5 Ways I Flirt As a Submissive

1. Unprompted service. Three weeks ago, we went out to lunch and you ordered a Mill Street lager. Tonight, I show up for our scheduled fuckdate at your house, carrying a six-pack of Mill Street lagers. If you were a vanilla boy, maybe you’d seem surprised, or embarrassed that you didn’t get me anything in return. But you’re a dom perv who gets off on my diligent service, so you just take the beers from me, put them in the fridge, and say, “That was very good of you.” I quiver in my boots.


Halfway through explaining to a customer how a particular vibrator works, you accidentally drop its instruction manual on the sex shop’s tile floor. Without speaking, interrupting your pitch, or even giving it any thought, I kneel down and scoop up the booklet from under the toy counter where it fell. “Oh, you don’t have to –” you start, but then I hand it to you from a kneeling position before you, we lock eyes, you set your jaw, and you murmur with a small smile, “Thanks.”


2. Complimenting your dominant qualities. “Time to sweep and mop,” you bark, when there’s an hour left til closing time. Then your tone softens: “Sorry, that was bossy. Time to sweep and mop, please.

En route to the supply closet to grab the broom, I retort over my shoulder, “It’s okay; I like it when you’re bossy.” I hear the pause as you process this, and then you reply, “I’m not sure how to take that…” I grin. And then I get to sweepin’.


Your cat is being an asshole: scratching at the door, yowling incessantly, fucking shit up. You say his name sharply, in the tone of a dad who’s just walked in on his kid drinking chocolate milk straight from the carton.

“I’m really weirdly into it when you get dom-y with the cat,” I enthuse swoonily. Your eyes slide over to me and narrow in mild confusion. “Yeah?” you say, and I nod, wishing you’d speak to me sometime with the sternness you reserve for misbehaving calicos.


3. Alluding to past experiences. At her request, you hit our friend with a leather riding crop so she can see what it feels like. “Wow! I’m surprised that didn’t leave a bruise,” she says, minutes later, as she examines the spot in a mirror. “Crops don’t usually bruise that much,” you and I both start to say, in different words but echoing the same sentiment. Our eyes meet. I feel a hot pop of recognition – the electric familiarity that clicks into gear when kinksters spot fellow kinksters. Oh, hello.


My friend finishes our lengthy spanking session, and I push myself up off the sex club’s gorgeous leather spanking bench, freshly and darkly bruised. “How was that?” you ask. “A good warm-up?” It’s a joke, but it’s also a challenge, a barometer, a test.

“I’ve had worse,” I reply with a saucy shrug. And then I take the paddle my friend was hitting me with and place it in your hands. I don’t know what you’ll do with it, if anything, but I’m curious to find out.


4. Honorifics. We hug goodbye outside the diner after a cozy breakfast. “Be good,” you tell me as we part ways. I shout back, “Yes, sir!” and watch the bemused smile bloom on your face.


We’re at a party, and I make a dumb joke that doesn’t land quite right. Someone calls me an awkward turtle, and I shake my head and inform them, “I’m not a turtle. I am an awkward bunny.

You look at me with cool appraisal and say, “A bunny, huh? Yeah, I can see that.”

How did you know that “bunny” is one of my kink honorifics, despite the totally vanilla nature of the conversation in which it appeared? I have no idea. You have sub-dar, apparently. And it’s working. I attempt to swallow the sudden dry lump in my throat, and reiterate: “Yeah. I’m a bunny.”


5. “Is that an order?” We tread water in the heated pool under the stars. “Is the deep end really deep?” I ask conversationally, and you say, “Nah. You could definitely swim to the end and back, no problem.”

I bite my lip. “Are you telling me to do that?”

“No,” you say immediately, “you don’t have to,” and I exhale the breath I didn’t realize I was holding. I do it anyway, like it’s a dare from the dom you unfortunately aren’t.


Plotting a threesome via text, I mention that multiple orgasms aren’t exactly in my wheelhouse. “What if you took a break from masturbating for a few days beforehand?” you posit. “Maybe we could get 3 out of ya ;)”

I pause, stare at my phone screen, try to breathe. And then I type a phrase so loaded for me, I’m almost scared to make it real by committing it to text. “Is that an order? ;)”

There is a minute of silence during which I become convinced I have scared you away forever by wanting too much from you, climbing too high on the kink ladder while you’re still meandering through the vanilla wilds below. But then your reply comes back: “That is an order. Are you gonna be a good girl and wait a few days for my cock?”

I scream at my phone, throw it across the room, and cover my face with my hands. I am going to be such a good girl for you, sir.

