you love and who loves you.

Sure, do the things I mentioned yesterday. Buy the book, go to FetLife, maybe find a local group of like-minded perverts. But whatever you do, start the conversation with your husband. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but make the commitment and start working towards it now.

And don’t forget: We’re all kinky fuckers, every last one of us, in our own special ways. And it’s great.

Mailbag

Johnny wanted to know:

Can you explain how  the steelworxx pa fitting works. How does it feel when flaccid or hard? Does it put pressure on the piercing.

The fixing goes through the PA ring and then into the tube and onto the tube’s posts before locking. It allows for easy movement of the ring back and forth and up and down (to an extent) but does not allow for the PA ring to be completely withdrawn (and neither, therefore, is it possible for the penis). I don’t feel it at all when flaccid and will only occasionally feel a pinch when hard if I’m wearing my normal 4ga PA ring. Usually (like now) I’m wearing an 8ga ring and it’s rarely uncomfortable.

Here’s a video (way NSFW) I made a while back that shows how the whole thing comes together.

Tyler asked:

Hey man.  I love your blog about your Looker 02 chastity device.  I am very interested in getting one of these as well.  I have looked at the steelworxx website and I am confused about how I order one for my size.  How do I size myself and know which sizes to buy?  Are you in the US?  Is there anywhere in the US to get them?   Thanks man

There’s three sizes you need to order a Looker 02 (and pretty much any other device like that one): Flaccid penis length, flaccid penis circumference, and flaccid circumference around both the penis and your balls. I recommend several measurements since penises are tricky beasts and move around and back and forth, all on their own accord. Get an average and make sure, if it affects you, to specifically not think about what you’re doing. Also, do not succumb to the temptation to add length for your erection. You’ll be more comfortable in a shorter tube than a longer one.

Note that the circumference of your entire package is probably the one you’ll get wrong. You don’t want whatever size cock ring you wear since a cock ring needs to accommodate a fully erect penis and the A-ring of a chastity device doesn’t. However, if you make it too small, your balls will turn cold and blue and that’s VERY BAD. My advice, assuming you have the budget, is to get two or more rings and/or prepare yourself mentally to be sending your device back at some point to get a new ring.

There are other measurements like the gap between the ring and the tube, but I let Dietmar use his defaults on those and have been satisfied.

No, there is no US location for Steelworxx. It’s basically one craftsman in Germany (as far as I know).

Kerri said:

I’m not expecting you to reply, I just hope maybe you can help my journey.

I’ve been following your blog for over a year now and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for you to share your journey so publicly because I have found a lot of comfort in knowing that my desires aren’t necessarily singular, alone or deviant.

I would like to find an online resource where I can ask for advice in a safe environment.  I don’t know how to process the way I am feeling or how to best explain it to my husband.  I have looked for forums where I might ask advice, but I don’t want to bare my soul to anyone who is likely to think I am weird.

My husband and I have been together for 16 years, married for 12 and have 2 children.  I have always felt the way I do now but am so terrified of losing my husband, I either need to not feel how I do, or ask him to be what I need.

I don’t want to bother you with all our details, but if you can suggest any online resources that might help, please do.  I firmly believe that we can be great together based on the times we have experimented, but I would dearly love some advice on how to approach the situation so that I don’t ruin things between us.

I assume you’re a woman looking to be denied orgasm by your husband, though I suppose you could be the other way around.

I have never been asked this before, if indeed I’m correct about what you’re asking. You are not alone or deviant. Not at all and not in the slightest. My first advice would be to get yourself a FetLife profile and find a group of people like you and/or in your area. There’s also the book When Someone You Love is Kinky. You could get that and give it to your husband when you have the talk.

Other than that, I’m not sure what to say except that YOU ARE NOT A FREAK and if your husband loves you, he won’t think you are either. I have been where you are and felt as you do and am so much happier now to own who I am and what makes me happy. You will be, too, someday. I promise.

