New Podcast! – Twisted Monk

I have wanted to work with this gentleman for years and I finally got the opportunity! Monk is the man logoand vision behind Twisted Monk, one of the leading and THE most trusted names in bondage hemp rope suppliers. In this interview we not only learn Jz4y79orabout the history behind his starting this innovative company, but also get to know a bit more about the man himself and some of the recent demons he has tackled with in his growth as a person. I got great benefit in hearing this man share his incredible story and I hope you will find the same. I hope you enjoy!

Monk’s Twitter: @TwistedMonk

Website: The Twisted Monk

 

 

 

Upcoming workshop – Living Your Fetish, presenting at ILSb-ICBB

Being leatherfolk or a kinkster is a celebration of our uniqueness. It’s about embracing our authenticity and joyfully ‘owning’ what makes our endorphins rush. Trying to understand why we might be aroused by certain things is like trying to explain why one enjoys the taste of black licorice. We all come to the fcd52bcc908d221ff41e9d10996b1cd6table with a variety of fetishes and interests, some of them shared and some of them individual. In this ILSb workshop I’ll be facilitating a discussion about what it is to actually “live” the vitality of your fetish and what that actually entails, as well as the challenges and rewards that accompany it. As part of illustrating the message of the workshop, I have agreed to present in my Strongman persona – a lifelong fetish I have had, and will be required to remain that way for the duration of the weekend 🙂

The theme of this year’s International LeatherSir/leatherboy and International Community Bootblack contest weekend is Own Your Kink.  It’s a great message of being a community where everyone gets to come together and embrace all the hot kinks and fetishes that make us who we are, and celebrate it as a means of our self-expression. It should prove to be a weekend full of fun and immense hot action!

More information on the event as well as the history of ILSb-ICBB can be found here:

ILSB-ICBB
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Damn, I F@%CKED UP! – hosted by the Center for Sex Positive Culture

The FSPC presents

Sunday August 21st at 6:30pm – 7:30pm in PDT

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CSPC Annex 1609 15th Ave. W, Seattle WA. 98119

Who we are and how we play is dangerous. And let’s face it, no matter how much precaution or how much prep we may take, sooner or later we or someone we know is going to fuck up. Or perhaps we are a titleholder or a community figure and we suddenly disappoint as a result of a bad judgement. We are going to make a mistake, have a failure, or in worse case, have an accident. It’s simply part of being human. But as leather and kink folk, how do we handle our mistakes/accidents? In this workshop we will take an in-depth look at our ‘failures’, and examine constructive ways of dealing with them not only in ourselves, but in others that we observe in our tribe.

Cost at the door: $20.
Advance: $15. All 3 Dart workshops – Solo — $50.00 and Both Bondage workshops – Solo — $35.00
All sexes, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, relationship orientations welcome and celebrated.
Open to all 18+
Attendance is limited to 30 people.
Questions may be directed to: education@thefspc.org

Tickets Available: strangertickets.com

Bondage Bullfighting – hosted by the Center for Sex Positive Culture

The FSPC presents

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Sunday August 21 at 4pm – 5:30pm at PDT

CSPC Annex 1608 15th Ave. W, Seattle WA. 98119

Bondage is more than simply memorizing a bunch of pretty knots. It’s an exchange of power and energy- a kind of “dance” between dominant and submissive, that takes both parties on a journey to a common goal and “catharsis”. It is not unlike what a matador does with a bull during a bullfight. In this class we take a step back and re-examine the actual power exchange with the rope, and how we can create an amazingly erotic bondage experience, even with only knowing one type of knot. This class is hands-on so please bring rope if you have it, and be prepared to do a little moving.

Cost at the door: $25.
Advance: $20. All 3 Dart workshops – Solo — $50.00 and Both Bondage workshops – Solo — $35.00
All sexes, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, relationship orientations welcome and celebrated.
Open to all 18+
Attendance is limited to 30 people.
Questions may be directed to: education@thefspc.org

Tickets Available: strangertickets.com

The Twisted Monk will be there at this event with a selection of hemp rope available for sale if you don’t have rope, or want more! Come early for the best selection. See you there!

