Wednesday, September 29, 2010

His Voice Wears a Kilt

I’ve longed to see Daddy wear a kilt for what seems like forever. To me, kilts are my own idea of the epitome of domliness. It’s my fantasy for everything dark, intense, and hot. I know it’s not reality to throw a kilt on and call yourself a dominant. But damn, he’s got adorable legs and I have a thing for men in dresses. Right now though, that’s one thing that will need to remain firmly in the realm of fantasy. I’m ok with that. We’ll come back to it again.

While talking this morning, Daddy joked in his “domleh voice” that “his voice wears a kilt”. I thought about it and said, yeah, sometimes it does. But I don’t always answer to that voice. Which naturally got me wondering about relationships that were based upon those kilted voices, and the submissive's lack of one. In any relationship, people may ask any questions they’d like. But having a kilt doesn’t entitle them to receive the answers. At least not those that aren’t part of the negotiated bargain. I started to wonder why some submissives felt the need to answer every question asked by those kilted voices, and very often ended up regretting not sticking their fingers in their ears.

Relationships built on voices, which seem to me the way many online D/s ones are conducted, have fascinated me for some time. I’ve read threads where what I thought were probably pretty normal, ordinary, smart, women fall for some really awful bullshit and that they had lost their freakin minds. I’ve read threads where women, caught up in the thrill of webcams, texting, chatting, and immersion in the mechanics of D/s, didn’t quite understand that this isn’t for the weak of will. Predators and abusers can and will find online relationships and do everything possible to make you question yourself, your motives, your other relationships, your intelligence, and even your sanity. What’s interesting to me, is that it seems a lot of the women posting online have more of a need to jump into the experience D/s, than they do to understand why they do some of the things they agree to without any sort of boundaries.

Unfortunately, the online experience seems to be rather disappointing for many. It’s as if they’re trying to live up to the fantasy, hearing the kilt, and forgetting that when all is said and done, they’ve got to shut off the computer and live with their decisions. And sometimes those decisions, made when listening to the voice in the kilt, aren’t exactly the best ones. How many times have I wondered about those women who willingly give up bank account information, passwords, family secrets, and more, to a voice wearing a kilt and wanted to just shake them out of their ennui? Are people so hungry to experience the Chateau, that they don’t realize that the books leave out too much information to truly be useful as a guide?

I can imagine sitting at a computer screen, pouring out my fears, my dreams, my dirty nasty little secret fantasies to a kind, caring, attentive dominant. I’ve done it. Listening to his voice behind the words we typed, running my own fingers along my neck where he’d put them the last time we were together. Talking to him, flirting with him. Before we lived together, Daddy and I spent a lot of time online. It was easier to tell him when things are bothering me when I was typing them. But our conversations always had context. I knew I’d see him in a few days, I’d touch him, and we’d be together. The online was a supplement to, not a substitute for, our relationship. But while I was pouring my life out into the computer screen, I would always feel as if something was missing. I heard his voice in my head while we were talking online. But it never wore the kilt.

I’ve known Daddy for nearly two years. We’ve been living together for almost six months. In all that time, there’s never been a Chateau. There has never been the bodice-ripping, non-consent, romantic overpowering thrills found in the novels (although he has cut off some underwear a few times). There has been step-by-step negotiating, adding things when we were both ready, and removing things that didn’t work after we’d tried them. Our relationship hasn’t been static nor has it been all fun and games. We still talk online sometimes. Because we’re not together all day, every day, checking in online is a nice way to show that we’re thinking about each other. Sometimes we just check plans. But often, we just leave the chat window up while we’re doing other things.

But even though we live together, there are still boundaries that we haven’t negotiated around yet. I can’t imagine getting caught up in the kilt so much that I’d lose myself. My submission doesn’t need to be deepened. It’s as deep as it’s ever going to be. The levels of control Daddy and I may negotiate may expand, but my submission is secondary to my common sense. Daddy owns me in every sense of the word. But he’ll be the first to tell you that he’ll never be able to force me to do anything I refuse to do, nor to feel my emotions any way except how I do.

