Choose and Cherish

I know how the majority of us feel about this holiday and if you’re like me, I despise it. The amount of insanity and chaos I see just in the people travelling and purchasing and cooking all for an audience that they don’t really care to be with and don’t get any kind of gratification from is very sad, really. But the one thing that most kinksters and leatherfolk like us embrace around this time is the company of who we choose to be with and call ‘family’, in whatever capacity that may be. Most of us are already given the label of ‘black sheep’ by our biological families, and then on top of it we have lives and connections and play that sets us apart even moreso. But we are blessed in that we can choose to spend our holiday with those that we are loved and accepted by, or simply enjoy the company of, and call them family.

I haven’t spent the holidays with my bio family in over a decade. I don’t ‘hate’ who they are, it’s just that the majority of the interaction when I am with them is in the form of put-downs and ridicule. My mother stopped including herself in the gatherings for the same reason and used to tell me, “only surround yourself with people that fan the flame of your spirit.” Yes it’s a trippy saying but I love it and it holds true. So more times than not I am either with the company of friends or leather family, or I chose to work. And I see to it that I feel the blessing of whatever connection I chose.

With these holidays, or really any day for that matter, please keep something in mind when it comes to ‘chosen family’. This is a term that is thrown around in leather a great deal and unfortunately there are some that forget one important aspect of it – the emotional responsibility that comes with it. In other words, if someone has chosen you to be family to them, it is up to you to cherish that they did so. This person has informed you that you are special and important to them. They enjoy your company and feel lit up when they are with you. You provide something for them that makes their life a little better and a little happier for whatever reason. The only reason you have connected is because you chose to do so, so don’t shit on it. Don’t take it for granted, don’t treat it as an emotional dumping grounds, and don’t be one-sided. Honor the sharing you have and nurture it. Remember, you can always be un-chosen as well.

With whatever connections you make this holiday, please take the time to cherish the person you chose to connect with and vice versa; whether it’s extended leather family or a co-worker stuck at work with you, or even the neighbor you don’t really know but they took 10 minutes to stop by your house to deliver a nasty homemade fruitcake that you’re not going to touch. The bottom line is, someone took the time to let you know that you are important to them for whatever reason, and we need to do a lot more of that to counteract the cruelty this holiday brings.

To all the people I consider ‘family’ in one form or another, thank you. I love you immensely and you all fan the flame of MY spirit  🙂

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Now, back to work, and enjoying the awesome company of this really fun flight crew….

 

The Ridiculous Lexicon

I understand we have an obsession for labels.

You point to your shoes and say the word “Prada” and some people simply treat you differently. You tell people the area code of where you live, and you might get a reaction of “oooooh!” or just the opposite. Even when I take out a set of locking fistmitts the person may joyfully react with, “Mr.S?”, and I’ll nod proudly. We have assigned a perceived importance of labels to instigate how we shall continue our interaction. It’s as though they are touchstones to how things will proceed.

Sometimes we appear to have to do this in leather and kink, and frankly the words have gotten out of control.

Someone will ask you, “how do you identify?” Okay, I understand if you respond with ‘top’ or ‘bottom’ or ‘gay’ or ‘bi’ or whatever. Maybe you need to say something like “I’m more old guard” or “I’m a pain pig” to appear more enticing. Great! Ultimately we just want to know if a connection of some kind is going to be possible or if there might be chemistry. So, these words can indicate if it’s a go or not. Maybe you’re a submissive who is seeing being collared to a dominant, and what they are looking for is someone who sees themselves as a ‘slave’, where you might be more ‘pup’. Okay, both parties know to keep looking. Words like this can be useful to economize finding what you are looking for.

But I remember being at a large event where I heard all kinds of crazy labels that really told me nothing:

“I am biologically male and my inner prowess identifies as a feminized boy, but as a power switch I lean more toward an internalized she-wolf and so I take on a woman’s name when I Dom. I’m a service-oriented pain servant as well with pup-like tendencies and lean more toward being someone else’s beta when I do so. How about you?”

Pause.

I shrugged and simply said, “I’m Dart.”

I was blown away. I had NO idea what any of these words really meant or what I was supposed to do with this information that was provided. Does this mean we won’t play? Are you even interested? Is there something I’m supposed to do when it comes to our interaction based on these terms…?

I understand that I am being judgmental here, and it deserves some grace.  Truth be told the fact is that these labels provided some means of identity for this person. It was as though taking them on gave them permission to express themselves they way they wanted to. So, it’s not completely fair for me to not understand them because obviously they are they to enable the other person to be who they want to be. But ultimately, an overuse of the English language isn’t going to add to the power exchange we’re hoping to have. When you get deep into it, the words are just ‘noise’.

Sometimes the use of a label on someone can be a hindrance, because it doesn’t illustrate the totality of the person. I have a dear friend at work who survived a bout with breast cancer, and she absolutely detests being called a “cancer survivor”.  Her reasons are simple – she doesn’t want to be called a survivor, she wants to be seen as a person who survived. Subtle difference, but one gives her an identity all around the breast cancer, the other treats her as a whole person who happened to have breast cancer at one time. It’s something she had, but it isn’t who she is. “If people interact with me based solely on what I went through with the cancer, they are missing out on all the really awesome things about me!’ she says. I absolutely adore her by the way and I find this approach to be very inspiring. It has made me wonder how I am missing out on the labels that I have taken on.