How Meta-Communication Can Make You a Great Flirt (Even If You’re Shy)

For years, I said, “I’m a bad flirt!” when what I really meant was, “I’m too shy to flirt!”

Then I got better at it, but I still said, “I’m a bad flirt!” when what I really meant was, “My flirting style is dorky and non-traditional, but still charming!”

Nowadays, though, I’ve learned more about flirting and the various ways it can be done – and I finally recognize that my approach to flirting is both valid and effective. My eyes widened when I first encountered the term “meta-communication” – i.e. communicating about communicating – with regards to flirting, because that is totally what I do. It has worked for me, whether I was engaging in monogamous or polyamorous dating, and I think it can work for you too!

Here are some of my favorite tips for flirting via meta-communication…

Acknowledge your flirting as such. This is effective for the same reason that it works well to use the word “date” when you ask someone on a date: it makes your intentions crystal-clear, sets your flirtee’s anxieties and uncertainties at ease, and – when done well – makes you come across as a smooth, bold, fearless flirt.

Examples:
“Is this a good time to flirt with you?”
“I’m really enjoying flirting with you; maybe we could do this more later?”
“Sorry, I get really flirty when I’m [tipsy/happy/super into someone].”
“Can I try out a ridiculous pick-up line on you?”
[cartoonishly over-the-top eyelash-batting, smouldering glances, etc.]

Acknowledge how you’re feeling. Flirting is so often portrayed as a performance, where you have to be an actor or a puppeteer – but it can be even more delicious to let your flirtee see what’s behind the curtain. You come across as more human and real when you cop to your emotional processes – and this also helps build rapport and trust, because your flirtee knows if you own up to your feelings, you’re likely to also tell the truth about other things later on.

Examples:
“I get really nervous around you ’cause you’re so cute!”
“If I wasn’t so shy, I’d make a dirty joke about what you just said, but…”
“I really wanna flirt with you, but I’m not sure I’m getting that vibe from you, so I’ll back off.”
“If I wasn’t so [tired/anxious/busy], I’d be flirting so hard with you right now… Maybe next time?”
“Sorry if I seem unfocused; I just can’t stop thinking about how good-lookin’ you are!”

Propose a hypothetical. This is a low-pressure way to gauge your flirtee’s reaction to things you want to do or say, or just to you in general. You’re giving the other person space to turn you down if they want to – but also giving them space to respond positively if that’s how they’re feeling.

Examples:
“What would you say if I told you you look super handsome in that suit?”
“What would you do if I said I wanted to kiss you right now?”
“I wouldn’t be mad if you gave me your phone number… In fact, I might even be thrilled!”
“If someone wanted to flirt with you but was really shy, what would be the best way for them to do that?”

Give them an opportunity to take things further. Consent is just as important in flirting as it is in sex, and you want to give your flirtee the same freedom to express or revoke consent that you’d give them if the two of you were bangin’. Much like the first-kiss technique advocated in the movie Hitch (“Go 90% of the way, then let her come to you“), this type of flirting clearly expresses your interest in the other person but leaves them room to decide how far they want to take things.

Examples:
“There are a lot of saucy things I want to say to you right now, but I’m not sure if it’s appropriate…”
“If I have another drink, I’ll probably get reeeal flirty with you… Think I should?”
“Let me know if you’d ever want to go out on a date sometime; I’d love that!”
“I bet you’re an excellent kisser. Maybe I’ll find out someday; who knows?”
“I have to go [talk to another friend/do something else], but come find me later if you want to be shamelessly flirted with some more!”

Here’s what’s important to keep in mind with all of these suggestions: flirting is very dependent on context, environment, and preexisting rapport. A lot of these lines won’t work if you just bust ’em out unprompted. But if you already have a good connection with someone, they seem potentially into you, and you want to express your interest in them without overwhelming them, some good meta-communicative flirting can be just the ticket!

Extra resources for flirting keeners:
• Reid Mihalko and Cathy Vartuli on being a better flirt, how to flirt when you’re shy, “the innuendo game,” and building rapport.
• Reid Mihalko talking about flirting on a swingers’ podcast.
• The School of Life on why, when, and how to flirt.
• Bex on being a flirting fetishist.
• Social anthropologist and “flirtologist” Jean Smith on the science of flirting.

Heads up: this post was sponsored, and as always, all writing and opinions are my own.

Why – and How – to Show Someone You Like Them

A good percentage of my posts emerge from revelations I have while journaling. I’ll blather on about a problem for pages at a time, and suddenly, the answer becomes crystal clear and spills out of my pen, almost of its own volition.