Daddy doesn’t want to control some things, nor do I wish to cede control of them. Someday maybe that’ll change. Maybe it won’t. Either way, we’ll still have our D/s relationship. It’s never an all or nothing. Probably the only time in my own life where it’s not. Yes, we share many things, especially when it comes to family, but even then, we do that without the kilt. There are some things that we try not to discuss within our D/s relationship. Sometimes he doesn’t need his submissive. Sometimes he just needs me to be there. As his girlfriend.

This is what online submission misses, I think. The negotiation, the concentration, and the sheer amount of WORK that goes into making a D/s relationship work. I can’t just shut off the computer screen and put an end to the voice in the kilt. It’s when I shut off the screen and listen to his unkilted voice, the voice when he just needs his girlfriend to be there with him, that is the reality of submission.

It’s the test of whether or not we can live with ourselves when the power goes off.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Scratching the Niche



As anyone who reads this blog knows, I write mainly about how my relationship with Daddy makes me think. It’s not strictly about D/s, rope, or sex, although all of them have been mentioned once or twice. Mostly it’s about my learning to understand and accept that even after many years of being in various bdsm relationships, I still don’t have all the answers. There’s always something I can learn.

When talking with Daddy about my blog, I joked with him that I felt like I was a fraud for not writing about sex toys, putting our entire sex life out there, or writing my fantasies as erotica. As usual, he laughed and said that I had a different niche.

I didn’t intentionally start blogging and avoid writing sex toy reviews. It’s just that there’s really so much I can shove in my cunt and talk about it. Other people write really great articles about toys. You can find some of them on my blogroll. If there’s a toy I want to know about, I’ll talk to BadBadGirl.

I started blogging because there was a real lack of what I thought was real people writing about issues which happened in every relationship. BDSM or otherwise. I may talk about sex or scenes or other fun and kinky things, but my main reason for blogging was to try to put a voice to the confusion I’d found in reading the how-to manuals for D/s and erotica.

I attend a lot of classes. Daddy and I have even taught quite a few of them. When we teach, one of our main themes is that there’s no one way of doing things, and that re-evaluation and relationship examination needs to take place constantly if it’s going to work. We may teach a skill, but what I think we’re really trying to teach is how to take that skill and adapt it for your own relationship. Just because it’s being taught in a particular way, you should take what works for you and don’t feel badly because you’re “not doing it right”.

After attending a ton of classes, I ended up writing about what I’d learned. I’ve written about NEDS classes, Shibaricon classes, Bound in Boston classes, private classes taught by Jay Weisman, Lee Harrington, Sir C, and Twisted Monk. I’ve written about my Fetish Flea classes, my Grue experience, the seminars, conferences, and classes taught by Megan Andelloux, Princess Kali, and Midori and more. If I attend a class, con or seminar, I’ll probably write about what I’ve learned. I think that if someone teaches, it’s fair game for a review. Fortunately, I’ve rarely been disappointed.

The Kink Academy is inviting bloggers to write for a chance to take part in reviewing their use of the website. When I think about the times I’ve used it, it’s always been very helpful, but I never really thought to write a review of it in this blog. I know that we’ve used Lee Harrington’s video to remember how to do a particular tie, and I’ve perused other parts of the site for refreshers on other things (HiOhMegan in particular), but for some strange reason, I never thought of watching and reading the site as a “class”. But that’s exactly what it is. The Kink Academy is a site filled with classes, when I need them, when I have time for them, and when they’re most useful to me. Exactly when I WANT to learn something. My smile at the idea of doing this, is only slightly smaller than my ideas of what kind of really kinky things I can learn to practice with Daddy.

When I mentioned this to Daddy, as usual told me to go for it. But he did remind me that as much as I really love watching Princess Kali doing a face slapping safety demo, I’ve got to remember that under no circumstances, will HE be the one getting slapped, no matter how safely I think I could do it.

Don’t worry, I’ve got that written down in my notes. Right between thou shall never tease daddy by hiding his iPhone, and trying to remember where I left my favorite pair of blue high heels.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Another Chance to Explore Sexual Freedom



Megan Andelloux is a fabulous woman. I think I've mentioned that one or two times?
I've had this program on my schedule for some time. I try never to miss a chance to hear awesome people talk about sex and sexuality in an informative, positive, and oftentimes funny way. If you're in the area, why not take some time on a Sunday afternoon and join me?