Upcoming Workshops hosted by the Center for Sex Positive Culture

The FSPC presents

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Saturday August 20th 5pm-8pm EDT

CSPC Annex 1608 15th Ave. W. Seattle WA. 98119

While every physical interaction with rope is different depending on the individual, there are some components that are unique to tying up a man. The bio-mechanics, the energy of the musculature, and of course – the ‘sweet spots’ including the vast array around the cock and balls. Tying up men is Sir Dart’s favorite thing to do and this class we’ll cover some of the unique aspects of trussing up the male form, including tying up the jewels.

Cost at the door: $25.
Advance: $20. All 3 Dart workshops – Solo — $50.00 and Both Bondage workshops – Solo — $35.00
All sexes, genders, ethnicities, sexual orientations, relationship orientations welcome and celebrated.
Open to all 18+
Attendance is limited to 30 people.
Questions may be directed to: education@thefspc.org

Tickets Available: strangertickets.com

Sponsored by The Twisted Monk

New Podcast! – Sophia Sky – Executive Director of the FSPC

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On August 20-21 I will have the pleasure of teaching a number of workshops at the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle. In this podcast I had the chance to sit down with the Executive Director for the FSPC, Sophia Sky. Aside from being an awesome conversationalist and all-around amazing person, she also heads some amazing endeavors with the Center including the Seattle Erotic Art Festival.

For more information on my upcoming classes at the FSPC you can refer to the following links:

Bondage for the Male Body

Bondage Bullfighting

Damn I F@%KED UP

Tickets for the event can be purchased HERE

I hope you all enjoy the podcast!

 

That Occasional Need

*Contented grin*

I am blissfully reminiscing about an evening with the boy and the husband that was full of all kinds of devilish fun. Especially for me.

Usually when our boy comes over he spends a decent amount of time locked up in bondage of sorts. We think it’s good for him. Clearly it’s good for us. Everybody wins. But every once in a while, often without any kind of notice, I will get a sudden need to join him. I crave being the captive Sir who is put in bondage next to his imprisoned collared property. Or even better, the boy and my man suddenly join forces and opt to turn the tables on me and I become the helpless object of their devious afflictions – one of my personal favorites. We never question why these needs come up from out of the blue; though often they coincide with the overlying pressure of dealing with something in everyday life like finances or other mundane stresses.  We just acknowledge that yes, a sudden need has come up and it would be great fun to be somehow work it into the play festivities.

This all seems very simple to me, but there are many leatherfolk and kinksters that have a difficult time reconciling these desires, because they go against their ‘fetish identity’ as it were. As kinky human beings, we are very complex, not to mention illogical at times. The only true means we have of understanding something is through the language we use for it. We will have an experience of something, and attempt to use existing words to categorize what it is we are feeling and if none exist, we create them. But the problem with this is that labels and language are linear and we are using them to try to comprehend something that is anything but comprehensible, particularly when it comes to sexual desire. Some of you may know of my fetish for circus strongmen for instance, complete with being immensely aroused being forced to look like one. It’s odd, and silly yes…but it creates a gets a huge arousal in me and has ever since I was a kid. I have no fucking idea why and there is no existing ‘lexicon’ that I can align with to get my head around it. What I do know is the immense satisfaction I get from playing it out, which is really the only thing that should matter.

The challenge becomes even greater due our community’s ‘need’ to abide by the various labels we apply to one another; labels that go beyond how we identify sexually but how we are seen by our peers. We have put so much emphasis on upholding strict protocols of leather tradition that we leave no room to allow one another to explore beyond a given category. A person who receives great accolades from his or her community may receive the title of ‘Master’ for instance, and feel no charity if they suddenly wish to be adorned in a diaper and explore being a Little for a while. I believe that each and every one of us simply have those moments where we just want to not be the ‘tradition’. Constantly immersing oneself in maintaining a community ‘standard’ creates a kind of template that we may feel obligated to be restricted by. Yes, you may be well known as a Sir to everyone and a sought after Dom, but does it make you less so if occasionally you just want to be strapped into the sling and fist-fucked to high heaven?