I ask my readers (many of whom are women) to chime in with their perspectives.

Niklas opined:

Sorry for the following cheesyness, but i really need to get this off my chest first:

“WOW!!! I stumbled upon your blog recently and its absolutely insane how much time and effort you seem to be devoting into it. Hands down: This is probably the best and most authentic ressource on the topic that i’ve seen and your videos and, posts and reviews have been a tremendous help and encouragement to give this whole thing a spin. Thank you SO MUCH for this great blog and keep keep up the good work”

You’ve got me to the point where i’m (quite literally) a mouseclick away from odering my first ever device and i’m sort of torn between the HolyTrainer 2 and the Steelheart. To me the trainer seems to make a lot more sense anatomically speaking and the steelheart seems to be kind of hard to keep clean…

However the price difference is not thaaaat big and you said the steelheart hangs lower (so is less visible?!) and generally metall i guess would be better. Also I have a PA so that would be a plus for the Steelheart.

I would still tend to the trainer but you seem to have such good experience with the Steelheart…

Also I’m wondering if there is a limit as to who can buy the smaller tubes with the Trainer. If i understand correct „the more squezed everything is, the more comfy, because an errections just doesn’t even built up“?

Maybe you’d give some advice to a novice if you have a minute. I’d be really really psyched.

Get the Holy Trainer 2. If you really dig it, upgrade to steel with a PA fixing later on.

The size of the tube is related to the size of your flaccid penis, not your erection. I can’t explain why, but giving your hard-on more room ends up being more painful than not.

Steph wanted to know:

Just looking for advice on what would be the best chastity for allowing one to workout .. these would be the areas i’d be considering —

cycling (spin classes and road bike), running, swimming, pilate/yoga

The choosing from my point of view really would seem to come down to having any behind-the-sac rings or going with tubes that would be kept on by pa piercings. i like the concept also of urethral tubes, but not too sure how that would go with working out.

A few months ago, I wrote this. Touches on a lot of what you’re asking.

That said, I don’t think any device will work for you doing pilates or yoga. Too much stretching, etc., and I’m assuming you aren’t interested in everyone seeing what’s locked between your legs. Steelworxx has several interesting devices (like this one) that don’t go behind scrotum, but I haven’t worn any of them. Perhaps one of those would be better for those kinds of activities.

That’s all I have right now. Regular apologies to those who waited for a reply.

Born this way

After threeish weeks in the Looker 02, Belle decided she wanted the Steelheart back on. Also, unlike last year, when we leave for Spring Break, I’ll be left locked up as much as reasonably possible (excepting TSA checkpoints, scuba diving [easy to spot through a wetsuit], and if she wants the penis) since being free can sometimes lead to unacceptable emotional outbursts.

The Steelheart is, as I’ve said, the most unforgiving of all Belle’s devices. After giving her a nice, lengthy fingering last night (during which, I presumptuously started down to eat her pussy but was snapped back when she said, “Have I said I want that?”) I would have slept fairly well but was woken up four or five times by moderate erections I probably wouldn’t even have felt in the L02 or Jail Bird. The big one at 4:30 was ball-crushingly intense. Sooner or later, I’ll be able to mostly sleep through those, too, but right now there’s no way.

As I laid there waiting for the penis to back off (taking a leak barely took the erection down at all), I thought about how having the penis stuffed down a steel tube less than half its erect length was one of those intensely uncomfortable yet exhilarating and pleasurable dichotomies that seem to make up my entire sexuality. I also reminisced how penis compression is something I’ve kinked over for as long as I can remember.

My earliest sexual recollection was from when I was six or eight laying on my stomach on the living room floor watching Speed Racer. I discovered that rocking back and forth on my pelvis, squishing my little boy penis into the hard, nappy carpet, felt really nice. And, if I did it long enough, the most AMAZING sensation would happen. Fast, zinging jolts from the penis. Orgasm without ejacualtion. That’s what I felt, even back then.