“Talking About the Taboo: Discussing Difficult Issues in Human Sexuality”

Join us for this educational conference where you will meet some of the brightest minds in the field of sexuality discussing the controversial, the challenging and the most thought provoking topics revolving around sexuality issues, (sex and shame, sex work issues, sex and aging, gender issues, sexual compulsivity and more).

Talking About the Taboo brings the medical communities, the activist communities and the pleasure communities all together under one roof. Come to the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health for our 2nd annual conference encouraging adults to safely access information about sexuality in a community format.

What Can You Get Out of Attending?
• Ask our panelists and small group workshop leaders questions
• Get answers to your sexual health related questions at the medical booths
• Network with other sexuality professionals and see what they are up to and how you could collaborate with them
• Check out the newest toys on the market
• Enter our silent auction to ensure you walk away with some gear that will keep your mind and body working after the event

Date: Sunday, October 10th
Time: 1:00-5:00pm
Where: 250 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI at The Grant Building
Parking: Free and ample parking
Suggested donation: 5.00 (for students) 10.00 (for professionals)

About The CSPH
The CSPH is dedicated to empowering and educating individuals about sexual health and pleasure. The CSPH offers sexual health resources, counseling, lesson plans, and education materials, creating an environment where community members can come together to advocate for sexual health, pleasure and education.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Sexual Freedom: Opportunity and Choice

In thinking about what sexual freedom means to me, I wondered if I even needed to really think about it.

I mean, I could imagine that transpeople, polypeople, non-heteropeople all might need some boosting in the "right to just be left alone" category, but what did I really have to say on this subject? What could a white, heterosexual, monogamous, forty-something woman know about sexual freedom?

And then I thought, that without sexual freedom, we're all in danger of losing something important. Our identity as individuals, with individual needs and desires. And our collective identity as a society that values choice. I would lose my right to just practice my own sexuality in a way that fulfills me, my needs, and makes me who I am. I don't truly have sexual freedom, I have hidden too much of my life from family and friends to ever think that.

We make choices every day in our lives. Seldom does one that we make bring out the worst in other people. Seldom do other people even care about our choices. Choose a religion and you're pretty much ok, even if your choice isn't mainstream. Choose a political party and while some people might question your taste, they'll never deny you the freedom to make the choice.

But for some reason when you add qualifiers regarding gender, orientation, or sex, it becomes open season. Suddenly, who we are, what we do, and the choices we make, are fodder for politicians, religious-ians, legislators, and the rest of the everyday world. Suddenly there's fear involved. Fear that the non hetero, non-monogamous- non-sexuallyaligned - uberperverts will contaminate their lives. Fear that we're on a conversion spree and that we'll somehow devalue their own freedoms.

When I asked my sister, the suburban housewife, born again Christian and neo-Baptist what the phrase "sexual freedom" meant to her, she replied “oh, that’s when you can do whatever you want, with whoever you want. We don’t believe in that”.

But, when it boils right down to it, I think that's exactly what she believes in.

You see, the perception that my sister has about sexual freedom being not something she "believes" in, is exactly what it is all about. Sexual freedom isn’t just about “fucking like a man”, gay marriage, transgendered rights, unisex bathrooms, or doing whatever, wherever, and with whomever you want, it’s also about the choice an individual makes NOT to do them. Or to do them differently from one another. It's the freedom to have what my sister has. Just in the way that makes me happy.

She’s made her choice about her own sexual freedom. For her, it’s a monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Whether she’s made that choice based on her own needs, or the ones that society (or our mother) places on her, it’s still her decision to make. I don’t try to talk her out of it. She's able to make her choice because that's the one that she views right for her.

For me, it’s a little different. Sexual freedom for me is opportunity and choice.