With so much focus on things like contest prep or fundraising it can become very easy to forget that the most important mantra of leather and kink is that it’s a celebration of SELF. It’s embracing the fact that we all are on the island of misfit toys and together we can do incredible things for individual growth and a community that thrives. WE are the ones that get to color outside the lines, WE are the ones that not only say it’s okay to play in the mud but create full on parties for just such an activity. It balances us. If we feel ‘challenged’ by seeing a peer conduct themselves that appears to be outside the category we’ve put them in, our knee-jerk reaction is to judge. But that’s simply our own lack of self-acceptance being projected. Look at the recent uproar around various leathermen appearing in drag – the greatest amount of jeering came from our own.There is enough judgement coming from outside the perimeter of our culture, yet we’re the first ones to direct mockery within. As a leather community we must never stop allowing others to be who they are, and to do that we have to allow the same in ourselves. Live and let live as they say.

And a perfect first step is satisfying that random ‘need’ that may arise. Now…who’s next in the sling?

 

Relinquish Control, Not Responsibility

I’m engaging in some downtime where I’m reflecting on what I’ve learned from my own journey as a leatherman and from what I’ve observed in others. There’s one thing I keep coming back to when I think back to my times as a boy or with failed sub relationships I’ve had, and that it has to do with maintaining a certain degree of self-governance when entering a connection as a sub of any kind. Putting that kind of trust in others and allowing others to have the dominance over us requires us to give over our control – it does not however, mean giving up our means of maturity or social decorum. All too often I think it becomes very easy to forget this.

My periods as a collared boy were always very rewarding in various ways, particularly my three years as the boy of Sir Machias. During that time I had immense growth and felt a tremendous sense of fulfillment exploring my need to submit, as well as the incredible play dynamic we had. There were also a lot of unfortunate choices I made back then that sadly, I didn’t allow myself the capacity to truly see. It’s a very scary thing for me to allow myself to be vulnerable and relinquish control to somebody else, as that ultimately means they are going to see all my imperfections that my ego wants to conceal. However, as I have talked about in previous entries, that can also be immensely rewarding – being loved and nurtured for who you really are as opposed to the facade that I try to uphold. But I ultimately did it with this man, and it added a dimension to my life experience that I will forever cherish and attribute to immense growth. What caused problems during this time however, was that I made the mistake of letting go of personal responsibility along with the control. I had no ‘wisdom’ to differentiate between the two. I put quotes around the word because what I really mean to say was that I was unwilling to look at that part of how I conducted myself. It was easier to simply be childish and abandon personal responsibility, and it often took the form of lashing out in various tantrums or arguments. Ultimately it resulted in alienating my Sir and his family BIG time and causing all kinds of stress.

I talk a lot about this when I teach workshops. Too many times I see people engage in a fetish or kink and use it as an excuse for bad behavior toward others.  It’s as though they give themselves permission to abandon the responsibility of being a full – fledged adult in order to experience a particular form of play. A prime example of this is with puppy play. One of the appeals of being a pup is you get to ‘lose’ yourself and immerse into a mindset that is very playful and in the now, with no concerns of the past or the future. Everything is very energetic and spur-of-the-moment with a focus on interaction with others to be scritched or petted affectionately. Unfortunately some take this to also mean absconding from behaving responsibly in public, particularly with strangers. People will use the excuse, “oh when I get into pup head space I have no knowledge of my human traits so I can’t help it if I wind up chewing on somebody’s shoes…” And we all know how well that goes over. Ultimately we do ourselves an incredible disservice by not being mindful of social etiquette while we explore various facets of kink and fetish. If we did, we would probably find a lot more celebration of our uniqueness as opposed to annoyance and judgement within the community.