Personally, I think we need to back off on all of these BDSM/kink labels for they have reached a ridiculous level of jargon. A connection is a connection and ultimately the dynamics reach a level that cannot be understood on a linear level.  If we need these words as a way “directing our spirit” I can certainly understand that, however we want the focus of others to be on US, not the labels.

Next time you’re at an event and someone asks how you identify, try saying “I’m ME”.

For many of you the connection that follows will be utterly amazing 🙂

 

Our vulnerabilities, our filters

I always love when people tell me that communication is the key to relationships, especially when the advice comes from someone who is not in one and doesn’t have a good track record with them. While the advice is certainly true, the art of exchanging words and genuinely being heard and understood is not an easy one. No doubt I have my challenges in trying to master it myself.

We all like to think that we are stronger and wiser as a result of our past, and in many ways we are. We try things, we fall down, we make mistakes, learn, get back up and proceed again or take a different approach – it’s life. We figure out what didn’t work previously so we don’t let it repeat itself. We take something negative and turn it into a useful tool for the future. However, when it comes to communication and expressing yourself to someone, or being on the receiving end of it, the past can be a hindrance.

In life we have all kinds of experiences that make us draw conclusions and form ‘filters’ that we perceive things through. I will give you an example of this with something I deal with at work (I’m a flight attendant for those who do not know). It is said that one of the most challenging domestic routes a crewmember can work is New York to Miami. I don’t really know how to describe it except that it’s just a LOT. It’s always a very busy flight, very full, and there’s a lot of – passion shall we say. And it’s not necessarily always full of nasty people; I have often said that even when the flight is perfect and all the passengers are happy it STILL wears you out. It’s just a very aggressive ‘people experience’. Well, all of what I have described is now a filter that I perceive the NY-Miami flight through. It’s just subconsciously in place and other flight attendants have said the same thing so there is agreement. So now if I have a particularly demure, calm and pleasant customer on that flight – yet I have this filter in place, there’s going to be limitations to how we communicate.  They may ask for something as kindly as possible, and I’m still going to be defensively thinking, “okay what’s the catch? What are they really trying to get out of me?” It’s not necessarily the truth, it just my perception that makes it seem like it is.

The same can be said with D/s relationships – or any relationship really. You have the experience of one person, and it may not go well or there may be negative things that occur in the connection. Consciously or unconsciously, that becomes part of your filter that you experience the next person through. And the next. And the next. And suddenly you’re not truly experiencing the person you’re with, you’re busy reconciling all the inner dialogues created by the previous connections. As are they! All parties involved are attempting to communicate with one another based on the past, and not being truly present to one another. We are trying so hard to avoid a previous experience that we are living in the future created solely from the past. AND WE ARE NOT IN THE MOMENT.

Here’s the really tough part. In order to be authentic and speak truthfully, we have to risk vulnerability, and that’s terrifying. As kinky Sirs and boys and slaves and pups we have what we believe to be a built-in means of protection in that we are ascribing to being archetypes. In other words, if we look like a menacing mean Sir nobody has to know that we’re really terrified and needy underneath. Nobody has to see any of my imperfections or flaws as long as my biceps look good. You may laugh, but I will tell you that at any given moment at MAL there is a gay man in his hotel room doing last minute pushups because he’s about to enter the lobby. It’s what we think we have to do to survive. But alas, that exterior only goes so far. Sooner or later if there is to be a connection and one based on trust, we have to lower that guard and risk being real. We have to expose all those things that we believe the other person won’t like about us, because somebody previously said they were a problem.

There is a young man in our life that if I may speak bluntly, Bart and I have lusted after for quite some time. Very recently, he has expressed that he is interested in serving us both as our boy. Personally I am WAY excited about exploring this, but in chatting with him I am also very aware of just how much our barriers and filters have gotten in the way of feeling an intense connection previously. From a personal standpoint, I always had this filter of not being good enough or sexy enough that this boy would even be interested. Previous flirtatious exchanges were met with a certain reservation, and I drew the conclusion that he was looking for something in a completely different ‘league’ that was not us. However, in chatting with him recently we have found out that just the opposite was true, and that what we perceived as hesitation or disinterest was actually his being overly protective of himself and trying not to appear ‘needy’. We said, “you don’t appear needy at all boy! In fact we’d rather see how you really feel!” He explained however that previous relationships had told him that the way he was coming across was unattractive, so he was trying hard to not be that way in talking with us. Thus we had an exchange that had been stilted for a long time because both of us were communicating from untrue belief systems. And because we’re TWO Sirs that would be taking him on, we also have to contend with Bart’s filters and the inner dialogues that he’s contending with.

Being a Sir or being a collared boy can be an invigorating and rewarding experience, but also very challenging. We create these enticing yet protective exteriors to get the attention of others, and then an opportunity for relatedness opens up and we have to risk being real in order to establish trust. For a finite evening of play or sex the exterior serves its purpose, but for genuine nurturing relationships where there is to be love and growth and protection, eventually that facade has to be dropped and the human side revealed. The side that is imperfect, scared, insecure, and quirky.

Essentially, it’s the side of us that truly is perfect!

I think my husband probably had the best communication approach when he proposed to me four years ago. He asked me to marry him via text.

“Text? Really?” I said.

He responded, “Yes. This way you can keep reading it over and over and know that it’s true!”

Okay. Gotta admit he’s good.