I had one of those recently, and it was the dumbest, most obvious thing: when you like someone, it is okay to act like you like them. Fuck what John Lennon says: you don’t have to hide that shit away.

See, when I was in high school, I got rejected by someone I really, really liked. This is a totally common, normal experience – especially for men, who are socialized to be romantic and sexual initiators – but something about this particular rebuff really messed up my flirt-o-meter. I see now that after that letdown, I deeply internalized the idea that if you show romantic or sexual interest for someone, and they don’t return those feelings, they will be grossed out by your advances. They will lose their esteem for you and want to avoid you as much as possible. In short, you will have fucked up whatever scrap of a relationship you had with them previously.

Of course, there are cases where this is true… like if you’re being genuinely inappropriate, or if the person in question has been burned by a creepy suitor before. But for the most part, everyone likes to feel liked and wanted and so you’re not going to horrify anyone by acting slightly-more-than-friendly in their direction. (With the caveat, obviously, that you put an immediate stop to that shit if they tell you to.)

Pre-epic-rejection, I was a lot better at this. I frequently told people they were cute, purely because I thought so and thought it’d make them happy to know that. I didn’t get anxiety about whether or not it was “too much” to favorite people’s Instagram selfies and clever tweets. I didn’t phrase my texts in the most benign, noncommittal way possible.

The other day, I got waaaay overanalytical while composing a message to someone I like, and it hit me: why am I trying to act like I don’t like this person? If anything, I want him to know I like him – not only because that will help move things forward more quickly but also because I know it will make him smile. Who doesn’t want to feel desirable and desired?

It will probably take some more practice before I fully get this idea through my head, and get back to being flirt-happy the way I was in high school. For my benefit as much as yours, here are some low-risk, high-reward ways to fawn over your crush without weirding them out…

 

Give them a really good compliment.

Like, the kind that is slightly above and beyond what you’d say to a friend or a random acquaintance you happen to admire. Compliment something that is integral to who they are, like their sense of humor, confidence, or charm. Or keep it classic and compliment a (non-sexual) part of their body, like their sparkling eyes, shiny hair or strong arms.

This kind of compliment pushes the boundaries of casual friendliness ever-so-gently. If they scrunch up their eyebrows and say, “…Thaaaanks?” then you’ll know to maybe dial it back a bit – but if they light up, blush, or giggle, that’s your green light, baby.

 

Make an effort.

When I want to figure out how someone feels about me, I pay attention to what they do, not what they say. People can spout all kinds of platitudes and excuses, but if they like you, they will make a consistent effort to reach out to you, make plans with you, and make you smile.

…Or at least, that’s how most non-shy folks operate. If you’re like me, your anxiety sometimes tricks you into thinking that the most innocuous of “What’s up?” texts or “Let’s get together!” DMs could be construed as overbearing. Unless you’re pestering the person with message after message, don’t fret – there’s no way they’re as annoyed as your anxiety-brain tells you they are. Drop ’em a line, ask them to hang out, keep in touch. Nothing can happen if you don’t keep those channels open.

 

Remember things they tell you.

“Hey, how did that late-night shift go? Was it as horrible as you thought it was gonna be?”

“I saw a trailer for a movie I thought you might like, because I know you’re a big Anchorman fan…”

“Did you end up buying that skirt you were thinking about getting?”

These are such mundane examples but I’m honestly getting a little swoony just contemplating them. It is so flattering when someone cares enough about you to remember the dull details you mention in passing. This tells them three things: 1) you are a good listener, 2) you find them interesting, and 3) you were thinking about them in the interim between your last meeting and your current one. You might as well be wearing an “I Like You!” sign on your chest… but this strategy is much more subtle than that. Win!

 

Touch them.

Okay, you gotta be able to read your audience on this one. Have some common social sense. I am not telling you to get touchy-feely with people who aren’t into it, or to cling onto someone the whole time you’re with them. But let’s be real… Those “flirting tips” you read in magazines for teen girls (no? just me?) are spot-on when they say that light, casual, occasional touch can act as a strong I-like-you signal without seeming strong.

Those magazines often say stuff like, “Lightly push his shoulder playfully when he makes a joke,” or “Reach out and touch his arm when you’re making a point.” I always used to read those tips and wonder how I could possibly make that kind of overture seem natural and non-weird. But now I’ve spent time around some terrific flirts and have discovered that this kind of touch can be played off in a natural way, and it also works a treat.