Dry-humping the floor became the sole way I masturbated (I didn’t jack off until I was 16). I did it a lot, even before I could come, feeling that crazy intense dry orgasm each time. I discovered that I liked it even more if I could get into position before the erection developed and rolled the penis up into my body so it was up inside me as it got hard. Rocking back and forth on that flat spot that shouldn’t have been there with my little hard-on all stuffed and stifled within may have been my first truly kinky fetish. If I couldn’t do that, I would ride my full body weight on the erection, balancing on it so no other part of me touched the floor. Hard, tight compression.

The first time I ejaculated, it was with the young stiffy stuffed up inside me. I left a gooey little mess on the floor. Interestingly, I recall thinking at the time that the orgasms without ejacualtion were better than those with since they lasted longer. All that pulling and pumping at a dry well was more enjoyable than gushing success.

Junior's first pervertableAs I got older, I discovered my first of many pervertables: The small half of the plastic egg my mom’s pantyhose came in. I would cup it over the penis and my balls and get off on feeling the erection grow against the hard barrier. I would sometimes stuff it down my underwear and keep it there for as long as I could stand the sharp edge of the egg against my skin. I had to do this when I was alone, though, because it created a big bulge where one had no business being. Even that turned me on, though I recall wishing the eggs were smaller (and looking for suitable alternatives). I was well past the age of still using my mom’s panythose container for naughty purposes when I felt a distinct pang of regret discovering they started packaging them in boring cardboard boxes.

The panyhose egg play tranferrred to hard cup and jockstrap wear when I was a young adult. Having a hard bump under my jeans instead of a soft package was hot (though, in retrospect, probably a lot more noticeable to others than I let myself think at the time). Even though it had ventilation holes in it, I’d still get home at the end of the day with a hot, sweaty penis to jack off furiously.

At some point, I picked up a dog leash made of a light chain. No idea where that came from as I didn’t have a dog, but I discovered I could wrap it all around my balls and the shaft of the penis and cause my erections to bulge purple. I experimented with all kinds of ways to configure it and tried to keep my mind off the task enough to keep the penis from becoming fully hard before the chain was in place, wrapped up and down the shaft. I’d try to jack off like that which was equal parts painful and pleasurable. Often, with one hand pulling the chain hard making the erection throb and strain, I’d twist and pull on my nipples and ride a dildo. Just luxuriating in the intensity of it all.

Note that at no time did I even consider what this meant. I didn’t think of words like “masochist” or “kinky” and always left these desires and practices walled up away from any concept of a relationship with another person. All this was before I shacked up with Belle.

So, that fateful day I was pursuing a sex toy website and stumbled upon male chastity devices, even though I had never seen one before, never thought about them as a thing that might exist, never consciously considered the idea of someone controlling my erections and orgasms even once, it was like a bomb went off in my head. I knew instinctually that I wanted that. I wanted to be in one. Wanted to feel my erection held tight and controlled. I knew what it would feel like before ever wearing one.

I don’t know enough to know if penis constriction is just another aspect of a general bondage kink or if it could stand alone as it’s own sort of kink, but I was born craving it. I was literally made for chastity.

By the numbers

The fourth Denying Thumper reader survey is over. Following are the results. Since I didn’t take my own survey, I’ll place asterisks next to my relevant responses.

Gender

In 2009, 70% of my readers said they were men. In ’10 in was 72% and in ’11 it was 69%. Now, it’s 80%. This number may be the most surprising to me of all because, it seems to me, women are more like 50% of the commenters (maybe more) and seem to be something like two-thirds of those who “like” posts. When I write, I think of myself as talking to a female audience, not a male one. Of course Belle, but in general, when I think of who’s reading my words, I think of a woman. I probably will continue to think that way, but in fact, 4/5 of you are dudes.

Two percent identified as something other than the binary choices usually presented. Maybe next time I should offer more options.

Age

Chastity and denial seems to be a more mature person’s game.

