The Kink Scene Is Not A Magic World (And That’s Okay!)

When you’re new to BDSM, you may have all sorts of hopes about meeting other kinky people. Especially if you’ve never really had a chance to do the things you like, it can be downright titillating to think about the sort of fun you’ll have a fetish party, or what sort of people you’ll find.

No, not these people.

BDSM societies are such a staple of pornography and erotica they’re a fetish in their own right. From the Chalet of O, to movies like Eyes Wide Shut, the idea that there’s a collective of attractive, wealthy and cultured people who share your turn ons holds a powerful draw.

Discreet, enlightened and racy. Sometimes on the cusp of legality. It can be daunting as well, especially if you are not sure what sort of mischief the scene-sters get up to.

Unfortunately, just as fiction gives us bucket-load ejaculations and  back pain free G cups, the scenes that exist are simply a collection of individuals. And being kinky doesn’t make a human inherently better. On top of that, as a sexy idea, it also causes even people within the scene to get a little ah… imaginative, and you get enduring folk myths like the importance of the Old Guard.

A digression: allegedly, at the end of the Second World War, among certain motorcycle clubs, dudes got up to gay leather S&M. The aesthetic is the kind found in illustrations by Tom of Finland. To this day, lots of people claim to be connected to this. In practice, the best they can claim is that they are inspired.

Actually, the member base is by and large more likely to share company with a sci-fi convention than society’s elite. which is not to say the elite can’t be kinky, just that there’s a lot of solidly middle class types because kink isn’t that expensive. And of course kink is not something only athletes and models get up to. You’re going to find every body type represented.

Another common assumption about the kink scene is that it’s more open minded. It is…to a point. You have to make space for people whose kinks are to shit on each, other or pretend to have incest and violent beating, alongside marrieds who just want to have an “old fashioned” relationship and trangendered people who like silk ties and feathers. On the other hand, everyone brings their own personal prejudices and everyone (even me!) would like to believe their way of doing kink is natural and everyone different is Doing It Wrong. Expect to snort your drink out your nose as people earnestly tell you that women are inherently submissive or that black people are naturally superior, and so forth. There will be the evo-psych brigade who try to justify themselves with fuzzy science, and twits who have relationships better suited to daytime television talk shows.

The accepting attitude of the scene also means that you have lots of marginalized people who were at the back of the line when the social skills were being handed out. After all, (almost) everyone feels creepy and awkward discussing their sexuality, so the people who are always creepy and awkward tend to slip through people’s regular radar.

And it’s a smaller group, which tends to discourage ostracizing people, even the ones who we should. This means Mr. Grabby hands, or the lady to whom honest fidelity happens to other people, and so on. The result is a world somewhere between high school and Jane Austen level “We must be nice to the neighbours, now let’s viciously gossip!” This is because it’s generally a closed loop and few people explicitly want to make a big stink, so there’s far too much reliance on whisper campaigns. Further more, the scene is just large enough, and also commercial enough, that getting someone blacklisted from everything is really, really hard.

Neither is anyone all that wise, I mean at least compared to the regular world. There’s plenty of mentor types and people who know of what they talk about, but one of the “secrets” of kink is that it’s not that hard to do kinky stuff if you take it to the places that most people do.

It’s kinda like regular sex. You want to know some basic safety rules before you go running around, but it’s also something you can generally figure out from there. The scene actually works in the opposite direction, if things are going properly, for giving you a frame of reference for questions like “I feel poopy after play what’s causing that?”

Still, it can be disillusioning. You come to be transported, and instead you meet nothing that takes you outside of your life, and discover that good advice, rather than holding you on the cusp of your limits, is things like “use lube”, “go slow” and “talk about it”.

The scene is not going to take you away to a land of hot, wealthy sophisticated people. Instead it is a testament to the possibility you can enjoy even if you’re not some sort of high society bon vivant. 

Sex Toys Ordered

So, after terminating my common law situation about a month ago, one of the casualties was the giant sex toy collection. Suffice to say, while it was no means a D/s relationship, about every 3 to 6 months I had bought a toy. Some for me, some for him.

That was probably ten insertables, of various sizes and tricks. All gone, plus hitty things and so on. Hopefully not burned because the melted chemicals and burned rubber would be enough to stun a horse. But a breakup means it’s time to make new memories. And, you know, starting over with clean things to put into orifices.

Thus, now that moving expenses have stopped causing my budget to cower like a little bitch, I had spending cash to buy toys and a sale at pinkcherry.ca post Valentine’s day.

As it stands, I still have 5-7 business days to wait because I sprung for the free shipping, but about the buying experience…

I’m a big fan of smooth, non-grippy silicone. I tried glass but it was too stiff, and I really don’t like the smelly jellies and anything with a taste is a no go. I use condoms with my sex toys, especially if it’s going places in multiple people, but I don’t like the idea the rubber is out gassing.

