Chapter 7 – Let the Lizards Play

Turning people into sex objects is one of the specialties of our species.”

Camille Paglia

three conceptual layers of the brain:

  • The Cortex – which is where our thinking and judgement capability resides
  • A Mammalian center – where memory and emotions are stored for retrieval by the cortex
  • The Reptilian brain – where our core sensory inputs and motor skills connect to the brain from all over the body

One can think of our brains as having three conceptual layers, inherited biological architectures that evolved over time. Our deepest, most basic neurological core is the reptilian brain which process signals brought from nerves throughout the body by our cerebellum and thalamus.

Upon the “reptilian brain” rests the mammalian brain which engages more sophisticated abilities to work with memory, emotion, and motivation.

The final layer, the cortex, is where our thinking, judgement, and decision making abilities reside. The cortex essentially ‘governs’ all of our abilities and thus it is the cortex that makes us human. Understanding these layers, their independent functions, and interaction with each other will allow you to tap, train, and manipulate behavior and experiences in your subject.

“The reptilian brain” is our most raw neurological infrastructure and where impulse driven behavior comes from. It causes action without thought, like when a viper viciously attacks its prey. It deals with perceived threats instantaneously, and needs governance by the rest of the brain to keep us human. However, in dangerous or perceived dangerous situations, it awakens and sends our limbs and mind into near-involuntary action.

The cortex, calling upon memory and learned behavior stored in our mammalian brain, keeps our reptilian brain’s desires at bay. Rage and the molten lava of reactionary behaviors are tamed by the cortex’s governance.

I propose to you, that the reptilian brain is a magic pool of energy that Dominants can dip their fingers into when practicing molecular domination. For example, if you stripped away the cortex’s ability to govern, Dominants can awaken the lizard within to create experiences unattainable otherwise. Once you understand that you are trying to engage a hidden dragon within, there are so many methods already in your bag that can do the trick. Enforced prolonged arousal inhibits thought, various methods like restrictive bondage, and other calculated sensory manipulation, all provide access to the reptile within.

In fact, the entire basis of classical and behavioral conditioning rests on the fact that we all have a mindless, innate, and compulsive physiological reaction to sensing stimuli we perceive as rewarding. It is how Pavlov’s dog was trained to salivate when he heard a bell even before food was presented. The canine’s body/brain was taught to associate the sound of a bell with the anticipation of food. An experience Pavlov created where food always succeeds the sound of a bell.

Sexual stimulus, a most potent exciter, awakens eyes and mind pointing one’s attention like a torpedo directly at the bullseye of an anticipated erotic delight. The second it senses through eyes, sound, touch, or even smell the possibility of a sexual reward…dopamine rises and we are motivated to go get it.

The immediate, mindless reaction to something we desire or perceive we need to fight or run from is our reptilian brain at work. We see, we want, we fear, we…react!

As humans, superior to reptiles who see and act without contemplation, we have the unique capacity to catch that spark before our reptilian brain can react – and use our conscious, cognitive abilities to think, be respectful, employ empathy, stoke desire, and not “devour” what our nervous system sees as a threat or “prey”. 

But what if you couldn’t intercede? What if you were unable to employ your cognitive skills to stop your body and emotions from reacting? Your experience would be one of cognitive dissonance, your experience would be one of frustration, perhaps desperation of not being able to get what your body and mind are screaming: ‘WANT’. ‘WANT’ boils into ‘NEED’…the tension becomes palpable. Isn’t this what BDSM is all about? One person giving up control and another being the orchestrator of tensions they enjoy witnessing in another?

As we have learned, arousal thwarts thinking. Mechanically, it is a fact. One can fight against it, but arousal will eventually win if it is persistent. Besides pure physical restraint eliminating the body’s ability to fight back or run, prolonged arousal lowers the veil of the reptilian brain…it exposes it so that it is a vulnerable little plaything for an enterprising Dominant.