I might also add that later that day when I came home, he got down on bended knee to solidify the communication 🙂

ROPECRAFT Class: Cause and Effect Bondage

If you’re coming to ROPECRAFT in Austin Feb. 19-21 you’ll have an opportunity to come to one of our favorite classes to teach: Cause and Effect Bondage – The Joys of Predicament.  Sir Bart and I love teaching this class because well, it’s evil and fun, it always gets a great response from the audience (at the expense of the demo bottoms of course), and it opens up the channels of creativity for people who are stuck in doing bondage a rigid particular way every time. For people that want to learn the beautiful art of Japanese rope tying – um, this ain’t that.

The basis of the class is simple. It’s about putting the sub into a compromised bondage position where there is a consequence of some kind if they move or try to escape. As we Doms all know, nothing gives us pleasure than being able to look at the sub and say, “you did it to yourself.”

There are some bottoms that feel a very calm, peaceful state when they are put into bondage,and perhaps you’ve experienced this for yourself as a top. You put forth a concentrated effort to truss them up tightly and make their situation completely inescapable – and their eyes close and they disappear into a blissful state. All cinched up and they don’t put forth any attempts to struggle or fight because they so relaxed and feel so safe in the binds. The expression on their face may even look as though they are in deep meditation, and as the top you have to basically sit there and babysit and they venture off into their world of deep serenity.

BORING.

I don’t know about you, but as a Dom I don’t want to be a ‘spa’. I enjoy the play a lot more if there is a constant back and forth with the sub and it’s in the form of taunting and frustration.  If I’m going to be putting someone in bondage, I don’t want them to go their happy place, I want them to go to mine. I’d prefer they not keep their eyes closed – I want them to stay wide open and focusing on ME as if to say, “please no! You’re in control! I’ll do anything Sir!”

And you can smile back saying, “That is correct boy. You WILL.”

We will be using some rope in the class, along with all kinds of toys and pervertables that we’ll incorporate to create some very devious and creative ‘booby traps’. One we did recently involved securing a big musclebear (de-lish!) naked and spreadeagle on the floor of where we were teaching. We took a fat alter candle and pared out the bottom of it so that we had a usable wick at both ends. We then hung the candle sideways directly above the victim, and attached part of the rigging via parachute cord to tarp clamps that were biting on his nipples.  So when the hot bear struggled even slightly, it would pull on the candle and cause it to spin. The only thing left was to light both ends 🙂 Thus, bits of hot wax would drip onto him causing him to wince,which in turn made the candle twirl and throw more hot wax onto his hairy body. It was delightful. It reminded me of an old spy movie scene, and I pictured myself sitting in a chair with shaved head and petting a white cat saying, “no Mr. Bond I expect you to die. Mwahahahaha!”

But I digress. The class is very light-hearted and there’s usually a lot of evil laughter from the participants. If you’re coming to ROPECRAFT please come by and take part in the fun!

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PrEP-shaming

Real quick, for those of you unfamiliar with what PrEP is, here is a basic explanation. The initials stand for Pre-exposure Prophylaxis, and it refers to an HIV prevention strategy where HIV-negative individuals take anti-HIV medications before coming into contact with HIV to reduce their risk of becoming infected. The medication works to prevent HIV from establishing infection inside the body. It does not protect against other sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy and it is not a cure for HIV, but it has been shown to reduce risk of HIV infection through sex for gay and bisexual men, transgender women, and heterosexual men and women, as well as among people who inject drugs. Currently the only drug that has been approved for PrEP is a pretty blue pill called Truvada. Recent studies have shown that when the drug is taken consistently on a daily basis it provides 92%-99% reduction in HIV risk for HIV-negative individuals. And of course I have to be responsible in saying that it greatly reduces risk but does not eliminate it, and should be used in addition to other safe-sex protocols.

Now the point of this article is not about the cash cow element of the pharmaceutical industry making billions off of keeping people like myself alive rather than curing them, or how people mistrust the findings of scientific studies and find them inconclusive, or how expensive these drugs are – and Truvada is certainly not a cheap date…

I get it. And I actually do ascribe to some of those beliefs.

What I want to talk about here is the interesting phenomenon that has taken place with the advent of PrEP use among gay men: the judgement of one another.

You see, sex is fun. And one thing that many gay men including myself greatly enjoy is barebacking. But with many sexual acts, there is an exchange of bodily fluids and therefore a risk for sexually transmitted diseases. For a very long time, the act of barebacking was considered absolute no-go red flag behavior. It was a surefire means of contracting HIV which for many would lead to AIDS and eventually death. The viral medications that we have now were not available back then and the few treatments that were available like AZT would lead to more complications and toxic side effects. Barebacking would also lead to other STDs which compromise the body’s immune system and make it more susceptible to contracting HIV. Basically, fucking without a condom was treated like a social abomination.

The landscape is different now, and what is happening through PrEP use is that many gay men are ‘re-embracing’ their sexual expression by enjoying barebacking again. There are men on hookup sites like Recon that include in their profile that they are HIV-, but on PrEP. Some even take it to a celebratory hilt by referring to themselves as ‘Truvada Whores’. Leather boys that are under consideration for our collar have taken steps to get on PrEP as they want to enjoy being sexually intimate, which includes enjoying my fluids. Inside of them. Sorry for being graphic but let’s call a spade a spade – when you are sexually charged up with someone, the experience intensifies when you taste their cum in your mouth or feel them unload inside you. The use of Truvada is allowing a lot of men to feel free doing this again, and other gay men are feeling confronted by that freedom.

