READ / A Short Encyclopaedia of Predicament
By: Lilith Haze
I say "predicament," you say what? Probably bondage, right? Yet if you look at the definition of 'predicament' ("a difficult, unpleasant, or embarrassing situation"), it's evident that there's far more variety when it comes to predicament play than the popular porn findings of a google search. What bottom hasn't found themselves (consensually) at the mercy of a difficult, unpleasant, or embarrassing situation and found themselves strangely satisfied by it?
Whether you're struggling against yourself or the odds, the core foundation of predicament is challenge-masochism. 'Challenge-masochism' refers to bottoms who like to be pushed past a certain comfortable point in order to overcome the discomfort. Predicament is inescapable. You are either in the frying pan or the fire, and you must endure to succeed. But it is an active endurance: the bottom is equally as involved in their fate as the Top. It's the world's sexiest choose-your-own-ending, where every miserable narrative ends in her warm smile of approval and the knowledge that you survived that. Not to mention just how oh so fun it is to watch a bottom's brain work out what to do in an impossible situation.
Below I've outlined several popular fetishes that, at their core, demonstrate elements of a predicament:
Would you rather feel the ache of your balls being pulled a little too tight, or the burn of the flame being a little too close? How often will you have to oscillate from one to the other to keep it from becoming too much, struggling against the constant discomfort? I know how much fun it'll be to watch you attempt to orient yourself, but you'll never escape the trap you're in. Predicament bondage is probably the most common form of what we think of as predicament play and I doubt needs much explanation.
Would you rather do the terrible things I say, or have your terrible secrets exposed? While unconsensually illegal and unethical, blackmail fantasies are common and certainly enforce the sense of predicament.
If you're a creative sadist and you like to watch your bottom's face contort in horror, what better way to light their nerves on fire by letting them choose what horrible thing will happen! The best part is when you force them to choose their fate only to completely disregard their input and choose the other thing anyway! Then you have a whole meta level of predicament: should I say what I would rather happen, or what I would rather not happen - because what is the likelihood she's going to choose my opposite answer? Would I rather drink the god awful smelling milkshake, or receive 40 hard strokes (in the same damn spot, knowing her)?
Tease & Denial
What greater predicament is there than the contradiction of not getting off turning you on? For the denial fetishist, their entire kink is a paradox: only by being perpetually dissatisfied can they be fulfilled. There's nothing nearly as amusing as telling your bottom they can't cum, only to have that turn them on so terribly that they tease themselves endlessly…Especially when they know full well that they're only making their predicament worse.
We may not think of humiliation as a predicament, but at its core, the fetish requires a challenge to self-esteem that the submissive must accept. Do I retain my dignity, or do I allow her to embarrass me? The essence of humiliation is to endure unpleasant and embarrassing situation, and sacrificing one's integrity to do so. While many may fantasize extensively about humiliation, every Top has relished that flicker of hesitation on their bottom's face when their bottom realizes what they're about to be forced to do...
Funishment is defined by a Dominant setting circumstances that their submissive inevitably fails and must be "punished" for. For a submissive, this is often quite the predicament: they don't want to fail or disobey, they don't want to be punished, and they don't know how the hell to navigate the mindfuck their Dominant is orchestrating. There's no way out of a carefully crafted funishment except acceptance that one way or another, you're going to suffer for Her.