Our journeys are all about growth and expansion and ultimately having a very strong sense of who we are. We need a certain amount of maturity and courage to immerse ourselves in our kinks and fetishes, and even moreso if it involves handing over trust and control to another. The real trick is to be able to do so while maintaining a grounded sense of personal responsibility. It can be a fine line and one that is very challenging to see when you are feeling vulnerable under the hands of a Dom. How do we be vigilant about this and prevent moments of stress or altercation? For one, I think we have to be mindful of the fact that we may not truly know how we’re going to be once we agree to allow ourselves to trust another and be vulnerable. It’s one thing to say, “yes stepping into this connection or agreement sounds very fulfilling and I’m going to be the best sub ever’,  and then suddenly we are in it and we discover that all kinds of fears and anxieties come up that we didn’t predict. Maybe we get very caught up in the romance of the initial connection and are slightly blinded by what some call the ‘honeymoon phase’.  It takes a great deal of wisdom to know ourselves when we take the risk to trust another, and part of that wisdom is embracing our imperfections that may lead to anxiety or stress. When we do this, we are better able to maintain our self-respect and in turn maintain personal accountability.

It’s of course very easy for me to say, “Oh I wish I knew now what I knew then” as it would have saved me a lot of heartache and shame in the way I conducted myself as a boy, but to do so doesn’t serve any positive purpose. Every time I explore a connection as a submissive, or take on a sub of my own, I gain further knowledge. Part of what I love about leather and kink is in the way it helps me grow as a person, even if the ride is an uncomfortable one. We sabotage ourselves if we ever think there is a point of ‘arrival’ in our journeys, and not a day goes by where I don’t embrace what I’ve learned as a result of personal mistakes I’ve made.

And that’s some of the best personal responsibility I can take as a human being and a leatherman 🙂

 

“People are Offended Waiting to Happen”

*Eye roll*

Reading Facebook and other means of social media, I feel as though people have gotten their panties in a wad over absolute petty stuff. This need for constant PC has gotten completely out of hand. The majority of people I follow are somehow involved in leather and kink like myself, and they are sharing stories of people getting offended over incredibly stupid things, including the half-time show of the Superbowl. It’s as though people are freely exercising their ‘right to whine’.

I remember years ago Bart and I presented an introduction to Puppy Play workshop at a popular kink event. During the class, we try to show all facets of puppy play and the many directions you can take it. One facet we demonstrated involved a bondage approach where I ‘forced’ Bart into being a pup – wrestled him to the floor, locked mitts on his fists, muzzled him so he could only make pup noises – that kind of thing. It was great fun and many found the scene to be quite hot. One gentleman however, an older man who identified as a pup, did not like what he saw and later complained about us to the organizers saying, “That’s just wrong!! No one should ever be forced to be a pup! What Sir Dart taught was wrong and that’s not how puppies play!!”

I’m not kidding. It really happened.

I want to tell people, “If you’re going to be offended this easily, you shouldn’t be in kink and BDSM. Period.” As a presenter and educator, I have reached a point where I have to spend more energy on the lexicon of words and phraseology I use rather on the actual material because we have turned into a generation of thin-skinned people who get offended easily. It’s quite ridiculous because if you think about it, there is nothing ‘politically correct’ about kink and BDSM. It’s edgy, it pushes comfort boundaries, it plays with all kinds of areas we consider ‘taboo’ and that’s part of what makes it so fucking arousing. Yet because there are some who are intent on getting their feelings hurt by not being somehow included in what is being presented, we have to present the material in a kind of homogenized way, and that makes it lose its appeal.

I am currently working on a class for an upcoming event, and I have been advised on some very meticulous ways of phrasing certain things so as not to alienate others. I will confess that it has a very constrictive feeling to it and some of the phraseology does not align with my perspective. I have been on the verge of backing out of teaching the subject because there really isn’t any way for me to present the material as *I* know it without others getting offended. What I really want to say sometimes is, “my name is Sir Dart and I’m a faggot. I don’t play with women because I’m not sexually attracted to them and some of their body parts I find actually repulsive. I enjoy tying up men and doing things to them when they’re restrained including rape fantasies. And yes on occasion I like to bareback and I know it’s dangerous and that’s one of the reasons it’s so fucking arousing and also I know we’re not supposed to use drugs or alcohol when we play but I have on occasion and it was fun too.”

Can I get an ‘AMEN’?