For decades our community was being tragically affected by so many people dying of AIDS coupled with a lack of available treatments and an unsympathetic government. People were losing their jobs, their families, and their grace by the travesty of this horrible disease and the lack of education. The oppression and the struggle became a part of our identity. When the anti-viral cocktails became available, the environment changed and suddenly people were not dying left and right. My own friend Drew actually got kicked out of hospice because he was suddenly going to live! There was finally the hope and breakthrough that we were fighting for. But I remember there were those that didn’t know what to do with themselves because they’re ‘fight’ wasn’t the same anymore. It was an integral part of who they were, and they would try to keep it alive. We are at another new phase of the landscape of HIV, and plain and simple, it’s a game-changer. Those that are embracing it are being harshly judged by others for doing so. We are essentially sabotaging ourselves within our community.

I talked of this dynamic with my doctor recently, and she was fascinated as she is a huge advocate for PrEP usage. She was saying that something very similar occurred in the sixties when the Pill became available as a means of birth control for women. She was saying that many Pill users were being harshly judged by other women for this new birth control means, with accusations of being irresponsible and promiscuous. Women were embracing a new opportunity to enjoy their sexuality, and other women were shaming them for it. Jealousy of one another was being expressed in the form of ‘false concern’. I see the exact same thing happening with gay men currently.

Regardless of how you may feel about PrEP, the fact remains that it is a new breakthrough approach to effective HIV prevention and is laying the groundwork for future medical advances. To go on PrEP is a personal choice and one that every individual should educate themselves about when they do so. But let me just remind everybody that a person’s decision to go on PrEP and enjoy their sexuality ISN’T ABOUT YOU. Yes you may express your concerns about other STI’s or a false sense of security and all that, but ultimately what this person elects to do with their body and their sexuality is their business and not yours. If that makes you angry, that’s something going on with you, not them. Perfectly well-meaning strangers will readily express their concern about the safety of somebody’s sexual actions, yet would never say to the person, “you’re obese and that’s unsafe. You should lose weight.” or “smoking’s bad for you. You should quit”.  Also, if you have lost a friend or a loved one to AIDS – and almost all of us have – think about what they are saying right now as they are observing the shaming going on. Mine would say, “stop being stupid bitches to each other and take the damn blue pill.”

By the way I must share something ironic that happened recently. A friend of mine responded to my opinion on this with a tremendous about of vitriol, saying “you are promoting stupid, careless behavior that is justifying people to be unsafe and irresponsible.”

….he sent that to me as a text. While driving.

 

 

Additional resources:

Prepfacts.org

My Life on PrEP

My PrEP Experience Blog

 

Aftercare – Not an afterthought

Occasionally it’s bound to happen. You’re going to hook up with somebody off a kink hookup site whose level of experience is a bit less than what is publicized in their profile. So be it – it just means you get the opportunity to provide a mind-blowing first time for someone and that can be great fun.

My husband and I had this occur about eight months ago. We invited a young man over to be tied up and beaten on, with a focus on suspension coupled with some caning and percussion play. Okay, so he claimed to have had some history doing this in his online description but alas when he arrived he fessed up to be more of a newbie. We could certainly work him into it slowly. What was intriguing about this particular play date though was that the boy was quite tall – 6 foot 5 inches to be precise! Sir Bart and I love a challenge, and this was proving to be an enticing one, especially from a physics standpoint.

After some ground rules were laid out and a foundation for communication was established, we stripped the boy down and proceeded to rig him up in our suspension layout. Because of his size it was definitely a two-man effort and yes, we actually had to acquire a small step ladder to accomplish half of the restraining.  Laugh all you want, but the boy was moaning with pleasure. After we were satisfied with his mid-air positioning, we blindfolded him and buckled a thick gag into his mouth. Again, more moans of pleasure ensued. We continued with chaining his limbs out so he was completely helpless, and solidified the fact by inserting one of the ass toys he brought into his hole. He shook with delight at all that was being done to him.

When we were satisfied that he was alright in his airborne predicament, we asked if he was ready to play with some pain. He nodded his head with great enthusiasm, and Bart and  I looked at each other excitedly, ready to afflict. Bart attached a pair cruel tarp clamps to the boy’s nipples which caused him to writhe and swing, and I proceeded to snap a ball parachute on his jewels. Then we brought out the canes, and rhythmically hit his chest with them.

“How are you doing boy?” I would ask after each set of thumps. “Ready for a little more?” He would respond with a nod and I would continue, increasing tempo and impact. Sir Bart busied himself with the boy’s balls, progressively smacking them harder and harder as my caning continued. The boy was excited and moaning louder and louder and nodding his head inviting even more…

…and then, his head dropped, and he gave the verbal signal that he suddenly needed to stop. We promptly removed the leather gag and asked, “you alright boy?” He shook his head and was breathing hard.

“Sir..I – I can’t breathe. I’m -I ..oh god…” he said as he broke into a clammy sweat.

We knew exactly what was happening. He was basically having an overload of stimulus and endorphins, and was panicking himself into a bad headspace. I immediately took off his blindfold and gently grabbed his face. “It’s okay boy. We’ve got you. Slow your breathing down. You’re fine.”  Bart applied a cold wet towel to the back of the boy’s neck to alleviate any nausea as I gently stroked the sides of the boy’s head. “Calm boy. Slow breaths. We’ve got you. We’re going to bring you down.”