So, as you can see, there are many ways to tear down the wall and ignite and play with the lizard, but it all starts with a ‘spark.’ The initial lure, the shiny penny that catches the eye and stirs an inner pot invoking involuntary attention in response.

The novelty of a 1st spark is super powerful – a deep reptilian synaptic experience that spikes dopamine to levels virtually unachievable in other natural ways. The art however, is keeping a spark alive with another one to take its place, evolving lure into fascination, infatuation, obsession, or whatever you desire. It is fuel of will!

For the Top, as they tear down their own demons, and amp up their own dopamine from the pleasure of control and inflicting and observing the impact of their torments…they too free their reptilian selves to reap unique rewards.

So, the roles we play, the objects we become when we step onto the odium of arousal, are triggers, like keys that can unlock the reptilian, reactionary, archetypal energies. Emotions plump with shame and vulnerability, normally suppressed, rise to the surface free of repression. Pure and exposed like cheese on her mouse trap. She, a neon sign promising the potential of sexual delight triggering involuntary attention to the promise of potential euphoria. 

Whether the spark is a patent leather shoe, the whisper of cruelty, or other emotional paraphernalia – that spark is to be coveted, managed astutely, and used to paint experiences with its immense power to swirl the energies.

Every slave comes with an inventory of stimuli proven to get their involuntary attention. Fetlife users readily display the things that delight them on their profiles, as do many other BDSM sites. Dominants can also use one of the many BDSM questionnaires on the web to gain access to know and perhaps hidden interests.

These lists are not a prescription of course, but should be used like a menu, Dominants need only order what pleases them.

No doubt, this reality reeks of serving the male gaze. In feminism, a movement i feel very much a part of, the male gaze is considered the root of much evil. And of course, it is. However, i propose to you that the male gaze is a mechanical attribute of male physiology. It exists at the beginning of any relationship, whether or not power dynamics are involved. i propose further, that even the most perfect Female Led, monogamous, long term relationship, the male gaze, or spark as i have defined it here, is very much in play.

The goal of course is to transform that involuntary impulse, perhaps even sharpen it, so that it is used by the Dominant, aligned and associated with the Her desires. It is not an enemy, but a tool. Being aware of its mechanics is empowering and a gateway to the raw material of emotion.

If you recall, there are two types of dopamine at play in the brain: 1. Tonic, and 2. Phasic. Phasic dopamine levels are the ‘spark’ ignited. Dopamine spikes involuntarily when sensing a reward or the potential of a reward. If the gaze is happening, there is by definition a spike in phasic dopamine. Tonic dopamine levels reflect general motivation. They are what drive us to achieve goals, and they govern the kind of behavior feminism is looking for, pursuit of a mature, emotional, fulfillment of a desire to please Her. For example, and not as a general rule, Women in a Female led relationship do not want their subjects wanton desire for them to be the only motivation for submission. Submissives focused on experiencing phasic dopamine spikes are essentially engaging with their Dominants for the sole purpose of their own experience. The Dominant being served by a slave like this is thus in receipt of a different kind of energy than a slave in a true deep love for their Dominant and delivering their pleasure. Phasic experiences can reignite the original sparks that first amplified attraction but in a FLR they are most powerful in concert with tonic motivation. The trick is to create the right balance of phasic and tonic dopamine levels depending on the type of engagement you are in.

Let’s do a little graphic thought experiment to show how you may wish to manipulate tonic and phasic dopamine levels by playing with the spark under different relationship types:

A Woman who enjoys cunnilingus wishes to indulge in prolonged joyful orgasmic bliss…all about Her pleasure. Being the Dominant, She has the privilege to accept no end until She is completely satiated.

In a Female Led Relationship, She may know and enjoy the rapture of her pleasure is his primary goal. He is just a means to her end. But one where she may be completely free and without inhibition, without regard for anything but her own bliss. She does not need to interrupt the swell of dopamine in her brain for self-conscious thoughts, concern for her partner, or any type of behavior other than making sure he hits all the right spots.

Regardless of your intentions, nurturing from spark to relationship is a reality.