Being “easily offended” is what is known as a narcissistic injury. It’s being reactionary to something due to your own shit and making the presented information about YOU in some form. Everyone has opinions, and opinions are healthy to have. What is not healthy is believing that your opinion is your identity; that it is somehow a representation of who you are. When someone challenges or disagrees with your opinion, if you’re offended it’s because you haven’t distinguished your opinion as being separate from your sense of self. Most likely your self-esteem is also damaged.

I lived in Toronto for over nine years, and I can remember how I would get butthurt any time a Canadian friend would make a derogatory comment about American politics. I would find myself getting so worked up and angry because I felt like what this person was saying was a personal attack on me. It was as if I saw myself as the ‘representation’ of the U.S. in that moment and I would find myself angrily defending who I was because I was an American. The truth was it had absolutely nothing to do with me as a person and ironically I would usually agree with what the person was saying about our government. Thing is, I would react because I was insecure in myself, and reading far too much into other people’s opinions.

So for those of you who are easily offended and often make your reactionary voices heard, I’d like you to please consider the following:

  1. You are offended because you WANT to be. You genuinely believe a part of your core has been attacked in some way and in order to make yourself feel more powerful and less dominated, you are speaking up in a reactionary tone. There’s no bringing you down from that because you WANT to be there. You really honestly believe that you are getting a payoff from being reactionary. The truth is you’re not.
  2. You’re not actually reacting to what is being said, but to your own stuff being triggered. Take a moment and actually listen to what is being said from a place of neutrality, rather than from the filter of your own shit. You’ll find it actually feels better.
  3. Oddly enough, it’s NOT about you. We are in a day and age of egocentricity, where we believe everything is somehow connected to us. You combine this with the information age and technology where a person feels they can safely express themselves behind their keyboard, and suddenly everything is all about you. It’s not. You can actually sit this one out and you won’t ‘disappear’.
  4. You may receive an apology or appeasement of some kind from the person or party who unintentionally offended you. If there is an emotional investment in the relationship of any kind, including a friendship – then you can bank on its sincerity and put the hurt behind you with a greater understanding of one another. Apologies are great in this regard because they get us to stop coming from a place of ego and actually embrace humility. However, if you do not have a direct relationship with the offender, half the time it’s just to get you to go away. Seriously. Many of us who have been titleholders and presenters have accidentally said or done something that has led to somebody or some organization being offended, and we’ve had to ‘do the right thing’ by humbly providing a public apology and taking ownership of the miscommunication. This results in our having to coin an email of humility of some kind do all kinds of politicking to show the community we are good people. And once we’ve done that, we’ve gone to our peers talking about you behind your back and how incredibly annoying and petty you’re being and that really all we want if for you to go away because you’re ruining it for the rest of us. Yes, it’s true. We’ve told you we’re sorry, and we still think you’re a royal pain in the ass. And knowing it is half the battle.

Now all this being said, there is a constructive approach to being heard and having an exchange of information if that is what both parties are genuinely committed to. It’s actually possibly to engage in a dialogue that does not come from a place of reaction, where the parties involved can respect the difference in opinions but not draw personal conclusions of attack from them. In order for that to happen, you have to take out the actual reaction to what is being said, and hear what the person is trying to convey. Not just the words, but where they are coming from in what they are expressing. Be open to having an appreciation of this person’s stance without feeling that to do so you are losing a part of yourself. Agree to disagree and do so freely without any venom. It’s a muscle that takes time to strengthen, but truthfully it’s the more evolved approach to differences.

Last of all, sometimes it’s perfectly okay to give up the need to be “right” all the time. Some of the wisest words on this came from my mother who told me, “Some people would rather be right, than happy.”

Life’s Wrecking Ball

Every once in a while, I find myself going through periods in life where I am purposely ‘broken down’ in order to become stronger or learn something of great value.  I have not shared a lot regarding my spiritual views, mostly because they are very personalized and may not align with the belief systems of others. I do believe in a great life force, call it Universal consciousness or God or what have you.  A lot of my experiences and life creed are based on eastern philosophies. Many do not know that I actually was a follower of Hinduism for a short while and to this day I still engage in daily meditations, once in the morning and again in the late afternoon. I do feel a great connection of some kind, and I believe there is an infinite amount of love and wisdom that goes way beyond what we can perceive as human beings. I really do see my life as one long path of experience, and my life in leather and kink is an integral part of all of it. There are moments however, when I believe it is the Universe does a kind of ‘boot camp’ where in order for me to grow and learn, I have to be broken. More like demolished.