The boy focused on steadying his breathing as we unlocked the restraints and eased his tall body back to the ground. He was shaking and sweaty, and above all scared and what he was feeling.  So we brought him into the bedroom and laid his naked body out on the bed (again, a two-man job) and administered some aftercare. I laid down next to him and pulled his body in close to mine with his head on my chest, and ran my fingers through his hair to relax his mind and make him feel safe. At that point, he began to cry.

“Sirs, I don’t know what is happening to me. Why am I crying?” he said.

Reassuringly I responded, “Shh. It’s alright boy, you just experienced something very intense and it gave you a release. You don’t have to understand why.” Sir Bart then covered the boy with a blanket and just let him come down from the journey he took with us. I held onto him and allowed him to feel whatever he felt. His breathing slowed down and his body reached a calm state. We then brought in some cold water to hydrate him and some grapes to help his blood sugar back up. Frozen grapes to be precise – they are like crack if you’ve never tried them.  Eventually he felt like himself again and as he was getting dressed him said, “that was the most intense ride I’ve ever been on! Thank you Sirs, especially for taking care of me.”

The incident was a perfect example of why aftercare is such an important component of play. You are taking the sub on a journey where their breathing and heartbeat and ‘wavelengths’ are being brought up to a peaked level of intensity. To simply end without bringing them back down would leave them feeling ‘jarred’ into a kind of negative shock, and it’s not healthy in play. In fact, you could execute a brilliant scene as far as your skills and technique are concerned, yet negate all you created by not bringing the bottom back to a stable ground. This tall boy had never experienced this kind of intense play before. Had we not taken the time to actually take care of him and enable him to process what was going on in his body and mind, conceivably we could sabotage his desire to explore any kind of future kink play. That, would be a tragedy.

Incidentally, I feel very strongly that Doms need aftercare as well. We put a lot of energy and attention in taking the sub on a journey while being vigilant about their headspace and their safety. When the scene is complete, the Dom has worked very hard. I find it makes me feel ‘whole’ again to have my own means of coming down from a scene. Most anyone who has played with me knows that one of my favorite things after topping in a scene is having my back rubbed by the bottom. I know it sounds tame, but it really makes me feel connected to the person I’ve embarked on the journey with. It’s a non-verbal way of saying “thank you” for the awesome scene that was created.

And yes, the tall boy did offer to rub my back once he felt like himself again. And the best words came out of his mouth when he offered to do so:

“It will be my pleasure to massage you Sir. Did I mention I’m a chiropractor?”

It’s times like this where I LOVE being me 🙂

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Photos of Sir Dart and Delano by Michele Serchuk

Divide by 7

The title of this article refers to a term my husband created. It’s a particular approach he takes when somebody shares an involved kink fantasy they are propositioning with us.  My husband has a Tumblr page that many of you have seen; and if you haven’t, please have a NSFW look: Sir Dart’s PitBull . There you will find many pictures of our own scenes in our playroom, as well as some reblogged favorites from other sites. We have all kinds of fun with the things we have come up with and it’s been an awesome challenge crafting new devious things we can do to subs or each other there.

But it never fails. We will get a message on Recon from a fan of the Tumblr page, and they will seek to have us play out an intense long-term bondage scene with them. Now THAT’S an honor and very flattering, and many of these guys we would actually love to be the perpetrator of captivity for. So we engage them and find out the details of their scene, and what ensues is more on the lines of an epic 3-part film directed by Ridley Scott (which come to think of it would be a really hot theatrical experience). The person will cite the intense bondage drawings of Leo Ravenswood and the accompanying stories of men being kept at the Estate in strict 24/7 imprisonment, with an IV to provide necessary fluids and a catheter to dispose of body waste. “That’s how I want to be kept, Sirs.”  They will say things like, “I want to be turned into more than a slave, I want to be completely stripped and objectified and given no rights or privilege – caged and chained up and hooded and just be a piece of furniture with a barcode tattooed on the back of my neck showing your ownership of me, and kept like that for weeks…and I’ll gladly relocate from Belgium…”

Hmm.

Well, I mean, it does sound hot. In one’s head.

Now, let’s apply a little logic. Or as my husband would say, “take this scenario and divide by seven, and you’ll get what’s really feasible”.

I know of some guys – particularly younger ones who are more flexible and quite frankly have more energy – that can withstand a much longer bondage scenario, even overnight.  We’ll chat with guys online or at parties about things like mummification or some kind of sensory deprivation play, and they’ll tell us that the longest they’ve been wrapped up is 23 hours, and they want to break their record.

Hmm.

One of the devices that we have in our playroom is a bondage box that my husband built. It’s very confining and has multiple means of restraint both inside and out. It’s great fun to play with but the longest I have ever lasted in it is an hour. My husband holds the record of three hours. It’s not that it’s not constantly arousing or secure, it’s just that sooner or later, your body cramps up from being in the same immobilizing position. Or a limb starts to itch and won’t stop. Or you have to pee. Or…the novelty passes, and suddenly the hotness of the fantasy isn’t matching the reality.  We’ll tell guys of the duration of time that we’ve spent locked up in the box and they’ll come back with something like, “Oh I would last far longer” or more often “I don’t want to be given the option of being let out. I want to spend the night in it and be locked up for at least a day!”

Hmm.

Now take that desire and divide by seven, and you’ll get something that is a lot more doable for everyone involved, and in the end just as hot. I mean, I have no issue trying something like this, but bear in mind that as the top, I want to feel engaged with the captive sub. These proposed scenarios basically set us up to be more like babysitters, and after a while I’m probably going to get bored. It’s possible the sub might actually too eventually, and then feel disappointed that they aren’t going to last as long as their mind thought.