It's the opportunity to explore emotions and love in whatever way I choose, without boundaries set by anyone except myself. It’s the opportunity to recognize that inner core of a person, rather than the equipment they may have, and the opportunity to fall in love and experience that love with whomever makes me happy. It’s the opportunity to say that I’m not sick for wanting something different than my sister. It's the opportunity to just live in the way that feels right for me. It's the opportunity to love, live, and yes, even fuck, who I want, as I want and when I want, or if I don't want. Without feeling dirty, ashamed or unimportant.

I don't ask others to want the same opportunities, just that they don't legislate away my ability to have them. I may not ever take advantage of some of them personally, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I don't at least want the opportunity to do so should I find that someday, my needs, ideas, and well-being require it.

To me, sexual freedom is about the choices I make. For my reproductive life, my health, my safety and my peace of mind. That others don't understand my need to feel pain, can't be helped by legislating away my right to consensually agree to it. That others don't agree with my choices to call my boyfriend sir, let him whip me, or call me a whore, shouldn't give them the right to make them for me. That people wish to prevent me from watching porn, marry who I want, or tell me that birth control is evil may make them feel safer in their own lives, but denies me the same safety in mine.

Those that tell me that letting a man hit me is wrong, that wearing what I like, talking openly about kink, or engaging in bdsm makes me a sick fuck who can't be trusted around children, to serve in the military, or to be a valued employee, friend, or family member doesn't make them free from my choices. It just solidifies their own prejudices as the only "right" one.

To me, sexual freedom isn't just about my right to experience my life in a way that harms no one, changes nothing for anyone else, and brings me opportunity and choice in how I live my life; sexual freedom is also making my sister understand that the freedom she has to make her own choices is indeed sexual freedom as well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Canes and Switches

Saturday night brought another party. This one was the Bound in Boston afterparty. We’d missed the actual Bound in Boston due to unalterable religious commitments. Read that as daddy was Yom Kippuring. I was shopping for shoes.

We got a special pass for the party. Ordinarily you have to attend the BiB to be allowed in, and although I’m not always comfortable having rules bent in my favor, this time I let it go. We’d needed some kinky friends and almost all of ours were at the BiB that weekend. I’m grateful that RopeRider bent the rules a bit for us.

At the party, we started playing early. Daddy tied my hands to bar hung from the ceiling. At first, I thought he was getting a little miffy with me because I wasn’t exactly being cooperative. You see, while he was tying me, I’d been trying to “leave myself an out”.

I'd thought that he kind of wanted me to just stand there and take a beating, something I'm not really into, especially in a public play setting. We’d seen too many times how that particular activity plays out in public. I feel like a piece of meat, on display, and disconnected from him. As if he’s hitting me, and I’m just standing there and could be anyone. Usually I end up in tears and we end up spending a big part of the night trying to figure out what went wrong. I was torn between wanted to do what he wanted (which was just to tie me up and hit me) and knowing that if that's what happened, I'd be disconnected from him in a matter of minutes. Heck, the disconnection had already begun when he’d stopped for a second because the knot had shifted on my wrist and made my hand go numb. He looked at me and I just kind of looked at him. He then said the words to me that I’m sure he’ll regret to his dying day: “you can fight back ya know?”

Brat On. With Permission.

He’d untied one of my hands (forgetting that I'm right handed). But to even things up, he'd tied one of my ankles and kept the other end of the rope. When he started caning my ass, I noticed that he’d left the cane bag within reach. There were several nice canes in there, just begging to be let out. I didn't have time to choose, I just grabbed the cane bag, yelped through a couple of well-placed strikes and thought about whether or not I really wanted to, like you know, actually HIT daddy? He was trying to cane me, while my range was limited by my still-tied hand, and the fact that he could yank my foot wherever he wanted to. I decided to step on the rope with my other foot, so he had to come closer.

I grabbed one of the canes out of the bag and brandished it like a sword. Sword fighting with canes is a bit difficult while tied to a bar and with only one foot available. It’s doubly hard when the other person’s reach is greater than yours. And it’s triply harder when you’re not really trying to hurt the other person, but he’s not too concerned with making contact anywhere on your body.

He got a couple of good cracks in with the cane, and I yelled “THAT HURT you mean bastard!” with a twinkle in my eye and a giggle. That’s when people started watching us.