Under 18 0%
18-23 4%
24-35 23%
36-45 26%
46-55* 31%
56-65 12%
66-70 3%
Over 70 1%

This is the first time the 46-55 group came out as the highest represented. We’re definitely skewing towards an older audience over time here at Thumpermedia Worldwide.

Sexuality

Still a pretty straight audience, but moderating from previous surveys.

0 – Exclusively heterosexual 19%
1 – Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual 29%
2 – Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual 20%
3 – Equally heterosexual and homosexual* 13%
4 – Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual 8%
5 – Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual 5%
6 – Exclusively homosexual 7%

It’d be nice if there was a way to study true sexuality based on brain scans or whatever. I suspect this self-reported thing skews towards politics, religious upbringing, social pressure, etc.

Kinkiness

Older, more queer, and now relatively more kinky.

1 – Not kinky 0%
2 1%
3 3%
4 3%
5 8%
6 10%
7 23%
8 28%
9* 14%
10 – Kinkosaurous Rex 10%

Eight was still the most popular response, but more people scored themselves as nines and tens than in the past and we only had a single little one (which rounded down to zero percent). Hello there, poppet. Don’t be afraid!

Power play

I was about call these results “unsurprising” but I don’t know if they’re surprising or not.

Dominant 9%
Submissive* 53%
Switch 25%
Curious 9%
Something else 3%
Not kinky 1%

Not sure why more people identified as “not kinky” here than in the previous question. Also, I put “something else” in there but thought I had it pretty well covered with the choices offered.

Pain play

Interesting to me that in the same way there are more subs than doms and bottoms than tops (not just here but, it seems, everywhere) there are also more masochists than sadists.

A sadist 7%
A masochist 28%
A little of both* 23%
Curious about pain play 20%
Not into pain play 22%

Anal

New question this year! I was honestly shocked at how many people were into anal sex. Or, more precisely, how few said they weren’t into it.

Hell yes!* 56%
Feh, it’s OK 27%
Hell no! 4%
Maybe, I haven’t tried it 13%

What I realize now, though, is that the question is pretty broad. A guy who fantasizes about fucking his woman’s ass could say “Hell yes!” but might never think of taking a strap-on in return. I should have broken this out somehow to suss out bottoms versus tops. Also, I’m really interested to know how many otherwise straight men are getting fucked by their women.

Still, this is probably a sign of the times. Back in my day, anal was far more polarizing.

Chastity

The number of people who say they have been locked up or have locked up someone has gone from 52% positive in ’10 to 57% in ’11 to 75% today. Not sure what to make of that. Is it more popular? Have I become more specialized in my audience? Something else?

Anyway, quite the jump.

Chastity devices used

This was interesting. The CB-6000 comes out on top of most used devices if you combine the standard and short variants at 28%. But, if you break those out, the Mature Metal Jail Bird is the top most used device with 17%. The Queen’s Keep appears to be the second most popular MM device with 3%. The most popular Steelworxx device based on usage is the Steelheart at 6%. Any version of the Looker series comes in second with 5%. I would have thought SW would have scored better overall, but I suppose the German thing and their notoriously finicky customer service work against them. Interesting to see so many still rocking the old CB-2000s and 3000s.

When asked about all devices ever used, the CB-X series scores very high as they’re pretty much everyone’s “training wheels.” With regard to silicone, it seems like a lot of people have tried them, but many fewer use them as their main axe over time.

Use most often Have ever used
CB-2000 4% 7%
CB-3000 5% 12%
CB-5000 0% 1%*
CB-6000 12% 16%*
CB-6000s 16% 14%
The Curve 1% 4%
Holy Trainer 2% 1%
Holy Trainer (short) 2% 1%*
Other plastic device 2% 2%
Any silicone device 2% 6%*
MM Jail Bird 17% 7%*
MM Dungeon 0% 0%
MM Pet Trap 1% 0%
MM Queens Keep 3% 1%
MM Watchful Mistress 1% 0%
SW Looker 01/02/03 5% 2%*
SW Steelheart 6%* 4%*
SW Steelheart 2 1% 1%
SW Crossfire 1% 0%
Other Steelworxx 2% 1%
Any Steelwerks Extreme device 1% 0%
Any Lori’s device 2% 2%
Other steel trapped-ball device 7% 7%
Any full belt 1% 2%
Something else not listed 5% 8%

I would have expected the Holy Trainer to do better because I think it’s such a promising device, but it hasn’t been out that long I guess.