I can tell you of a few times where friends of mine have actually played out their detailed long-term imprisonment fantasies to the hilt, almost following their desired ‘script’ verbatum. What they describe is of course amazing, but they have also said that something odd occurred during the course of the play. They didn’t get hard. At all. Like, even when they were allowed to be aroused with absence of chastity, they didn’t. They said it was as if their mind was so blown away that they got to finally play out their ultimate dream that the synapses were in overdrive and they couldn’t process it – and thus not get aroused. Apparently this is quite normal. In fact one kinkster friend of mine described it perfectly with the analogy of getting married and all the anticipation leading up to the momentous ceremony. She said, “ask anyone who has gotten married how much they remember about the wedding itself. Most will say they hardly remember it.”  I would agree accept I remember my wedding very well, because I was clad in tight head to toe leather and cried like a big ol’ girl…

Know the limits of reality. They are okay. If your scene suddenly gets cut short because of them, it doesn’t have to be seen as a FAIL. Fantasies and the in-depth creations in our kinky minds can be boundless and infinite, and they should be. It’s our twisted imaginations that keep our desire to play ignited. Just remember though that an actual playscene doesn’t have to live up to the expectations created by our imagination in order to be fulfilling. Often when it comes to play, less really can be more. And this way the players are left with the rush of the exchange and not disappointment.

And that being said, below is MY favorite story by Leo Ravenswood, The Great White Hunter  🙂

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Being a Carnival Ride

When I first began learning rope bondage, I got very amped about getting to play with others and show them my new skill. Having been strictly a rope bottom in my twenties, I got excited at the prospect of finally getting to ‘turn the tables’ and tie up hot men myself. And sure enough, that’s how it all started to unfold for me. I would go out to bars like the Faultline in LA – one of my favorites – and bring a bag of rope with me seeing what kind of trouble I could craft. Everyone would have a bit of a buzz going on from the beer, inhibitions would lower, and out I’d bring a length to carry out the deed.

“What’s that for..?” they would ask coyly, often with a grin. And a nice little bondage scene would take place right there in the corner as I lashed them up. Other guys would watch with intrigue and give me their contact numbers to play, and eventually I began to be invited to parties and to teach at events.

As the months progressed, more guys would approach me asking to be tied up right there in the bar or to schedule a playscene at some point during the event. Sometimes it would be more than one, and immediately my weak ego was being fed. I drew this inaccurate conclusion of being popular and ‘desired’, and in turn setting myself up for great disappointment. Eventually as I continued playing and playing and accommodating other people’s dance cards, I would go back home or to my hotel room, and I’d feel empty. I didn’t understand why I felt that way, but it would get to be almost draining. It suddenly dawned on me, that I didn’t feel like the people I was tying up actually connected with me,  they just wanted the rush of what I could do with the rope. I thought, “oh gosh these people are drawn to me – doesn’t that just make me feel special” but the reality was, they were drawn to my skillset. I was confusing these experiences of others wanting me to do things to them as wanting to connect with me. I felt used.

I can remember a few years back when I accompanied friends to various events that we were all presenting at, and they would ask me, “Dart can you do me a favor? Will you tie up my husband at some point? Can you give my girl a bondage experience? My other half has trust issues but trusts you – can you do a rope harness on them?” It is a very flattering and honorable thing to be considered trustworthy by others in this fashion, but it can also make you feel a bit like a public utility. The problem with my friend’s requests was that some of the individuals I had no chemistry or attraction to, and to me the tying of the rope was a very intimate thing. So I would politely decline the request, and when I would diplomatically explain why, they would get offended. I wanted to say, “Hey don’t I have rights in this?”

As you learn new skills whether it’s bondage or pup handling or throwing a singletail whip, always remember that these are all an extension of yourself. Rope and other toys mean nothing until you infuse it with your own unique character and spirit. And that being said, it’s also up to YOU to preserve your energy and not let yourself become a carnival ride. The empty feelings I spoke of earlier were not the fault of the people I played with. They were all simply responding to what I was offering, and that was play without any kind of autonomy or boundaries for myself. It was my own doing that left me feeling so empty time after time.

Now if you’ve volunteered as a top for a sampler or educational event where people can come up and feel what the play is, that’s different. In those cases you have made yourself available and freely give the experience to others for the sake of broadening their horizons. If you are a bottom participating, even in those cases you must remember that the top is still using a great deal of their personal energy to share what they know. Honor that they are human beings like everyone else and may need aftercare of their own.

Keep this in mind as well if you are wanting to be on the receiving end of someone’s ability. If all you’re doing is focusing on what they can do, you are taking away from who they are; and you’re robbing an opportunity for a connection. Cherish that this person has given this extension of themselves to you and vice versa. To do so makes a cathartic exchange possible, and best of all leaves a possibility for seconds!

We should all strive to be an E ticket with one another!  🙂

cr4

 

 

The Pup Thing

Yes, after being strictly a handler for several years, it happened. Out of the blue, I found myself wanting to be a pup myself. I wanted to get on all fours with my leather mitts locked on my fists, my knee pads snugly in place, a collar on my neck and a tail in my arse that I could wag…

And yes, my pup name is Jet. Quite apropos.

