The meaning of mean

I’ve been writing on sexuality and relationships for, umm, a long time, so it’s funny for me to run into a concept that I haven’t thought about. That  is why is was great to have some feedback on my last post, in which I was thinking about what I mean by “mean” with regard to kinky treatment from Mrs. Edge.

While I had some good conversations here and with other people around the internet, the best insight — that is, the comment that best helped to clarify things in my own mind —  came from Ferns who wrote:

Mostly when men say that to me, they mean, “Forget about what I want, do whatever *you* want, ESPECIALLY if it involves you being selfish, and overtly and clearly not caring what I want.”

And that’s about as concise as you can get. My response, after I thought it out was this:

Good insight, Ms Ferns, and I think that you’ve helped to clarify what’s going on in my head. I really don’t want to be humiliated. I don’t want to be called ugly, stupid, or be belittled. I don’t kink on it, it’s not exciting, and in the past I have not processed it well afterward.

But I do enjoy when Mrs. Edge grabs me for a quick, errmm, oral stress relief :koff: and sends me on my way, or we have an impromptu make-out session in the kitchen, and then she pushes me right back to making dinner. That’s not overtly “mean” in the sense that it’s not cruel or humiliating, but it is “selfish” on her part. IOW, I derive some pleasure from it, but the action is clearly not about my pleasure at all.

There’s an extension of this when she intentionally makes me aroused by physically teasing me, and then says “Okay, that’s all,” and goes off onto other things. It’s not necessarily arousing to her, but she enjoys the power to make me squirm a little, especially knowing that later I’ll probably be exceptionally attentive.

I think that this reflects the mindset of a lot of people who are more vanilla than kinked. There is a connotation to the word “mean” that carries an element of cruelty or arbitrariness, and to me, that’s a form of humiliation.  Saying “I’m not going to let you come tonight because you haven’t been affectionate enough this week,” is one thing. Saying “I’m not letting you come tonight because I’m in a pissy mood because I spilled my coffee at work today,” is totally random and impersonal. I guess that’s okay if the two of you understand that this is part of your play, but again, the element of arbitrary and randomness just does not work for me.

And yes, I love to daydream about cruel, heartless, whip-wielding, icy-cool, leather-clad  Dommes, but I’m aware that they are just fantasy, and that in real life they wouldn’t be very much fun. In real life, I want a partner who is connected and intimate. So, perhaps we need another word besides “mean” to express this kind of desire. Any suggestions?


And to illustrate a little bit of meanness that’s not overly mean:

This is the meaning of mean.

About Tom Allen

The Grey Geezer Dauntless defender of, um, something that needed dauntless defending. Dammit, I can't read this script without my glasses. Hey, you kids, get off my damn lawn!
This entry was posted in D/s, D/s & BDSM, Fetish & Kink, intimacy, kink, Sexuality & Relationships and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The meaning of mean

  1. Celtic Queen's sub says:

    From my perspective the best word would be motivating..

  2. Ah, I feel like I’ve come (NPI) to understand better from your last post.

    Saying “I’m not going to let you come tonight because you haven’t been affectionate enough this week,” is one thing. Saying “I’m not letting you come tonight because I’m in a pissy mood because I spilled my coffee at work today,” is totally random and impersonal.

    With Jalan’s and my chastity/denial play, it’s more likely to be, “I”m not going to let you come tonight because I like how you respond as you get increasingly horny.” It’s not tit-for-tat, but she gets off on manipulating my levels of frustration, which is more effective on me when it has a degree of arbitrary “meanness.” It might be random, but it’s not even a little impersonal.

  3. Ricforkim says:

    So, perhaps we need another word besides “mean” to express this kind of desire. Any suggestions?
    What about meaningful?

  4. Aarkey says:

    Ahhh, there are just so many little levels of it. I think both your examples for the “reason for denial” would be tricky for me. I would prefer nagadikandang’s type of Domme, or even if my keyholder were to say “I’m not going to let you out…” because “I don’t want to” or “just to demonstrate my control” or “because it makes me hot.”

    For me, there is a certain level where the demonstration of the dominance that exists in a power exchange is extremely hot and exciting. If it comes across as mean, so be it. When a woman chooses to demonstrate her power, that’s exciting.

    Along similar lines about all the little levels of what means what, I’ve mulled a great deal lately about where the lines are for me between teasing, tormenting, humiliating, degrading, etc. I definitely like being teased, sometimes I like being tormented. I’ve always said I don’t want to be humiliated or degraded – though when I told one of the stories that I thought was a really hot example of being teased to a friend in the lifestyle, they responded – “Now that’s public humiliation at its best!”

    Forget 50 shades of grey, there’s a million.

  5. Ferns says:

    Glad I could help clarify, Tom!

    I actually think ‘selfish’ is a reasonable word for it. To me ‘mean’ is more about ‘doing something not-nice to someone else’ whereas selfish is ‘doing something for ME’ even if the actual ‘thing that you are doing’ is the same. My experience is that it’s much more powerful if it’s about me doing something ‘because I want to’ or ‘because I can’. That’s just hot!!

    Ferns

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