Lady Grey made some comments about a post I made on May 9th (which feels like an eternity ago even though it has only been 9 days) that I could have elaborated a bit on what I referenced by being conditioned to respond sexually to something.
I figure that is something I can expand on and give some of the terminology that I use in my writings overall.
I believe there's a big difference in D/s between trained and conditioned behaviors. One could argue semantics on this point, but by and large I think of them as two distinct things, and while there may be better labels for them, I will stick with these for now.
Trained behaviors are a corner stone of the D/s lifestyle. The Domme wants the sub to act in a certain way and he modifies his behavior to match her expectations. In most cases, the behavior is governed by a set of rules and the sub is forced to obey the rules or face punishment. Assuming the punishment functions properly as a deterrent, the sub will modify his behavioral patterns to follow the rules.
An easy example commonly associated with the male gender would be putting the toilet seat down. If a sub is seriously beaten each time he leaves the toilet seat up, it won't take him very long to start putting it down. This would be a trained behavior that is consciously performed associated with negative reinforcement.
Most lifestyle subs have many trained behaviors as their Dommes have molded them to their liking.
Positive reinforcement can also be used for behavioral training but it is probably best reserved
for major changes. Rewarding a sub for properly addressing
his Domme with an instructed title doesn't really seem worthy of a reward.
Conditioned behaviors are a bit more complicated. Conditioned behaviors are subconscious, involuntary responses linked to positive or negative reinforcement. They require a lot of time and repetition in order to build subconscious associations. Once established, these associations are almost unbreakable as they solidify themselves in a sub's psyche. An example of this would be granting a good orgasm ever time a sub mow's the lawn. After enough repetition of this, it is likely that a sub get aroused when he is told to mow the lawn as part of a Pavlovian response.
I believe that many conditioned behaviors in D/s happen without either party realizing that it was even happening until it is already there. I also think that it is possible for a trained behavior to become conditioned over time. With enough repetition, the behavior will eventually become second nature and there will likely be subconscious responses involved, but setting out to train a behavior vs. setting out to condition a behavior have slightly different paths.
I have experienced a great number of trained and conditioned behaviors over the years with K, F, and T. While I am completely okay with the trained behaviors, the conditioned ones are things that I'm not very excited about having, and I'm not even sure if they were done intentionally or not.
The first conditioned behavior I can think of is when K introduced the "punishment hat" as I mentioned in Reflections part 2D. This hat became associated with shame, guilt, and remorse as it was both a symbolic and physical reminder that she was upset with me over my behavior. Every time I put on this hat (or one of similar design), I get hit with a wave of feelings like I've just been scolded, emasculated, and put in time out to reflect on how inadequate I've been. These feelings bring about humiliation more than its feminine design.
My second major conditioned behavior is linked to the first, and I believe if K had been aware of that link, she may have done it a little bit differently. Following my shopping assignment in Reflections part 2E, the outfit created by her choosing were required for every sexual contact for the rest of our relationship. If she got horny, she told me to put it on. If I asked to masturbate, she ordered me to put it on (I even had to purchase a phone headset that would work under the hat and earmuffs). I was allowed to orgasm quite a bit back then, usually once a day or so unless I was on punishment. The days and times between orgasms often involved a lot of edging. It was the norm that by the time I was permitted to cum, I had edged 50-100 times. K was also very vocal during my arousal, calling me a sissy slave, ordering me to tell her I loved it, etc. When the dust cleared, I had been brought to the brink of orgasm 6,000-10,000 times across a few months and had ejaculated in this environment at least 120 times, with no "normal" sexual contact or orgasms.
How this links to the first is that she chose the punishment hat to be included in the outfit instead of a different hat or going hat free. I don't think this was intentional, but the conditioned response of wearing the hat managed to inject very powerful feelings of humiliation, inadequacy, shame, remorse, etc. into the environment as well.
In the end, not only did dressing in fur arouse me a great deal, but so did being humiliated and embarrassed by my Mistress in addition to those negative feelings from the punishment hat as well. My body responds immediately and without thought. The hat goes on and I have an erection but I feel agitated until the others items are in place. I feel terrible inside but I am aroused out of my mind. The verbal teasing and humiliation flashes into my head and the words feel true and undeniable. I want to orgasm but I feel lowly and undeserving and if I go that far, it feels shameful.
By the time I met F, I had already felt a little bit "ruined" in this way, but she took the conditioning even farther by adding even more associations into the mix and T did the same. These later associations never had as strong of a pull as the original ones and I'm not sure but it's likely that the raw volume of sexual actions that occurred with K were at the root.
If I could go back in time and change things, I probably would. How I am doesn't really feel positive a lot of the time and I would prefer to have my sexual responses wired more closely to more traditional and acceptable things. At the same time, I try my best to accept that this is who I am and I cannot change it... unless it was conditioned out of me by torture and most likely replaced with something else.
In any case, I think this is how my persona as "fur sissy" was born. It wasn't by choice, but it happened.