In retrospect, I should have asked how many total devices do you own. That would have been very interesting, I think. Note that I only included responses from those who use or have used a chastity device. Also, there were more than two and a half times more responses in the “have ever used” question than the “most used” question.

Orgasm denial duration

Another new question (and I did get both sides of this one). I only included responses from those who practice orgasm denial. “Denied” is the longest the respondent has gone without orgasm and “denier” is the longest they’ve made someone wait.

Denied Denier
A few days 8% 9%
About a week 5% 25%
About two weeks 15% 14%
About three weeks 8% 2%
About a month 14% 11%
More than a month but less than two 22% 11%
More than two months but less than three 9% 7%
More than three months but less than four 7% 9%
More than four months but less than five 2% 0%
More than five months but less than six 1% 0%
More than six months but less than a year* 5% 9%
More than a year 4% 2%

So two weeks and a month or a little more are the most popular answers from those who are denied but about a week is by far the most popular for those doing the dening. Don’t know what to make of that (or the opposite swing at more than a month). Interesting also that there’s a dip after more than three months but that it comes back at six months and a year.

Again, in retrospect, another thing I should have asked here is how the denial period is determined. Random chance or some other method? Is it always the same? Never the same? Also, is the date or duration disclosed ahead of time? Is that good or bad? A lot more digging could be done here.

Male genital piercings

I’ve always wanted to know how many guys have done this.

Yes, but it’s unrelated to chastity play 3%
Yes, and I/they got it at least partially for chastity play* 9%
No, but I/they have some other kind of male genital piercing 6%
Nope, no piercings down there 82%

Relatively few, it turns out. One respondent pointed out I left off as a choice “not yet but going to.”

Most simultaneous sex partners

Just because I wanted to know…

One 56%
Two* 25%
Three 9%
Four 5%
More than four (!?) 6%

I bet this looks very different based on age and sexuality.

Feedback

I left an open-ended box for people to say whatever they wanted at the end. Much encouragement and good feelings there and I appreciate them all, truly. Here’s some notable comments/questions out of the many that were submitted.

I love your work, it is a very nice read. Recently I have been forwarding a selection of your posts to my beloved key holder, who actually isn’t much of a read. However she enjoys reading you and I notice it is helping her to understand better some of the male psychology behind the chastity experience. And also her own through Belle’s. For instance on her feeling guilty for the denial on which you wrote some excellent blogs. Thank you for that! A Dutch fan (6 months into the journey)

Thanks for putting all the time and effort into writing and maintaining this! It really hit home, and gave me an insight into the practical world of male chastity/orgasm denial. Well, at least your personal experience with it. My fiancee and I are slowly moving towards something resembling what you two have, and I’m happy to say that we’re both loving it! So thank you very much for being an inspiration, answering questions before I knew I had them, and giving me topics to think about and talk with my fiancee about! Keep up the great work!

I show my fiancée the posts describing the accounts of sex. Every one since last December maybe. The way you write is very elegant. We both really love the dynamic you and Belle have, it is what I like most about orgasm denial. I don’t like to consider it chastity play since its not a game for us. The fact that it makes me a much better partner is the real benefit. The “Gay stuff” is a turn on as well. I just haven’t told her that. Keep doing exactly what you are doing on this blog.

