Get up in there

So since my last post, she’s let me come twice more. If you’re me, that seems like a ridiculous number. None of them were especially great since they all happened with her on top. That might be part of a plan. Who knows. 

The last time, she was up there and I was bound and determined to get her off before I lost it, but that didn’t happen. That orgasm might have been passable except she wouldn’t stop fucking me and the head of the penis felt like it was being electrocuted. Eventually, it got too soft to stay in her and slipped out. She just kept rubbing against what was left of the erection before rolling off of me. She grabbed Pink and went to work on her soaked and gooey pussy before deciding she really wanted my tongue in there. 

Ugh. 

I did as I was told but tried to keep my ministrations higher up near her clit where there was less of my ejacualte. Not enough for her, though, because she pushed Pink back in there and told me to move lower. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to do it. I was barely touching her when she shoved her pussy into my face and told me to, “Get up in there.” 

Gah.

Anyway, she’s been very attentive to my mood since all these orgasms. I’ve been just fine, to be honest. I’m trying hard to keep myself in the frame of mind that she’s in control and I will have or have not whatever she chooses. Sometimes I might come, sometimes I may not. I haven’t for at least a week now. Maybe two. Huh. I can’t recall. Weird. 

No then yes

Saturday, we were going at it.

Me: I want to come…
Belle: No.

/More fucking.

Me: Please.
Belle: NO.

Sunday, shortly after waking up.

Belle: It was wrong of you to ask yesterday.
Me: I know.
Belle: But I may make you. How do you feel about that?
Me: It’s up to you.
Belle: Say that again.
Me: It’s entirely up to you, Belle Fille.
Belle: Don’t ever forget that.

She continued on telling me that this was for her. Not me. She wanted to feel it, not give it to me. A little while later, after I had warmed her up in the usual ways, she was on top of me and I had her tits in my face. I was twenty miles from coming, then five miles, then 100 yards, then three inches all in about four seconds. While I was coming, she kissed me all over my face.

The last time I came, it was spectacular. This time, pathetic. No, seriously. Like, half an orgasm (volume-wise, as well – just a little spurt). I was ready, mentally, but apparently not physically. It’s not how I would have chosen to come (with her on top) but, as I said, it’s entirely up to her.

She hadn’t come yet so she rolled off of me and finished herself off with Pink while I listened and played with her nipples. Last night, she checked in with me to see how I was doing. In truth, I’ve been in a bit of a funk for a little over a week. Not too horny, not really jamming on the denial thing. She had let me out and I had been that way for five days or so, but that’s not what caused it. I didn’t really care if I was out or in (but, perhaps due to the pathetic orgasm, I have resisted being locked up since). We had relatives in town so maybe that had something to do with it. In any event, I don’t really feel like I came but also don’t feel all that Thumperish, either.

Belle commented that fucking me really wasn’t as great as she was expecting, either. She thinks she’s become more accustomed to my getting her off with my fingers. Maybe she’s been “trained” to prefer what our dynamic allows, too. That she would rather have my hand than the penis does, I admit, cause some stirring in certain places.

Piece of ass

Then I found myself completely alone for hours. Kid one is at prom(!), kid two is at a movie with a friend, Belle’s in China. And here I am, by myself without even man’s best friend to keep me company. No, not the dog. He’s here. I was talking about the penis.

So I thought it might be time for some good old-fashioned ass-pounding prostate milking. Alas, no real men have raised their hands for the job so I’m left to my own devices. The devices in question being the growing assortment of dildos and plugs at my disposal. (Not Belle’s, of course. Those are for her.)

I’ll spare you the details and say only that it was a good night. I was able to go to town on a dildo I’ve had for many years and had acquired as the result of my eyes being bigger than my anus. The beast is 10″ long and has a circumference of 7 1/4″. And I rode that fucker long and hard. All because I had time and was patient, used plenty of lube, and worked my way up with smaller dongs first. Note, some of those ten inches were wasted as there’s just not that much room inside me, but I bet I got more than seven inches of it.