We’d sword fought with the canes for a while, with him getting in far more cracks on me that I on him. And through every one of them, I’d laugh. I got him pinned to pole and got a good one across his ass. (I said sorry). We were having a ball. Him caning my arms, my ass and my legs (even the bottom of my foot when I’d lifted it to try to grab his boy bits with my toes). We were laughing and egging each other on. And I had marks all over me. My eyes were all on Daddy, I didn’t notice anyone else. All I wanted to do was to get him to come closer so that I could crack his ass with the cane again. He’d stolen several canes from my hands. But he was a gentleman when he helped me out when I’d taken one from the bag and held it by the wrong end. (I told you I wasn’t looking at anything else.) It was exciting, amusing, and interesting. We were having a ball. The entire dungeon dropped away and it was just the two of us playing with each other.

And it happened again.

He stopped and looked at me and said that he had to stop. He was done. At first, I thought I’d hurt him and was worried. Then I remembered the last time. I looked at his face and realized that I’d worn him out. We got me untied, put the canes away, and went to find a place to sit.

While we were leaving the floor, people stopped and said things like “you guys were hilarious”, or “we’d been placing bets”. Sometimes our friends can be such jokers. Later on, people were talking with me about that scene and they’d mentioned things about how they’d never be able to get away with “stuff like that”. They also wondered why Daddy let me behave that way. I just said that we’d developed a style of public play that worked for us. I said that the things we do at parties are not really how we prefer to play, but that the things we really like to do, don’t really have a place in a public dungeon. We prefer floor work, intense pain, and usually end up fucking. If you’ve seen the floors in most dungeons, and can’t get into a decent headspace to take intense pain, you’d understand why we had to find something else. And that whole fucking in public thing. That squicks more people than any amount of screaming and pain play that I've ever seen.

We spent a lot of time at the party afterwards talking to our friends. We watched a few scenes, (Coyotetoo got needles for the first time), and most importantly Daddy got to snuggle and snog a couple of people he really enjoys. Around 2 am, we’d decided to call it a night.

On the way out, as we were leaving, we were talking to our friend CyberKat. She was with her friend Dragon and when Daddy mentioned that “canes hurt”, Dragon said something about that's one of the problems when you're a switch.

And so the story continues. People, even our friends who are used to seeing us play like this, still don’t understand that just because a dominant gives his submissive permission to fight back, that it doesn’t make the top a switch. I wasn't doing anything that I hadn't been expressly given permission to do. ie: fight back. I wasn't out to hurt daddy or teach him a lesson. I fully expected him to win and get all the canes. I fought back as if I had everything to lose, when in actuality I've already GIVEN daddy everything long ago. I fought back not to win, but to interact, react, and play with Daddy. We don't get to do that a lot. And sometimes we both really just need to smile, laugh and enjoy whatever happens. The sort of predictability that comes within uncertain parameters.

Daddy is definitely not a switch. I guess people just arent' used to seeing domley doms have fun with their submissives. But as Daddy is so fond of saying, it's not all roses and leather underwear. Or to paraphrase, it's not all floggings and subspace. When we play like that, he's still the dom and I'm still the submissive. He's still firmly in control. It's just that sometimes he has to work harder to keep it. Does not always giving him his right to control me easily make him a switch?

Nope, but it sure makes it easier for me to cane HIS ass WITH a switch ::wink::

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Naked Google: Bend Over And Kiss It



When I talk to new people about BDSM related topics, one of the first things they usually ask is "how do I find the information I need?" My stock answer is Google it.

Not anymore.

You see, Google has done something really weird. They've decided to censor certain words so that they don't show up as searches. Ostensibly this is to "protect the children" from all those horrible pornographers and other Bad Words found on the interwebs. I don't know what's going on in the minds behind this instant search thing, but I can tell you that I don't like it.

Words that people might search, like "rape" in order to find a rape crises center near to them, are coming up blank. If you're not web savvy enough to actually hit the return key, you won't get any results. This might lead you to believe that there's nothing for you to be found. Those searching for Naked Fish (a restaurant) or this blog, will find nothing.