Thanks so much for your blog. I learned a hell of a lot through your own accounts and it helped me define and explain to my wife what I wanted. I am from good old Europe but I did an exchange year at the Unversity of Minnesota’s Twin City campus in the 1990s. Therefore, I have a sweetspot for Minnesota and really like your mentions of Minnesota Nice, the cabin etc. Reminds me very much of a great year I had back then. I’ll let you know the next time I am around… 😉 Best wishes to you and your family!

I have followed your blog since I discovered it and have gone back and read from the beginning. Your blog has been a positive influence on our relationship.

What you write seems real instead of the fantasy blogs written by older men living alone in their basements. Accordingly, I consider your blog SFM ( safe for marriage ) and I encourage my wife to read your blog. It makes us feel more “normal” and we have learned a thing or two along the way. Thanks

Thank you for posting some insight on how the submissive male mind works. One of the most useful things I’ve taken from your blog was a post that mentioned something along the lines of “what a male submissive wants most is to know where he stands”. I’m really into the psychological aspect of D/s and denial, and this morsel has not only made things easier, but has opened new doors so to speak. Thanks again 🙂

While embarking on the path of chastity devices for hubby, your site was a great help with a lot of useful information from the perspective of someone actually living this way and it’s been great.

This is my go-to sex/erotica website. As a timidly dominant woman (sadism is hard with a guilt complex!), I get a serious rush out of the descriptions of both the everyday and the sexual power-play between you and Belle. And the love between you two comes through very clearly in all of your writing. I secretly enjoy the “evil dominant, insists-on-capital-pronouns woman” stuff out there, but the blogging here is genuine, sharp, and very well-written! And the relationship stuff is both reassuring and grounds this blog firmly in reality. Sweet, kinky reality. Belle seems lovely, both physically and personally! I wish you all the best.

Thank you Thumper, for sharing so many intimate details. You really helped me accept my husband’s fantasies especially the ones involving men. Seriously, your posts on the subject opened my mind, eyes and heart.

Our chance to say “Thank You!” Integrating chastity into our D/s marriage was a big step and your blog really helps us talk, explore more and not feel so weird.

Just started reading from the beginning a few weeks ago, and I’m somewhere in 2012… Thanks so much for your honest account of chastity and orgasm denial. It has spurred many conversations between my husband and I. We’ve played around with a cb3k on and off for a couple of years, but we’re now deciding which metal device to get for more frequent use. Your insights have been invaluable — especially for a not-naturally-dominant female whose husband has somewhat recently come to identify as submissive.

Your blog gave me the confidence to tell my man I want to lock and own him. We’re investigating it all now!

I love hearing that people share the blog with their partners on either side of the key. I especially like hearing that we come off as “normal” sounding and that’s proven helpful as the the idea of chastity has been shared with an unsuspecting partner. Very cool.

Just wanted to say thank you. I think I’ve been doing the chastity thing longer than you, but you and Belle do it better 😉 Keep up the good work, you kinky fuckers. You guys are an inspiration to those of us who struggle with trying to make the Domme/sub lifestyle work for us. Plus, you are a good writer and you tell your story in a readable, engaging style. I appreciate the fact you try and balance your lifestyle with your lives. Kids, work etc. etc. Thanks for doing what you do.

It’s nice seeing the sort of almost effortless dynamic you two have built. And I am occasionally envious of your toy chest. Heh!

You have been inspirational in our own journey. Glad to find we’re not the only ones who are like this.

Thank you. I’m just getting started and have devoured your information – it’s easily the most “real” and straightforward, most honest and complete. While it scares the crap out of me after reading it all (how in the world am I going to do this??) it’s exciting as hell too.

Been reading you for years now (I’m your one lesbian reader who’s never done any chastity play irl, still here hi!). Thank you for sharing your experiences in such an articulate, vulnerable, and sexy way. I’ve honestly learned more about men, relationships, and people from you than from perhaps any other stranger besides Dan Savage. I don’t always 100% agree with your opinions or understand, where you’re coming from, but your honestly invites me to reflect on my own blind spots in a surprisingly deep way. Plus it totally turns my crank to read about kinky real life sex and relationships. I always want to get inside other people’s heads and worlds and you provide that like no other. Thanks, and keep it up.