The milking was successful. I produced prodigious quantity of clear, sticky precum which dripped and hung off the Jail Bird in long ropes that swung around with the rhythm of the action that was forcing them out. I also made a smaller quantity of milky ejaculate (without the ejaculation, of course).

The main reason I mention this is because near the end of the evening’s activities when I was astride that giant dong in a position not unlike a reverse cowgirl and the satisfaction of the sensation was humming through my entire body and my prostate was zinging with electricity, I had this feeling that everything would be so much better if I could stroke myself as I was fucked. And, way in the back of my brain from a dark little corner, I heard a tiny voice.

You can back out of the Jail Bird.

And I was like, You know, I could.

And this is what happens to a guy. When you juice him up real good and either tease him to pudding or fuck him until he’s a quivering jellyfish, he is no longer thinking with his brain. Like you need me to tell you that. I defy any guy who hasn’t come in three months to basically have sex with himself for ninety minutes and not almost lose his shit like I did.

Almost.

After I had had my fill of King Dong, my calmer head prevailed. I knew what I had to do — bring out the big gun. I retrieved the Steelheart. But even that caused conflict because part of me said I should make sure I get nice and clean in my post-workout shower by taking the Jail Bird off and not putting the Steelheart on until I was done. Because, you know, nothing untoward has ever happened in a soapy hot shower. And I really should be as cleans as possible. Belle would want that, right?

I ended up putting the Steelheart on before the shower. After, I went looking for a solution to the free key issue. I needed to get that thing out of my reach. The key safe will only fit one key at a time so I resorted to using a little envelope and taping it closed with the date from today’s paper firmly affixed. Then I stuck it under Belle’s statue.

I’m not saying I would have pulled out at some point or used the key to take the device off and leave it that way long enough to get in trouble. In fact, I was good and didn’t do what I’m expressly forbidden from doing and was able to control myself. But placing the key out of reach gives me piece of mind to go along with the piece of ass I had earlier. And I need that right now.

Marked man

“You should probably just stop counting,” Belle said to me this morning after I mentioned that today made eleven weeks since she last let me come — approximately one-third of the total time I was denied before. Then, later, “I mean, you’ll just be counting forever.”

You see, Belle has decided I won’t have any more orgasms.

After talking about it, she’s unhappy with how I am after I come (even though it happens, on average, about once every 9 months) and is much happier with how I act and feel when I don’t and doesn’t like waiting around for my hormones to rebalance afterward (which, with the extension of duration between events, seems to take a lot longer than in the past). So that’s that. Calling a spade a spade. She’s happier and we’re better when I don’t come.

This concept has been bandied about before, but she’s pretty invested in it now. Belle said she thought something this momentous required a ceremony of some kind. It’s not unlike marriage vows, if you think about. Submitting to your parter’s control over your sexual release and willingly giving that up forever in exchange for her happiness and the salubrious benefits it has on our foundational relationship. Just saying, “No more for you,” without some kind of mutual acknowledgment of the significance of it would make backtracking too easy. Someday, maybe a long time from today, I’ll beg in a certain way and she’ll be in a certain mood and she’ll let me (like last time). Or I’ll be alone with the penis and allow it to think for me and I’ll fuck up. How can we take it a step further and solemnify the decision in a way that will make it more persistent?

DenyOver dinner last night, she decided what she wants to do. She wants me get a tattoo. And she wants to be there to see me get it. That will be our ceremony. The tattoo she’s chosen is the Japanese Kanji for “deny.” She wants it about an inch from the base of the penis, just above and to the right. It’ll always be there as a reminder to both of us that my denial is forever. If I ask or beg or plead to come, all she’ll have to do is touch me on the Kanji. Every time I’m naked, her decision will be there to see. Right next to the steel ring (usually) locked on me. I will never be in a position when I’ll be able to allow myself to forget my commitment to her control. Every time anyone sees the penis, they’ll see her decision right next to it. She wants me marked. So I will be.

And I’m telling you, she’s really excited about this. She was near giddy as the plan was falling into place during our dinner date last night. She was laughing and grinning and I was feeling nervous butterflies tumble around inside me as I sipped my wine silently. I’m both excited and a little scared. Probably how most guys feel when they get engaged. This is a Big Deal. Not the kind of thing that just happens.