So, how the hell did this happen? Apparently it’s a virus that lays dormant in the body for an extensive length of time until one day, it presents itself and you just have the urge. And when you do, all the other human pups smugly respond how they have been waiting for this day and that “they knew it all along” and blah blah blah. Or arf arf arf rather.

Actually the desire to explore being a pup came about from a suggestion made by a bondage playmate I was submitting to. One day he was threatening to turn me into a pup against my will and interact with me like that for the remainder of the session. It was honestly the first time I had ever considered being on the receiving end of a leash, and admittedly I was aroused by the idea. The time had come for me to have chew toys of my own.

And I have to say, it’s a blast. Sometimes with all the activity and being in charge that goes on with daily life, it’s great fun to get together with my handler Sir Brent (which doesn’t happen enough), get on all fours and play. There’s only the present moment when I’m in that mode – everything is just NOW. If it’s not in my present view, it doesn’t exist. And all I have to do is be on the receiving end of Sir’s love and affection, not to mention belly rubs. I like it because it’s simple; there’s not a lot of “rules” or extensive tradition-laden protocols we have to abide by. It’s very freestyle and organic, and we don’t have to deal with others telling us the way it’s supposed to be done. Now on occasion I will encounter a pup here and there who ascribe to the competitive “I’m more canine than thou” creed, citing claims that these newcomer kids just don’t truly understand and embrace the ‘pup spirit’ like the more seasoned hounds. Seriously? To me this is all about having a good time and freeing up in play. I’m not about to prove my authenticity by drinking out of the toilet.  Also, there are those who have been judgmental to leather newbies who choose pup play as their entry experience as opposed to be being a boy or a slave. They think it’s wrong that they are choosing what the apparent ‘trend’ is..

*Eye roll*. Calm down and throw me a squeaky. We’re all just having a good time. Keep it simple.

One other thing I’m really enjoying about this exploration is being part of an older demographic of pups. Puppy play is usually comprised of younger folks in their twenties and thirties, or at least the majority of what you encounter is that age range. To be a man in his late forties and be accepted as a kind of ‘alpha’ muscle pup that the younger pups look up to is a great joy. I actually have a pup brother named Spike who is of the same age bracket and body type. He is sexy and covered in tatts, and we have had many a hot scene, doggy style (I’ll let your mind go where it may with that). I also have a good friend whose pup name is Merit, and he loves when I address him as ‘beta’ as that is how he sees himself to Jet. There’s also Runt, Artie, Beast, Cobalt, Chopper –  to name a few; all dear friends with an added ‘canine’ benefit. Of course, sometimes in the mosh pit there’s the occasional wrestling match that ensues between pups in a fight for dominance. Hmm…wrestling with other hot human canines on the floor to achieve a position of power – bring it on!

*Wags*

Now to check out the new tails from Mr. S…

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Kink Alchemy

Back when I lived in Toronto I was in a relationship with a man who deemed himself a FOODIE. For those of you unfamiliar with this label, it’s more or less a person who has become a connoisseur of food to the point of ‘fetishizing’ the flavors and the way they interact with one another. These are people that have taken the act of savoring taste and texture of food to a heightened degree, and relish the ways the flavors come together to create a whole new experience on the palate. It’s not uncommon for wine to play a vital role in said exchange, and for some of us, it’s a required component. Indeed I used to marvel at some of the unique culinary combinations my ex would present for me; things that I would never imagine would complement each other in the way they did. Perhaps the most unique experience I had was the evening he served me a homemade french vanilla ice cream, topped with what appeared to be a very satiny dark chocolate syrup. In actuality, it was a reduction of balsamic vinegar, and before you all grimace, I must tell you that it was absolutely amazing! Certainly, it was nothing I would ever expect but was enough to give me a greater appreciation of mere mastication, and even risk adopting the ‘foodie’ identity for myself – at least without taking on the pretentiousness that can sometimes be found in this dining sub-culture – I do remember being at a party of gourmet event planners who were all engaged in a heated discussion about fleur-de-sel.

*insert eye roll*.

What foodies experience in the culinary realm is the exact same dynamic we kinksters experience in the playroom during a power exchange. (At least a really GOOD power exchange). It’s two or more individuals housing a particular energy and intention….along with a healthy dose of hormones, endorphins, and creativity…coming together and creating what is hopefully a mind-blowing nuclear reaction. A reaction that causes all parties involved to go beyond limits and perceptions – a reaction that alters all players for the better. (Or at least enough to make their toes curl and their heads spin). In other words, it’s chemistry.

One thing I absolutely LOVE about BDSM PLAY is that so much of it is not meant to be understood in words. It’s something that is experiential, not linear. You can try to explain the components of a power exchange and kinky intimacy with as much intellect as you can muster, but ultimately one doesn’t truly ‘know’ until they have experienced it for themselves. And chemistry is the backbone to this experience.

So what constitutes this cathartic reaction between players? Well for one, there’s the obvious – which would be a sexual attraction. And before you all jump on me I’m not saying that play always has to have a sexualized component present to be cathartic. Sometimes it has nothing to do with sexual arousal as we all know. But, I am always leery of players who fall into the belief that their skill or expensive toys are enough to bring me into the playscene with them. Years ago I remember being ‘shamed’ for turning down an invitation from a rope top that I simply had no attraction to. He scolded me, saying “Well the truth is, it’s what’s being DONE to you that matters…not whether you think the Dom is pretty or not.” Clearly the gentleman did not take rejection well. But I was young and it left me confused about power dynamics for quite some time. To me it has always been a combination of the two; it is simply part of the human design that we will naturally give ourselves into a stronger connection if there is an element of arousal present. You see this everywhere. Perhaps that makes me superficial but it’s one of the reasons why I don’t just randomly offer play for the sake of the experience to the other. I want to FEEL something with the person I’m tying up. Otherwise, as my friend Midori puts it, it makes you feel like a ‘public utility’.