Just a Big Fat Empty Space



Perhaps when people get used to the new search, things will calm down. I'm not tech-savvy enough to know will happen with it. All I know is that I find Google to be less and less likeable as my favorite search engine these days. But a quick search of another popular search engine, Bing.com yields the same results. Censorship is apparently coming to a computer you use faster than you can type.

I've tried dozens of searches: BDSM, Shibari, and Naked to name a few. None of those searches yielded any results unless you hit the return key. That small thing of remembering to hit the return key, may prevent some people from seeing information that they are looking for. Go ahead, try it yourself as these people did here: Sex In the Public Square Lest you think it's only the "naughty" words that get special treatment, try typing in a search for "jew". If I was looking for information on jews, jewish, or judaism, I'm betting that I won't find it on the first page results. In case you're wondering, every result on the first page of a "jew" search is for the singer Jewel. Who, I'm pretty sure isn't jewish.

Here's what happened when I searched the fairly innocuous term "jew":

An explanation of our search results

If you recently used Google to search for the word “Jew,” you may have seen results that were very disturbing. We assure you that the views expressed by the sites in your results are not in any way endorsed by Google. We’d like to explain why you’re seeing these results when you conduct this search.

A site’s ranking in Google’s search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query. Sometimes subtleties of language cause anomalies to appear that cannot be predicted. A search for “Jew” brings up one such unexpected result.

If you use Google to search for “Judaism,” “Jewish” or “Jewish people,” the results are informative and relevant. So why is a search for “Jew” different? One reason is that the word “Jew” is often used in an anti-Semitic context. Jewish organizations are more likely to use the word “Jewish” when talking about members of their faith. The word has become somewhat charged linguistically, as noted on websites devoted to Jewish topics such as these:

Someone searching for information on Jewish people would be more likely to enter terms like “Judaism,” “Jewish people,” or “Jews” than the single word “Jew” In fact, prior to this incident, the word “Jew” only appeared about once in every 10 million search queries. Now it’s likely that the great majority of searches on Google for “Jew” are by people who have heard about this issue and want to see the results for themselves.

The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results. Individual citizens and public interest groups do periodically urge us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Although Google reserves the right to address such requests individually, Google views the comprehensiveness of our search results as an extremely important priority. Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it. We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our Webmaster Guidelines, if we believe we are required to do so by law, or at the request of the webmaster who is responsible for the page.

We apologize for the upsetting nature of the experience you had using Google and appreciate your taking the time to inform us about it.

Sincerely,
The Google Team

P.S. You may be interested in some additional information the Anti-Defamation League has posted about this issue at http://www.adl.org/rumors/google_search_rumors.asp. In addition, we call your attention to Google’s search results on this topic.



One of my favorite Justices perhaps said it best:

Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart


Although D/s is about authority/power exchange, I don't want to live in an authoritarian regime. Certainly not inside my computer. I much prefer to freely explore anything online that I want to, without restriction and without somebody dumbing it down for me. I'm pretty confident in myself and can usually be trusted with all kinds of information.

Mr. Google....you've got some 'splaining to do. In the meantime: Press ENTER to search!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Public Service Announcement

I've been a fan of Princess Kali for a couple of years. When I first saw her at a NEDS class, I was in awe of her ease and ability to have fun with her kink. I was so terrified of teaching my first class, I remember telling Daddy that the way I got through it was to channel the Princess. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I can only hope that my poor imitation during my first teaching assignment flattered her as much as I'd hoped.

Since then, I've met the Princess many more times. At first, I'll admit I was a wee bit intimidated, but after a while I'd realized that she's exactly as she appears: a kindred shoe slut and damned fine kinky ambassador.

So, I'd like everyone I know to take a look a this video and seriously think about joining the Kink Academy. Not only will you find some really awesome educators, but you'll get views of the Princess (shoes and boots included) showing newbies and oldtimers alike, how to have fun with their own kinks.

If a Tree Falls in the Woods....