Every time I think about it, I get hard. Not just hard at the idea, but from how invested in it she is. Whenever I see her do or say anything that shows me she’s really into this dynamic, it makes me happy. This, in particular, makes me very happy. This isn’t about humoring me. This is what she wants, too. No doubt about it.

It occurred to me this morning, while laying next to her in bed after she let me get her off and with the sticky penis she let me fuck her with between us, that I shouldn’t be thinking about this permanent denial thing as something that’s in the future. The tattoo and commitment “ceremony” are in the future, but the denial is already happening. As she said, I will be counting forever. The last time she let me come really was the last time.

And there go the butterflies again. This is what I’ve wanted. This is what I’ve asked for. But now it’s real. The tattoo will physically mark the day the phase of my life where I could hope for orgasm ended, but that’s a formality. In reality, that day is already in the past. That part of my life is over.

The other way

Schnoff screwed up.

You should read his post, but the short story is, while attending to his prostate, he lost control of his impulses and accidentally came. “Accidentally” except for the part where he was jacking off with a Pure Wand up his ass.

I don’t point all this out to make fun of him or make an example of him or anything. Mostly to commiserate with him.

I am coming around to the idea that failure is a necessary part of success. I had been obedient since we started in August, and I am upset that I can’t say that any more. At the same time, coming without permission led to growth: I was cheating and kidding myself about it, and that had to come to a head eventually. I was forced to look at what I was doing with less self-deception. That’s a good thing.

I have been in that place.

Recently, I was unlocked due to the fact that I felt like total shit and the device was making me feel worse by its simple existence affixed to my body. I was sick (which is also a big reason why I haven’t posted in a long time — that and the vacation we were on). Belle let me out (I wasn’t entirely sure she would) and I was free for about four days or so. Maybe a few more. In that time, I didn’t play with myself. “Play with myself” is now defined internally as stroking the erect penis and/or stimulating that sweet spot under the penis’ head. I still touch it and fiddle with it absentmindedly and give it a squeeze if it’s hard and I’m liking that, but I will not “play with it.” Which means I’ll not be able to find myself in that spot Schnoff did. Not again.

Funny thing is, by the time Belle decided it was time for me to go back in I was telling myself I didn’t need to go back in. Bear doesn’t use a device on Schnoff like Belle does on me and that’s always seemed a little weird from my perspective but I was digging not having to deal with the steel and all the extra crap that comes with being locked up (and I wasn’t feeling 100% healthy anyway — not really until just a few days ago). It’s not that I was swearing off chastity devices, but that’s how it works sometimes. More time out leads to wanting more time out and more time in leads to being happier in. It made me think of Schnoff and Bear’s arrangement. Which is why reading his post was…ironic.

But Belle wanted me back in. It wasn’t a request.

I asked her this past weekend after she let me get her off while locked up the whole time why she keeps me this way day in, day out. Why has this dynamic moved from something that was at first a thing I was advocating to something she has so fully embraced. I bet there are a good number of guys who fantasize about being in my state who’d like to know that, too. I’m not sure I got to the bottom of it, but she has a few reasons for wanting me locked up. First, she doesn’t trust me with the penis. And, if I’m honest, I’ve not given her any reason to. Sure, I was good and have been for quite some time on those off days I’m not locked, but I’ve given her plenty of reasons to think I can’t control myself. Situations that sound a lot like Schnoff’s. Second, she just likes knowing my state. See reason number one. If I’m locked up and controlled, I can’t make any mistakes and that makes Belle’s life somewhat simpler not having to worry or even think about me being true. Of course I am because I have no choice. Third, I think she just likes the control. After that, I’d say there are a number of ancillary drivers. Like I think she’s more accustomed to the penis when it’s a shiny tube than a meaty one. Like how she associates my denial and my submission to her with a romantic act. Like how she thinks my attitude and behavior around the house are better when the penis can’t dwell on my mind.

I didn’t write this to suggest device denial is better than willpower or that Schnoff is doing it wrong or anything like that. This is really more about me stretching my fingers and knocking the cobwebs out of the blogging corner of my brain. But it was also a chance to do a little exploring between the cracks of the various ways this denial thing can be done.