Sometimes the connection is based on an attraction that is NOT easy to explain in words. Maybe the playmate(s) are not of the archetype that would tend to sexually draw you in, yet they possess a quality or trait that still presents something appealing. Many of us can attest to those times when we’ve felt drawn to play with someone and said, “There’s just something about them or who they are that I’m drawn to.” One of the most honorable things I experience is when a Dominant asks to explore a submissive headspace with me. They may feel that I’m simply a safe place to be vulnerable with – or perhaps I present something that speaks a lack of judgment for going there with me. Whatever the case, we both emerge with a greater understanding of ourselves and each other.  And trust is heightened. It could also be that most of them are bigger than me and could easily whoop my ass. One of my classic directives is, “I am Sir Dart. Now put me down, boy.”

I recently conversed with a young man and his Dom about expanding their experience level together. The boy shared his remorse of rope demos and videos he had participated in that felt very ’empty’. His story reminded me of the first bondage party in California I was ever invited to, way back when I was a more inexperienced Dom. Although it was a pansexual gathering, I was assured there would be plenty of male rope enthusiasts present who would love to submit to my binds. Off I went dressed like a member of the Village People with my packed bag of cotton clothesline from Home Depot, duct tape, handcuffs and a couple of bandannas. What can I say, it was early on in my experience level! I was greeted at the door by a gentleman clad in what appeared to be a cotton kimono from Pier 1 Imports, and was instructed to bow before entering the space. “There will be some very traditional Japanese bondage here this evening.” I arrived to the space to the sounds of a unique and ethereal musical piece I had never heard before…and was very captivated by its carnal tone. I asked the host what it was, and after a very judgmental scan of my attire (everyone was wearing kimonos and kilts….I was in chaps and a wifebeater) he arrogantly told me, “well it’s an import, and you probably won’t ever be able to get it here in the US. But it’s a new band called Enigma. Very rare.” I then decided to peruse the unique space, and was drawn to a large display of ropework activity happening in the largest room in the space.  There was a gaggle of spectators all mesmerized gazing at several women trussed up in what appeared to be extensive macramé and hovering above the ground with lifeless expressions on their faces. One of the voyeurs turned to me and whispered, “They have such poise in their stillness, don’t they?” I had no response so I merely nodded. It was very beautiful and impressive. It was also incredibly BORING. The only connection the dominants appeared to have was with showing off to the room. The subs were equally disengaged.  I actually spoke with one of the women afterwards and she stated, “when I feel his rope on me, it’s like I go somewhere else…I completely leave my being and all thoughts and concerns and I just go away from everything for a while.”  She reminded me of what I refer to in my classes as a “lima bean bottom”. Cooked lima beans are unique in that they will soak up however much butter you put on them and still be completely dry on the inside. There are subs out there that do the same thing with the energy you exude as a Dom….and it robs of the connection. So what I had witnessed were pairs of people that were never relating to each other to begin with. This was NOT chemistry…it was a display of ego.

Chemistry does not exist in the toys themselves, or in the extensive knowledge you may have of its use. A skein of rope or a thousand dollar handcrafted bullwhip are merely inanimate objects until we infuse them with our character, our spirit. When I teach a rope class I try to convey to the tops that if you are in the ‘zone’ with your sub, they are not going to care in the slightest WHAT kind of knot you’re using or how pretty it is. Chemistry is generated when you the toys and your afflictions become an extension of what you want to say to the sub…and in turn if they are connected to you they will return the energy with a loud moan or delightful squeal inviting more.  The connection is with the people; the toys are simply the conduit.

Sometimes chemistry has to be reignited or reinvented in the moment, because an unreasonable expectation was projected onto the other person or the play itself. Or sometimes the players are too ‘familiar’ with each others’ dynamic and they are falling into a routine. The other day my husband and I were about to engage in a bondage scene that I was very excited about, as I hadn’t played freestyle with rope in quite some time.  Shortly before the scene began, I was suddenly pulled into a phone conversation with my mother. I don’t think I need to elaborate on this…but needless to say I was not in the same aroused state of mind at the end of the call. Yet, I went forward with the scene, thinking that somehow my ‘edge’ would be there once I started handling the rope. Instead my mind was completely stuck on my mother’s bridge game anecdote and her latest conspiracy theories. And no matter how much I drew and cinched and tied, I couldn’t focus. Gently my husband said to me, “I see you attempting to play with the rope, but what I would like is for you to play with ME.” It was a gentle and kind indicator to step back…clear my mind with a quick chat…and go back in fresh. And then the play was wonderful!

As you all continue in your various experiences of leather and BDSM, never lose sight of the amazing catharsis that occurs in the dynamic of chemistry. Never forget that there are always connections to be had in play and relationships that ignite amazing shifts for one another. There are always new exchanges to be had – some of which are as unexpected as vanilla ice cream with balsamic vinegar. And of your existing connections, there are always new horizons to open up as your relationships grow and evolve together. Never stop discovering, never stop learning.  And above all, never stop playing! 🙂