It used to be, that if you screwed up with a bottom, there were people around to take you to task for it. Disregard a safeword, touch something that didn’t belong to you, or even hit on a submissive without being polite got you into some serious hot water. You were entitled to make a mistake. Once. A second screw up, and you’d be wondering why your friends never call anymore. Seriously hurt a bottom, even unintentionally, and your odds of finding a place to play or people to play with were significantly diminished.

In my younger days, S&M was a self-policing group of like-minded people. We had to be self-policing because there wasn’t really anyone to do it for us. There were no bulletin boards, classified ads, twitter, or fetlife to post your dirty laundry on. We took care of the problems we found. The few times I remember “those guys” hanging around, well let’s just say they didn’t last long. But it was also rare that anyone new came into our midst alone. Vouching and being responsible for newcomers lasted until they’d proven themselves to be able to handle their toys and themselves in a respectful way. It wasn’t exactly high protocol that you read about in the books. It was more or less that there were certain standards of privacy, respectfulness and skill that were expected from you.

With the internet, there has become for the first time, a way to call attention to unsafe players. This thread on Fetlife is one. Here's another. There have been many others.

It’s difficult to know the whole story. Is it a bad relationship? Is it just something that tweaked a particular person out but that isn’t really that bad? What exactly IS the problem? Take out the emotion of a lot of these posts and boil it down to facts and there's usually too little to work with.

The anonymity of the internet has done a lot to bring kink to people who never had the opportunities I did to find it first with living people. In the flesh. But it also has become a place where dirty laundry is aired in public. Without knowing the story, usually from a single source, and with no independent verification and nobody else who has seen the incident.

What used to be taken care of locally, within each individual community, now seems to be put out on the internet for everyone to view, sympathize with, and proselytize over. It takes extreme courage for a submissive to call out someone that has done something he or she believes to be extremely disturbing or unsafe, to complain if someone has done something to disregard the rules of RACK, to try to warn other submissives that “this person” is evil and not deserving of even HAVING a submissive. But my question is does it do any good in such a large forum as the internet or does it do more harm?

It is true that one person’s nightmare is anothers dream. So it also stands to follow that someone’s complaint is anothers fervent wish. Nobody wants to be the bottom who tittle-tattles. But how many times have we shared information with other bottoms about a particular top? Or taken that shared information and let it become fact? But when you stop observing and become reliant on others’ points of view for your own vetting process, you open yourself up to people who talk from sour apples, self-interest, and yes, even a genuine caring for others.

I’ve seen people wanting to start a “Bad Dom” or “Bad Sub” directory. Tell your story, get some sympathy for all you’ve been through, and publish the bastard’s name on the internet for the world to see! The phrase that always appears on these sorts of things is that the person posting wants to “warn” others against someone else. What it really does though is make the person posting the multi-national, multi-forum warning seem less than objective.

I’d laugh, except this sort of thing happens day in and day out on the internet.

Being involved in the legal field, I think I have a unique perspective on how facts, although never changing, can be viewed in many ways by different people. The same event is tinged by our own perceptions, emotions, and background. When I view these complaints I always ask if there’s any truth to the facts, and if so, how could I verify the outcome?

Do we start BDSM courts to judge each of us on our actions? Which rules are enforceable with certainty and who gets to make the penalties for breaches of the rules? After all, communities have standards right? If we’re going to have those standards, doesn’t it stand to follow that there also needs to be enforcement of them? Just who gets to say who is right and who is wrong?

And it occurs to me that despite the internet, the only way we can really weed out people that are truly unsafe, is right back where I started. In the local community. There are always leaders, con organizers, leather groups, clubs, and party hosts. Those are the people that need to know about problems in our community. Those are the people that can decide whether or not someone should or shouldn’t be invited to partake of our unique brand of togetherness. You can’t truly protect others from someone else in this arena. The truly awful people just move on, change names, and move to other venues. All you can really hope to do is protect yourself.

People who partake of BDSM activities come from all walks of life, all different experiences, and I’ve said time and time again that just because there’s a guy wearing leather and carrying a flogger and some rope, doesn’t mean that he’s any good at either of them. And just because there’s this hot chick with bare tits and ass in the room, doesn’t mean that she’s not capable of having given permission, yet having the “morning regrets” and come after you. There are people who will abide by the community code, and those that wont. Just because we HAVE expected behavioral rules, doesn’t mean that everyone follows them.