Flicker of zen

I had one of those epiphanous moments last night while struggling with my inability to sleep and my insatiable hunger for all things pornographic and sexual and my grumpiness at Belle’s apparent disinterest in having sex with me even after all the very helpful hints I’ve been dropping lately. But let me back up a bit because I have a laborious metaphor I want to walk you through.

Picard LOL'dRemember that Star Trek: The Next Generation episode called “Timescape?” The one where Picard, Geordi, Troi, and Data find the Enterprise frozen in space locked in some kind of energy transfer thing with a Romulan bird of prey? Long story short (and, you know, SPOILERS for the eleven-year-old TV show), it turns out there were some little space critters living in the singularity at the core of the Romulan ship and that, somehow, had fractured time around themselves and the Enterprise resulting in a frozen-in-time warp core breach (which, even if you’re not into ST:TNG, you can probably tell is a Bad Thing) that a slightly loopy Picard drew a happy face on and —ANYWAY — everything turns out OK in the end except for the Romulans who lose their ship in spectacular (for 1993 4:3 non-HiDef TV special effects) fashion. 

But really, the bit I want to draw your attention to is the fractured time part. In their shuttle, Picard and Co. encounter little pockets where time is either sped up or slowed down. The phenomenon gets worse the closer they get to the Enterprise. Big chunks of normal space interspersed with big chunks of non-normal space, all created by this one event in the heart of the bird of prey.

Wow, long way to go for this, but, I feel like I’ve been moving through the same kind fractured space kind of deal since Belle let me come six weeks ago. Sometimes, I’m not feeling any of the denial hum that I love so much and other times I’ll find myself in a little pocket of it only to feel it slip away again. In all cases, I’ve been shorter than usual with Belle and less inclined to want to service her. I’ve even had a hard time keeping up with The Portfolio. You know it’s bad when even the porn isn’t appealing. But in the past few days, things felt like they were ratcheting up somehow. And that brings me back to last night.

I wanted and needed to have sex with Belle. I craved that connection. Nothing rambunctious or requiring of trapeze equipment. Just a nice fingering or, best case scenario, she’d let me eat her out. But like every other night this week, she shut me down and went to sleep rather quickly. And I was left feeling very horny, very locked-up, and grumpy. Toward her and my sexual situation in general. I spent time on Tumblr, cruised around the web seeking out erotica, finished reading a fucking fantastic article on bisexuality in the New York Times, and lurked on cuckolding forum. All the while, I was frothing myself up and letting my self-pity build on the crest of the frustration bubble.

But, sometime around 1:30 or so, I found a little flicker of that true denied sub zen magic. It was simple and in the form of three thoughts that all bled together: She controls your sex, that’s the place you asked to be in, this is what you want. And like that, the grumpiness evaporated. I reached out to her sleeping body and touched her warmth and felt a zing of comforting energy travel across my fingers and down my arm and into my soul. Eventually, I was fully embracing her, hanging my arm over her back and wrapping my legs into hers and pressing the hard, tight knot in my crotch into her ass. I was still fucking horny and I was still frothing with the energy pent up in the aftermath of that six-week-old orgasm, but instead of being irritated by it all, I was soothed. In a way. I felt like I was in my place. Eventually, I fell asleep like that.

Today, I still have it. When I kissed her goodbye this morning I lingered on her lips, smelling her and tasting her, and felt all kinds of light-headed wooziness at being so close to her and wishing I could drag her back to the bedroom and suck on her clit. And it left me feeling better for the experience, not worse. I actually felt something, which hasn’t always been the case for the past month and a half.

Somehow, last night, the fractures of my denial zen started to pull themselves back together. Finally.

Mailbag

Reader Ayshorn asks…

I’ve been reading this today and it chimes like no other. I’m in the same situation as you, but a few years ago. Eight years married, two young kids, spark thoroughly gone. I’ve also got the same background, subby, kinky and have an almost universal craving for sexual contact, be that from a guy or a girl. I also had some times with guys when I was younger (and since)

I’ve never cheated on my wife with another woman, but there have been a lot of guys from piss nights in London to getting wax dripped down my cock in paris I’ve taken the opportunities to walk on the dark side wherever I could.