Years ago I used to train in the martial art of Ju-jitsu. I absolutely loved it and it was fantastic exercise as well as great discipline for the body and the mind. Our Sensei was brutal, in that he believed we could not truly excel in the art until we ‘got out of our own way’ mentally. Often he would illustrate this by pairing us up with higher ranked belts for sparring, which led to our essentially getting the shit beaten out of us until we would finally draw on something deep within us to hold our own on the mat. I can remember times in the training when I was completely out of breath and on the verge of tears and vomit, and then suddenly getting a burst of energy to execute a move that would throw my opponent on the floor. As they would say in The Matrix, “there was no spoon”. What was happening was our Sensei was breaking us to get beyond our egos.

In its simplest terms, ego is that Latin word for ‘I’. From a spiritual standpoint, it is referred to as the ‘means by which one views themselves’. It is our sense of identity based on the five senses, how we are viewed by others, how our image is seen or referenced. It is based on labels, facades and perceptions; the things we utilize when we find ourselves in social circumstances where we need to ‘survive’.  It is created out of the flattery and compliments we receive, and also the judgments. It supports our need for approval, and also our need to control. There is a limitation on focusing strictly on the ego as it limits one to believing that it is who they are.  It is merely self-image, but not a representation of the true self. Essentially it’s an illusion.

Anyone who has embarked on a spiritual journey of any kind can attest that lessons are presented designed to take us out of our comfort zone, and the change is neither subtle or gentle. It’s in the form of a giant wrecking ball that completely annihilates everything we’ve used to survive. People familiar with Tarot associate this with the Tower card. Hinduism has a goddess named Kali who embodies change and transformation through destruction. Even programs of recovery like the 12 Steps refer to this dynamic of growth through demolition. It’s a very uncomfortable experience but one that can enable us to become much more grounded and whole, and push up past our perceived identity.

This presents a real challenge in leather and kink. I honestly do see a tremendous spiritual component to being a leatherman, and so much of my growth and self-actualization has come as a result of it. As I’ve said before, leather and kink are all about going beyond how you’ve always perceived yourself and your limits. So much of our growth and wisdom come as a result of embracing learning and humility. Yet our very culture embodies a tremendous amount of ego! We do all kinds of social media posting weeks out talking about our “IML diet” or our various image goals for the sake of surviving “the Lobby”. We purposely take on posturing and personas in order to evoke interest from others and provide validation for ourselves. The very appearances and images we strive to uphold are of hyper masculine dominant figures exuding enormous amounts of ego. That’s part of the turn on for many of us!

So, how does one reconcile these periods? Well, for starters, give in and pay attention – because the safeword doesn’t work here! Take a step back and assess what kind of mythologies you have created for yourself based on the perceptions of others. Call yourself on the mechanisms you’re using to feel accepted and give yourself permission to be scared to death underneath just like the rest of us are. And never stop learning. If I may risk sounding ‘woo-woo’, remember that we are here to love and be loved, and that should be the touchstone of all our connections including those in leather. Yes, sometimes those connections are strictly for the sake of the endorphin rush or to get our rocks off – we should still embrace love of self at the very least when we embark on these and celebrate how much fucking fun these moments are!

I am still processing what has opened up as a result of my identity being whittled down these last few weeks. All is okay with what has transpired. I am present to being human and making errors in judgment. I cannot get true ‘approval’ without being authentic with others or myself. Sometimes I make decisions that are entirely selfish and it bites me in the ass. I go through my wrecking ball periods where I am quickly reminded that those are limitations and that these are not who I am. Sadly, sometimes it takes a great loss in the community for us to see beyond our facades and mythologies and be reminded of our need to love one another.

Thankfully, we do get there, and we certainly did recently as many of us can attest to 🙂