I would encourage people who have specific, quantitative, and verifiable complaints about anyone in your local community to indeed let those people know. But do it with not with impassioned diatriabes about “how you felt”, do it with concrete fact. “This Dom did not respect my safeword” is far different from “I heard that so-and-so might have pushed his submissive too far”. One is something that you know from personal experience, and the other is bullshit. If someone is truly unsafe, people should be made aware of that and watched carefully. I know that the rope community is very particular about calling out people whose ropework is unsafe and at least here in Boston, they’re very up front about whether or not someone has gotten hurt. Mostly it’s because others want to know and learn from the mistakes. And everyone does make mistakes. People who continue fucking up, don’t get asked back.

But If you’re just bitching because the guy told you he wasn’t married and all he wanted was a fuck and you fell for it, well....the community can’t and shouldn’t have to, protect you from yourself.

After all, in that example, I wouldn’t necessarily say it was the “guy” who was unsafe. I’d instead think that it might be the submissive that fell for the line and didn’t do her own fact-checking.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Edges of Laughter

I was reading a blogpost this morning by jonsbabydoll. In it, she talked about how public edge play makes some people uncomfortable. She’d worried that warning people about her extreme tastes in play, makes it seem like she’s bragging. Or conversely, telling them that their kinks are wimpish.

I giggled a bit when she talked about how faceslapping, spitting, and choking tended to freak even kinky people out. When she talked about waterboarding, I could understand her fascination with this. While I personally don’t like to be black and blued so much it’s difficult to work, I also understand the fascination of having those black and blues. I know that feeling of touching them in those few days afterwards and feeling the rush of memories of the scene come flooding back. Those bruises leave me feeling beautiful, wanted, desired, used and his. My mind can wander for days over touching one of those bruises. And touching them, feeling the ache in them, actually calms my brain.

I’ve gone to the opposite extreme as jonsbabydoll and warned people that our public scenes tend to get ridiculous. Daddy and I are goofballs a lot of the time in public. People are getting used to us playing like that. They laugh, we laugh, and personally I think laughter in the dungeon is a wonderful sound. I’m sure that Daddy would say he prefers moans and tears.

The few times we’ve played in public with faceslapping, which we both love, the main comment I get afterwards is that they had no idea how mean Daddy really is. People have gotten used to seeing him in Daddy-mode. They seldom realize that he can also be a vicious sadist. And I still think that they sometimes think I’m “too fragile” to take whatever Daddy is dishing out. My best friend says that faceslapping and choking are hard limits for her. I told her that I never think twice about them. This is a woman who plays with sadists who leave hematomas on her ass. But she thinks that faceslapping is edge play.

We play with emotions, triggers, fear, and pain. The darkness that we both feel safe exploring together. His sadism, which is the opposing side to his daddyishness, can be unleashed on a willing participant in circumstances that aren’t likely to end in a jail sentence. My masochism, which can be given in to, can be experienced without getting the feeling that I’m heading for a psych ward as a suicide risk. Sometimes our play is edgy, dark, and dangerous. I thrive on the experience of those things. Without them, I’d just be another girl who likes to be tied to the bed, blindfolded and made to do “dirty things”. Bedroom bondage is enough for many people. Spanking or flogging, while nice and can get me over the doldrums, doesn’t do it for me the same way that a scene where he can make me cry does. Where he can force from me those things I don’t want to give him. Where he can slap, pinch, bite, choke and actually make me feel the way I want to. Or the way he does.

What some consider edge play for themselves, is what I’d consider a great scene. I don’t like my friends to get freaked out or worry about me. I don’t consider them wimps for having limits that are different from mine. If I warn them at all, it’s because I don’t want them to worry about me or think that Daddy is doing something wrong. So to my friends who might see Daddy being something of a mean bastard, and me no longer laughing in the dungeon, don't worry so much.

If he’s slapped me, and if I’m crying or if I'm laughing, it’s a pretty sure bet that he’s done it exactly right.