We’ve moved to a smaller city and I know that if I keep this behaviour up it’s going to come and bite me on the ass (and not in a fun way).

The thing is, I do love and desire my wife and feel that if I could get an outlet this way I wouldn’t be sucking cock in the bushes.

I’m subby/switchy and although wife is a bit of a boss domestically I suspect she wants to be submissive in bed. I’ve found her secret cache of erotic literature about it, so the spark is still there.

And I want to fix this.

Here’s my question. I don’t think she would go in for the chastity thing, as she’s pretty vanilla. But could self imposition (with the key ‘unavailable’ or difficult to get to) during the times when I’m away or at work?

Would get me back on the task of sorting out my sex life, rather than (Exactly as you put it) cumming down the bathroom sink and cruising squirt at lunchtimes.

Any tips from someone a few years further down the path than me?

First thing, communication. You need to talk to her about what you want and get her to disclose what she wants. The chastity/denial thing, by itself, doesn’t solve problems. It’s when it’s combined with old fashioned talking and opening up that you can really gain traction with it.

If I were to be at point zero today and knew I had this kink but also suspected Belle wouldn’t be into it or even that into trying it out, I’d probably start by leaving a device out of it. I’d tell her that I was only going to allow myself to orgasm when I was with her. No more jacking off in the sink. No more sneaking off. In my experience, that kind of sacrifice can be very significant to a woman. Romantic, even.

Assuming that went OK, I’d suggest that she let me not come after sex once just to see what it was like. You know, ease into it. Give her a taste of what orgasm control (rather than denial) had to offer and hope she’d eventually come around to taking the reigns. But she may never. Especially if she’s basically a sub at heart.

In which case, I don’t know what else to offer. You’re a switch, so perhaps you could take the opposite path as us. Maybe she’ll open up to you about that and you can explore her sexuality in a way that still lets you express this part of yours. If she’s like a lot of people, she may be ashamed of her kinks. You need to help her see that everyone has something hiding in their closet and there’s nothing at all wrong with that. Haul out a few of yours to help her get started on hers.

I’d love to know how things work out.

Another reader asked…

Hi Thumper, found your blog a few months ago and thoroughly enjoying exploring it.  I’m considering my first actual device and came across the Chamber on a couple websites, but can’t find more than one or two reviews of it.  Wondering if you’ve heard of it, have an opinion, etc.

Wow, that’s a new one on me. At first glance, it looks like it wouldn’t feel too secure. The cage looks big. Also, there are a lot of little nooks and crannies that might pinch or make hygiene a challenge. Also also, peeing while vertical seems like it would be nigh on impossible.

I dunno, though. Price is pretty good. Anyone else use The Chamber before?

Reader three asks…

May I please ask you about your Steelworxx PA fixing device?

I think the design looks GREAT and I think it would work for me as my jewellery never comes out…

But…

May I please ask you what it feels like when you get hard?

It looks pretty tight and I’m wondering if you feel it rubbing against you?

Or if there is any ‘pinching’ between yo and the inside of your Steelheart as you swell…?

Would it be OK to please ask you for a thorough description of how the PA fixing works for you and the feelings you get when hard…?

With many thanks and the absolute kindest regards

It can pinch if the ring is too big. My piercing allows a 4ga ring but I wear an 8ga ring when locked in order to leave less metal in the tube. Besides being a lot more prone to pinching, the heavier 4ga ring makes noise in the tube whereas the 8ga rarely does. I can remove the 8ga ring with by fingers, but not when it’s attached to the fixing (and, on the off chance I could figure out how to get it off, there’s no way in hell I’d ever get it on again). The secret is leaving a bit of room in the tube for the extra hardware to have a place to go. This includes making the tube just a bit bigger around to accomodate the fixing itself.

