BDSM inspired productivity and self improvement tips, tricks and tools?
April 11, 2019 2:22 PM   Subscribe

What methods do you use for self improvement that have or could have some element of BDSM play?

I've been engaging in a course of self improvement lately (healthier eating, drinking more water, going to bed earlier, walking, productivity, reduced phone use, engaging in hobbies more, going outside more, etc.), and it occurred to me that my preferred methods of changing my habits had a fair amount in common with forms of BDSM play, mainly self bondage and predicament bondage. Seeing as I engage in mild BDSM, and those are my favorite categories, I thought exploring this might make self improvement fun.

Some examples:
- I'm trying to use my iPhone less, so I set up strict parental controls and restrictions, and had my partner enter the code. I also use some accessibility settings to make my phone less attractive/more annoying to use.
- My computer is on strict lockdown using the Cold Turkey software to limit my browsing time.
- I'm working on a point system to help me track my various self improvement efforts so that, for instance, I get points for eating fruits and vegetables and lose points for excess phone time. At some level of points reached, I get a reward.

What I'm NOT looking for:
- things like Stickk and Beeminder where I have to pay money to awful people if I don't do something. I'm fine with spending (some) money in other ways around this, but not this particular way.
- suggestions to do things more gently, less forced, more dependent on will power.

I've thought of the me who sets up the systems as my dom(me) side and the me who encounters the restrictions as my sub side. What other ways can I explore this to help me improve? Are there apps or programs like Cold Turkey/Rescue Time where I can be locked out of changing the settings so that things will happen whether I want them to or not? Is there a way to somehow set up a situation where I have to walk a mile to get my house key or car key? How can I automate restrictions so they are beyond my control? Also happy to take "You may not X until you Y" and "If you don't X, Y will happen" type of suggestions especially if they can be automated. Creativity and humor are appreciated.

Note: Though my partner is happy to do low-effort help like keeping the code for the parental controls on my phone, our relationship and dynamic is not one where they can just dom(me) me into doing the right thing. I'm honestly more vanilla chocolate chip than chocolate.

Finally, are there communities already for people who do this? Is there a search term I've missed? I can't be the first person to think of this, but trying to essentially Google "parental restrictions except for adults" gets me very little in the way of helpful info.

TL;DR: How can the BDSM ideas of locking yourself into something happening with no easy out, or being forced to decide between two options, be translated into self-improvement ideas using apps, software, and/or a reward/punishment system? Looking for how, not looking for don't.
posted by barefootpuppet to Technology (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
You might read Real Service to see if any of it resonates or sparks any ideas. Admittedly, it's written for multi-person kink relationships and not for solo kink, but I think it might make a useful jumping-off point even still.

The target audience is people wanting to incorporate real-world day-to-day practical service into a D/S relationship. It talks a lot about things like "doing boringly unsexy everyday chores in a D/S context" and "building better habits in a D/S context," and it has a lot of very pragmatic advice on how to make those things work.

And I just bet that some of the ideas there will translate well into solo practice. I don't have specific ones in mind — but it's a book that's full of ideas I've found useful, and I have a hunch that if you read it you'll find something you can apply in your own situation.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:33 PM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, oh, have you heard about Pavlok?? I can't do shock play for BS medical reasons but there's sooo much potential there. Also, eagerly reading this thread and bless you for posting!
posted by mmmbacon at 5:22 PM on April 11, 2019 [1 favorite]


So unless I am mistaken, any tech solution is going to rely on self-reporting, even the Pavlok (which is awesome). How strong is your willpower? Can you honestly self-report? That is going to be key here.

That said, I have some thoughts that jump to mind.

1. If your partner is not willing to do the BDSM bits, you can get a FetLife account (that's the community that does this sort of thing) and find someone you can self-report to, who will mete out punishments. If this feels too uncomfortable don't try this. Especially don't try this without telling your partner.

2. Have you thought about orgasm denial? I'm not sure if that counts as predicament bondage, but perhaps it might be close enough to work. If that makes your partner uncomfortable, obviously that's a no-go.

3. Timed locks. Perfect for self bondage. You can put yourself into cuffs (or whatever) and set a timer that won't unlock until the time you set. You can write up a punishment table of how long you have to stay in the cuffs / bondage depending on the offense. Perhaps having your hands or feet locked together or to something for half an hour (or more) might encourage you to follow your healthy habits.
posted by ananci at 6:15 PM on April 11, 2019


Umm, for someone who enjoys the restrictive elements of BDSM, wouldn't it make more sense to use them as a reward for good behavior? As in, if you do good things, then you e.g. lock yourself up for time x. Do more good things, you permit yourself to be locked up for time x+y instead.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 6:01 AM on April 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


So, I don't have any direct suggestions that come from me, but I just read a book where this happens in a great deal of detail and to excellent effect, so much so that I was actually inspired to make some changes in my own life just by reading it secondhand.

It is technically a fanfiction but only because the names and personalities of the characters are lifted from fandom -- the setting, situation, and almost everything about it is original fiction. (The author could easily change the names and sell it as their own book.) The work is very professional, by someone who I believe is a published author in their own right please don't let the "fanfiction" aspect of it get in the way.

Four Letter Word for Intercourse, by Bendingsignpost
posted by gloriouslyincandescent at 6:17 PM on April 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


ananci: So unless I am mistaken, any tech solution is going to rely on self-reporting

Not entirely. My phone has strong "parental" restrictions for which my partner has the code, so if I want to change anything, I need to ask them for the code. We've also been experimenting with an app called "Our Home" where you can assign tasks and points. It's designed for families but works quite well for couples too. The points can be turned in for a choice of rewards that the users define. My partner has proven quite receptive to that. :) Having to earn points by taking care of household chores and errands just may be related to your second point...

nice guy mike: Umm, for someone who enjoys the restrictive elements of BDSM, wouldn't it make more sense to use them as a reward for good behavior?

I absolutely understand where you're coming from, and using something I like as a reward for good behavior makes sense. There are instances where that will happen (see above). But it's also the concept that's at play too - the idea of being forced to use my phone less, or get off the computer at a certain time, or walk a mile, because I have no choice in the matter. The removal of choice is key in the success, I think. In retrospect, I might have worded my question differently had I realized that.
posted by barefootpuppet at 8:36 PM on April 12, 2019


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