Touching someone gets their attention, gives them a little boost of happy neurotransmitters, and makes it that much easier to transition to other kinds of touching later (hugging, kissing, and on and on…) – so you should give it a shot, even if it feels awkward at first. (But, again, I need to stress: read the other person’s cues. Don’t get all up in the grill of someone who is clearly not into it. When in doubt, ask.)

 

Is this incredibly basic-level flirting advice? Probably. But I’m still a flirtation novice, even at age 23. I’m out of practice because I let myself learn a fear of being flirty. That’s gotta stop. People should know when I think they’re cute – if just because it might make their day a little happier.

What are your favorite ways to show someone you like them? Have you ever struggled with feeling it’s “not okay” to flirt?

 

5 Ways to Bring More Romantic Energy Into Your Life

Is it February already? Seriously?

Okay, I promise I won’t complain too much. Single people whining about Valentine’s Day = so boring and played-out. I refuse to fall into that trope!

However, yeah, if you’re single – and even if you’re not – Valentine time can be hard. But I’m here to help! Here are some ways to bring more romantic energy into your life in a jiff, even if you feel “forever alone” or unloveable. (Trust me, babe, you’re not.)

1. Change your phone background to a picture of someone who makes your heart flutter. Yes, we’re starting with a super easy one.

I don’t recommend doing this with a picture of a person you see regularly (e.g. your psychology professor, your best friend who you’re secretly in love with, or your older brother’s cute bandmate), simply because there is a small chance of them seeing it and thinking you’re a weirdo.

But if there’s a celebrity, fictional character, etc. who makes you feel a little blushy, giggly and swoony, load up your phone with their face. You’ll get a hit of juicy joy every time you spot your lock screen.

2. Tell someone cute that they’re cute. This one is harder, but I promise it’s worth it!

I think our high-tech world has made us shyer, more insulated from one another. I’m not gonna rant at you about the desensitizing effect of technology because, honestly, I’ve made some of my best and deepest social connections via the internet – but I do think a tech-centered lifestyle has the potential of making you meeker than you’d otherwise be. Fight that comfy impulse!

“You’re cute” is a really great starter compliment for shy folks (like me) because, although it’s bold, it’s not overly committal. It’s not “I have a crush on you” or “I want to date you” or anything that will make you too vulnerable for comfort; it’s just “You’re cute.” Which can be construed as romantic, or not. Go tell those words to a cutie; you’ll feel brave and powerful, and they’ll feel adorable and desirable. Win-win!

3. Consume media that features people you’re attracted to. You probably already do this. I know I do.

Type your actor crush’s name into YouTube or Netflix’s search box and binge-watch as needed. Read another book by that clever genius who lights up your heart and mind. Flick through the Instagram or Tumblr of that internet pseudo-celebrity whose tweets you find so hilarious.

Continually and deliberately fill your life with reasons to feel smitten. ‘Cause that shit feels good.

4. Switch up your soundtrack.

Music + the human brain = true magic. Or the potential for it, anyway. That’s what I think.

Go on Spotify, 8Tracks, Last.FM, or another music-discovery tool of your choice, and do a search for playlists that fit the juicy/sexy/crushy mood you’re trying to generate. Whether you end up listening to cute love songs or intense sexy songs, you’ll feel more in line with yummy romantic energy than you did before you started.

5. Visualize romance, whatever the hell that means to you.

I think visualization is a criminally underrated capability of the human mind. You can literally picture – and, in a way, experience – anything you want. Some spiritual worldviews say that visualizing a particular event can help attract that kind of event into your life – but even if you don’t buy that, it still feels damn good!

My mind wanders a lot so I often find it easier to write down a particular fantasy/daydream and then read it over. The act of committing it to paper helps focus my vision and get me deeper into the feeling I’m trying to create. But if freeform imaginin’ works for you, you can do that too. And wonderfully, you can do it pretty much any time you feel like it. Including while you’re commuting. Or sitting in a boring class. Or lying in bed trying to fall asleep.

If you’re not sure where to start, give these prompts a ponder… If (your crush/love) was with you right now, what would you want them to say to you? How would they look at you? What would that feel like? What’s the absolute best compliment they could give you? If they sent you a love letter, what would you want it to say? If they gave you the perfect kiss, what would that be like? How would they initiate sex with you (or you with them)? What kinds of sounds would they make? Where would they put their hands on your body, and what would that feel like? What kind of cuddler would they be? After sex, what would they whisper or moan or mumble into your ear?

Oh, good gracious. I am already feeling a heck of a lot better about the single life. Excuse me; I’ll be in my bunk.

What do you do to make your life feel sexier and more romantic on a regular basis?