How it works is easy to describe, but I’m sure you have read enough to know all that already. How it feels is trickier. And it’s changed over time. At first, being totally locked into a stainless steel trap with no way to escape short of physically cutting into or sawing the steel posts or ripping my own flesh was hot as fuck. I can even still get hard just thinking about being totally and 100% securely locked away. No chance whatsoever for escape. But I’ve also found that level of certainty isn’t as necessary as it once was. I’m totally invested in Belle’s control over the penis and my orgasm and even when wearing the Looker 02 (like now) or the Jail Bird (or the Trainer, for that matter) — all devices I can easily slip out of — I don’t even think about doing so. Security is a state of mind. All I need is a well-fitted device. One that doesn’t practically slip off all by itself (like the original Steelheart did). If I can feel like the device is holding on I can do the rest in my head.

Reader four asks…

I’m very interested in wearing a chastity device but I’ve been looking around and found it quite hard to find devices for us a bit more girthy fellows. I’m about 4,3cm in diameter or 1,7-1,8″. All the CB devices seem a bit too small for me and those are the ones that I find most appealing as well… I looked at the Bon 4 L but the “cage opening” is only 1,38″ so almost half an inch too small for me.

Ordering a custom made Queen’s Keep or Jail Bird isn’t exactly an option since I’m studying at the moment and don’t have the funds for anything really above the 100$ mark. Got any recommendations?

I feel for you. The sweet spot of all mass-produced chastity devices are definitely a one-size-fits-most kind of thing.

Your measurements are when hard, I assume. At that girth, I wouldn’t recommend any of the devices with split tubes (made from two separate parts). I bet you’d break a CB-X device in the first week. Also, I can’t even imagine what that would feel like. Maybe too much of a good thing. Silicone is an interesting option for you because it’s stretchy. You could use the stocking method to squeeze in and I expect the sensation of constriction wouldn’t be too terrible because the material would give. But, if it’s always constricting, you could end up getting edema. Not the end of the world, but not fun. I used to get that from the CB6K all the time.

You could try the Curve, but it’s a lot to carry around in your pants (and is “only” 1.5″ in diameter and might still split). Another cheaper option that would give you a taste of what chastity feels like would be a locking cage or even one of those “gates of hell” devices. Not long-term options, but cheap.

If I were you, I’d save my centavos and get a Steelheart. It’s about $200 at today’s exchange rate (protip: create an account on Steelworxx.de to see the non-VAT prices). I was going to also suggest the Jail Bird, but it’s a lot more expensive right now ($320!). You will be much happier with a well-fitted custom device than you will be if you end up blowing a hundred bucks a couple of times on stuff that doesn’t end up working for you.

Secret sauce

Step one...

The other day, I went to my trainer session just as Belle was finishing hers. Our schedule is such that I’m always after her now. I helped scrape her off the floor and was being affectionate and stuff (I sometimes really like how the sweaty, post-workout Belle smells and tastes) and our trainer made some comment about “the secret” to our marriage. I have to tell you, I was seconds away from offhandedly telling him it probably had something to do with me only having one orgasm a year. But I didn’t.

This is a guy who’s juggling a couple of hotties at the same time and milking Tinder for all it’s worth (pun intended). He’s young(ish) and single and fucking all the time so I’m pretty sure the concept of withholding orgasm would make his head combust. And, I guess, rightly so. We backed into orgasm denial and chastity years after we got married, but it seems to me that its a strategy best applied to those in relationships. How would you even do it with random hook-ups? “Oh, that’s OK. I’m good…” Uh, probably not. 

I’m not even sure anymore that limiting and controlling male orgasm outside of chastity should even be considered a kink. I mean, for some people it is (when it’s part of a D/s dynamic or whatever) and clearly this kind of conversation is massively complicated by the tangled up yarn ball that is human sexuality, but even those people in vanilla monogamous (or -ish) male-female relationships would, I think, see benefits from keeping him from orgasming as often as he’d like. I’ve finally stopped reading that Cupid’s Poison Arrow book because I couldn’t take it anymore, but there is a kernel of truth buried in their pile of repetitive anecdote. Hacking brain chemistry by limiting (or even eliminating) orgasm in at least one partner can greatly benefit a marriage (or married-like arrangement). Especially for those people sneaking up on middle-age where refractory periods get longer and longer.