Odd to think that we’re an inspiration, but nice to hear!

Belle was popular in the comments…

Belle – you let Thumper out waaaaay too often. He doesn’t need it. Really.

You once wrote that Belle said you have evolved nicely. Obviously so has Belle and we (my wife especially) would love to hear more from her POV / perspective on the evolution of your relationship.

How does Belle feel about sex toys, before, during and after using.

Like to read more from Belle’s perspective. Keep up the good work!

I’d like so read some input from Belle, if possible, especially as she seems to be gaining in confidence through this journey.

Belle, I am impressed by your commitment to your relationship and your willingness to work with Thumper to come to a place that you can both enjoy. I hope that you are as satisfied with the situation as he seems to be.

I’d love to read more from Belle!

Belle, you need to teach more ladies in their 20’s to hold keys!

Thank you for the effort to create and continue the blog. More from Belle’s side about what she’s thinking. What she likes and doesn’t from her perspective. Or the occasional commentary on her motivation, response to your post.

First off, thanks for the wonderful blog. I really enjoy reading about how the chastity dynamic works within your relationship. I also enjoy reading how Belle has grown more confident in her role over time. I would like to ask a question of Belle if I may? Belle, when did you first recognize you were OK denying Thumper (that you did not feel weird/uncomfortable telling him “no”)? Would you feel comfortable telling us about that event?. Thanks 🙂

Belle must be one special woman.

Belle’s fairly comfortable in her behind-the-scenes role and doesn’t want to write, but I’m considering ways to get her perspective on the blog more often.

Extracurricular activities…

Anymore boyfriend talk for belle?

Looking forward to hearing more about the potential male partner(s) for Thumper or Belle.

We talk about Belle’s imaginary boyfriend all the time. And trust me, as soon as there’s something to report on either front, you’ll be hearing about it.

Would you find it arousing to wear your chastity device at a nudist resort?

From what I understand about places like that, they tend to discourage things as innocuous as piercings below the neck let alone chastity devices. While I’d really enjoy going naked (and even in the device), I’m just not sure how many places there are where such things are possible. My dream vacation currently is to go with Belle to somewhere warm and temperate, rent a house, and be naked the whole time. That would be really cool.

What made Thumper begin denying himself?

I never did! I’ve only ever been denied with Belle, never on my own.

How old are you both and how long have you been in to chastity?

Forty-six and since October 12, 2008 (or thereabouts).

This isn’t a criticism because when I am I into it and it is totally hot, but chastity, submission and orgasm [denial] can be a very self absorbed kink. If “FLR” is totally great for women, why don’t many women blog about, and when they do, it is pretty fleeting? I’d like to see more from a woman’s perspective only because I am fascinated about how men and women fit together on this stuff. I feel like it is like getting my wife to play video games. When we are relaxed, she will try it out and have fun with it. But she’ll never be obsessed with it like me.

Complicated question.

When it’s the guy who’s interested in directing their relationship in the direction of FLR, it’s imperative that he let her find her own value in the dynamic. Also, he has to understand that his fantasy version being the guysub in that dynamic will likely be very different than the reality. Using the video game analogy, you need to ask are you interested in playing video games in general with her or Madden specifically? If she doesn’t like Madden for whatever reason, then is it video games she’s rejecting or just that one? She needs to find her genre, so to speak. FPS, puzzle, MMO, multiplayer vs. campaign, racing vs. RPG, etc. If you think about it that way and let her find the game she likes and not view her rejection of specific titles as a failure, you’re doing it right.

Belle had to come to a place where she could fit what became our version of the FLR dynamic into her life and desires. Once we got there, things became really good. I had to let go of my expectations and Thumper-centric vision of how things should be and recognize there was this while other person involved.