Over on the Twitter, Kitten asked…

https://twitter.com/kitten_68/status/439163450485645313

I said I thought my orgasm was a fair trade for how it benefits our marriage. Even if it meant I’d never have it again. If I could take a pill or pay a genie or something to take away my ability to come (but not my desire to) in exchange for feeling like I do when I’m riding high on the denial magic carpet, I’d do it. In a minute (assuming Belle was OK with it). Kitten suggested that would leave me feeling “bereft” but I think quite the opposite. I’m thrilled we’ve found this and can use it to enhance our relationship.

And I know, a lot of people would read that and think I’m crazy. Orgasm is wired deeply into our brains. We get lots of happy brain treats when we do it. But, as the authors of that dumb Cupid book point out, there’s also a downside to those same treats. On that point, I think they’re entirely right. Post-orgasmic brain chemistry does, over time, seem to work against long-term monogamous relationships. I can’t prove that to any of you. I don’t have a peer-reviewed study to point to (though I’d happily participate in one). All you can do it take my word for it, I guess.

In response to my last post, Mykey suggested my funk wasn’t a result of my last orgasm…

Seems unlikely it’s the orgasm from that long ago to me. I wonder if it’s just a cycle, hormones or emotions. Maybe you are coming down with a cold.

I agree, it does seem unlikely, but I’ve discovered that the actual impact from one orgasm does last for multiple weeks. Most men wouldn’t know because, like I used to, they’re probably having two to half a dozen or so orgasms a week (more if you’re a young man — I can recall jacking off twice a day in my mid- to late-teens). If you’re never outside an orgasm’s overhang, you can’t know the extent of it. If I were in a situation where my orgasms weren’t being controlled, I’d probably have pulled one out specifically to feel the hit of happy brain treats way before getting to the point where I was even a week out from last coming.

On that front, I’m starting to feel that old tyme denial religion. Belle wouldn’t let me out for sex this weekend even though we fooled around twice. Saturday morning was a nice and simple fingering while Sunday was a lovely and lively full-on pussy eating. After coming up for air, I was drenched. I rubbed it all down my chest and just let her pheromones linger on me even as I went to the gym for a run. It was quite the run, though I can’t say for certain the two things were related.

In any event, I desperately wanted to fuck her after I ate her out. To slip into that hot wetness. But it wasn’t happening. Later in the day, I asked if I could be let out due to a small spot of testicular irritation that had been lingering for several days. Sometimes it happens in places where the skin on the scrotum is constantly pulled somewhat tight (especially during erection attempts) and they can never heal. She was very suspicious of my motivations, but I swear I’d never lie to be let out. Twelve hours later, I was right as rain again. That’s all it took.

She let me out Sunday afternoon and I went back in this morning. I could have gone back in last night but she gave me one more day of recovery. I went to the gym unlocked and she was gone when I got back so the the notion of not going back in until tonight was crowding around in my imagination (especially while working on the Portfolio this morning), but I was good and obeyed her wishes and locked myself into the Looker 02. And, even when Tumbling, I didn’t play with anything. Not even in the shower. I was that good. 

Which, I think, means things are getting back to normal. I’ll be leaving Friday morning for SXSW. We haven’t discussed whether or not she’ll want me locked up while gone. Last year, she let me use my own judgement and I eventually went back in on my own because the distraction of having a free penis I couldn’t play with was just too great. I assume this year I won’t have the choice, but we’ll see.

Any of you going to be in Austin this weekend? Let me know. Maybe we could meet up.

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!

That little Cupid prick, Part 2

Might as well blog the book as I go along…

I’m now at Chapter 4 which, I’m told, is the start of the “relevant scientific research” part of the book. Also, the entire rest of the book is apparently all about “relevant scientific research.” This makes me happy.

I’ve discovered the best way not to be annoyed by the spiritual wawa stuff is just ignore it. Between every chapter has been a subchapter dedicated entirely to “Wisdom of the ages” where she explores various religious aspects of sex without orgasm. I just skip them entirely. Since one the basic purposes of religion, IMO,  is to explain things that are otherwise unexplainable, these sections aren’t that interesting to me. Again, I’m not saying there is no value in reading what ancient people thought about this stuff, but I don’t care to read it any more than I’d care to read what the Catholic church was teaching in the 14th Century about astronomy.

The other thing I’d really ding her on is her overuse of anecdote. The book is filled with these little stories about people whose lives were all kittywampus but, following their abstinence from orgasm, suddenly found nirvana. She oversells the positive impact of denial. I know it can be a force for good in a relationship, but it’s not magic and it won’t do your dishes for you. For example, this is from her husband and co-author from, I believe, his journal:

I’ve seen big changes in other aspects of my life, too. My finances are sorting themselves out, and my professional life is expanding in directions I’d always wanted it to—but was unable to take it before. The opportunities continue to flow to me effortlessly and work out great. I have a lot more confidence in myself. I’m calm and focused. And I’m now comfortable with being in a partnership instead of seeing myself as a separate entity who happens to be involved with someone at the same time. I’m much more optimistic about relationships.

The part about being in a partnership as opposed to seeing yourself as a separate entity and the development of general optimism about your relationship? Yes. Fucking hell, yes. Of course, no matter what we do, I will always be a separate entity, but my relationship with Belle feels more like a partnership now than ever and I’m happier being in the relationship with her than I ever have been (excepting, perhaps, at its very beginning — which fits into the book’s premise perfectly).

But. Finances sorting themselves out? Professional life expanding? Confidence? All because you’re not coming anymore? As a guy who doesn’t come anymore, I’m not sure how those things are connected. Also, calm and focus is not something I get from denial. There’s a zen to it, but I wouldn’t go so far to say it makes me calm and focused.

That being said, I do get their enthusiasm for denial (I’m not calling it Karezza because we don’t do that). I have often felt genuinely so enthusiastic myself that I’ve wondered, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?” It’s the best fucking thing. And, truth be told, I do think a whole lot of relationships would be benefited by denial. However, I don’t think I’d ever be so presumptuous as to tell people if they only stopped coming they’d win the PowerBall and their teeth will get whiter. Because, as the author points out, we are wired to crave orgasm. Saying we should ignore those cravings for a pot of gold on the other side of the denial rainbow is a hard sell. It just feels wrong. Also, I’m firmly of the opinion that the changes to brain chemistry brought on by extended orgasm denial create feelings of enthusiasm for the practice not unlike those the religious faithful feel when espousing their beliefs.

An example of that (and the over-reliance of anecdote) can be found in this extended passage. Forget for a second we’re talking about sexual practices and instead are talking about Scientology while you read it.

A friend brought an appealing young man to a party at my home. Lars was a gifted graphic designer, sensitive, sincere, courteous, and somewhat shy. He was accompanied by a polite, and much older, woman. I didn’t realize they were lovers.

A few weeks later the friend who had brought them both to my house showed up again. He was shattered; Lars was dead.

Apparently Lars had only been with the woman a few months. And during that time he’d experienced periods of utterly uncharacteristic, violent behavior. For example, he got into fights in bars and had even been threatened with arrest. My friend, who had known Lars’s whole family for years, also talked with his lover after Lars’s death. She told him Lars had become sexually aggressive. The night of his death the woman had refused to participate. She went into another room to lie down. He came in later, sat on top of her, and demanded that she make love. She said no. He pulled a gun from behind his back and shot himself in the head.

Now, it’s possible that there was no link whatsoever between his emotional-behavioral deterioration and his sex life. It was clear to me, though, that some sort of severe imbalance certainly corresponded with the period of their intimacy. Deeply affected by this tragedy, I made a solemn promise never to use my seductiveness to put a lover at risk. I was also committed to discussing the careful management of sexual energy with anyone who showed the least curiosity.

Get that? Orgasm might leads to violent, suicidal behavior. The implications are clear. Save a life: Stop coming. Also, apparently, don’t be sexy. Have you heard the Good News?

While I fear I may be coming off as overly harsh, I still do have high hopes the promise of sciency stuff will redeem the book for me. I’m still not even a quarter of the way through.