WRT to their lack of blogging, I think that’s related to their level of passion on the topic. Blogging about one thing is hard and blogging about it for an extended period even more so if not really into the subject.

The Lancelot is interesting – I have one. Invisible, comfy, easy to clean. You can easily come with it on, but you cannot get erect or big. Order a bit on the shorter side…

I came thisclose to adding the Lancelot to the list. It’s a device in which I’m very interested. Too bad to hear you can come in it, though. That puts a damper on my enthusiasm for it.

Did you ever try wearing the urethral insert in the Steelheart? And if so, could you wear it with the PA ring and the fixing for security? I currently have a Steelheart and I was wondering about whether it’s worth getting the insert, but not if it’s going to be insecure. Also with the insert installed, did the tube stay cleaner? Did it make it harder to get a finger in and clean it out without removing the device?

Nope, never wore the Steelheart with the insert. You would need additional holes at the end of tube to make that work since there’s usually some urine that goes around the insert. It would end up being much less hygienic than either the Looker or the SH. And no, you wouldn’t be able to use a PA ring and the insert at the same time. I can’t imagine that would work.

The use of the word “snatch”. I don’t know why I hate that word so I cringe when I see it used. I know it’s silly, that’s just my two cents.

That’s one of the reasons I like it. It’s a very “nasty” word. Also, I need a few more ways to describe it when writing and I’ve never really liked the word “pussy” very much. It seems silly to me.

Where did the pain and bondage go? I haven’t read about a nut smack or handcuffs in a while.

It just doesn’t happen that often anymore. I’d love to be flogged or caned, to be sure, but I don’t think Belle gets much out of doing it and I haven’t pushed the issue. Regarding cuffs, I have some ideas about that I hope will happen in the near future.

I wonder if there is, as far as you know, a place where we can meet ( on the net that is) people who are into chastity as well? It would be nice to have some ‘online friends’ who are in the same dynamic?

I like this place.

Finally, you may have noticed I didn’t mention the “strangest/hottest/craziest place you’ve ever had sex” question. There were some really great answers in there for that and I’m saving them for another post.

Thanks to everyone who had a chance to participate!

My invisible closet

Yesterday, I posted about the issues I had with assuming men who say they’re interested in women looking at “gay porn” are closeted gays. There’s just not a straight (ahem) line from one to the other. But that’s yesterday’s topic.

In the post, I said…

If I’m closeted, it’s as…whatever it is I am. I don’t tell people about my sexual stimulants. It’s just not something that comes up and I’m not the kind of guy to wear such a thing on my sleeve (multi-year explicit sex blog to the contrary). Plus, as I’ve said before, I hate the term “bisexual” and abhor using it as a descriptor for who I am.

Then I said…

Some of us don’t want anything more than the same basic rights and privileges enjoyed by everyone else. Some of us think there is no better way to advocate for that than to show through the living of our lives that we’re no different.

And then I said in a comment…

[T]he way to get full acceptance isn’t through names and labels and words that divide us. It’s through living a free and open life and demonstrating through actions that all people are fundamentally the same.

Which is kinda the same thing I said before, but whatever.

In thinking on this, it occurs to me that there’s a fairly gaping and obvious flaw in my approach. I’m not “out” as someone with non-straight proclivities. Therefore, how can I show anything at all about other people similar to me through the living of my life? It’s kind of a Catch-22. I won’t accept the label “bisexual” (though I have used it about myself here in the past as it is convenient shorthand) and I’m already married so how, exactly, can I “come out?” Out as what? Which, of course, is why people invent labels. Yeah, I know.

I don’t care if people know I’m flexible but I’m also not going to drop it on them without context because that’s just weird. I guess the same goes for the kink and submission attributes. I’m not ashamed, but I’m also not interested in being flamboyant about it. If you think about, there are remarkably few opportunities to tell someone about the guy-on-guy action you’ve indulged in where that information would be relevant to the conversation.

I don’t really have an answer for this. I’m just identifying the issue.