For that reason, I’ve been admiring the Tantus Silk line for a while. This time I tried getting the medium and the large.

This is the “Large”. I like a knobbed head better, but it was $22!

The Tantus Silk Large first caught my eye, but it’s big-ish. It’s funny it’s being sold as a plug by pinkcherry.ca, since there’s no flare to hold it in. However it’s also partnered with their strapon harness so the concept is basically a non-phallic pegging toy.

The Tantus Silk Medium is a much more manageable size, though I think there was one in my old toy collection in pretty red. The advantage, of course is that it’s strapon harness friendly.

My harness and the Luna Beads that mysteriously made their way into a box from my ex (Here you go! whaaaa?) were the two casualty survivors. I’ll talk more about Luna Beads later, though they’re one of those toys I don’t see the point to. The harness, I think may even be a Tantus product, and ended up being sorted into the box with my garter belts and things. I’m okay with keeping it because it’s machine washable and used in numerous escapades.

But when it comes to sex toys, on me, or in me, I like them non-phallic, and I’ve noticed that I tend to prefer black and red. I automatically gravitate to the stuff made for guys, which tends to have the aesthetic design sense of a rubber washer. It’s kind of funny- I actually like that shade of pearl pink, but a pink sex toy makes me squirm with embarrassment.

For reasons I can’t fathom, so does stuff to go up my ass. It’s funny, I like being on the doing end and can cheerfuly discuss toys with sex shop clerks, but I’m very shy about being on the getting end. That means itty bitty little things and inexpensive or not, this is also seriously pushing my comfort zone… but hey, it was cheap.

What about you guys, how easy is your shopping experience? Do you go online or to a store?

Book Review: The Mistress Manual (The Good Girl’s Guide to Female Dominance) by Mistress Lorelei

Amazon's cover image for the ebook

The Mistress Manual (The Good Girl’s Guide to Female Dominance) by  Mistress Lorelei

A caveat before I begin: Mistress Lorelei, by look of her blog, is an intelligent kick ass feminist. This is in no way a criticism of her as a writer or as a dominant. She hits a lot of great points, and it’s not the worst book that could fall into the hands of a novice.

It’s just… it’s another guide on how to act like a pro-dom. It’s like if you were a gay man and all you could find was advice on how to please clients as a rent boy or acting like a rent boy to spice up your marriage. It’s not a how to for dominants who also happen to be women, it’s a guide to pleasing male subs by taking on a role to satisfy what they want.

She gets some bits okay, like talking about post scene whoopsies and bad feelings. She clearly wants her audience to feel empowered and comfortable. Unfortunately she’s still stubbornly clinging to the idea that the reason to be a fem dom is better participation by the male in housework. She at least suggests you might find this leads to better sex but… not because it’ll make you horny. I recognize that many women are not comfortable with their sexuality and prefer ‘fun’ over ‘fucking wet’. And getting listened to, at least in the bedroom might even spill into confidence in other areas- I know when my desires are being respected I’m much happier. But nowhere is it stressed by Lorelei that you’re doing this for you.

For example in asserting your authority:

“It is also your duty to rename his genitalia. The name should emphasize his juvenile and inferior status without being so mocking as to render him impotent. A slightly childish name for his penis and two alliterative names for his testicles will equip you to tease and torment him to your heart’s content.”

Or

“You should know that even when he is bound to a backboard or forced into ladies’ clothing, you must supply him with fantasies (the script) or his mind will wander.”

This isn’t about the dominant. She sells the archetypes, nurse maid, governess, etc… talks about gender bending and dudes in diapers. It’s not all bad, of course and I’m not against male pleasure. Ideally both parties in a D/s thing are getting their needs met. She even gives dating advice for single doms. But Lorelei is oddly silent about being a dom woman with a vanilla man or broaching the topic with a partner from the women’s perspective or even any indication that it’s ever the reader’s idea.

Instead her instructions often read like a client’s wish list. Now there’s a long history of sex tips for women in the Cosmo school of “touch him on the penis!” and man pleasing, so she can’t be faulted for not deviating. And many, many people get off best when their partner is horny, but this isn’t doing sub guys any favours either.

Lorelei writes as if all sub men are cross dressers or adult babies or all manner of extra fetishes. She puts a lot of emphasis on roleplay scenarios where you are the Governess or the Nursemaid or similar. The guy is the sexual deviant being catered to by a woman understanding his unique sexual needs- this is not about her sexual perversion. We’re back to re-enforcing the idea that anything female and dominant is odd and that sub guys are just men with elaborately complicated demands.

Don’t get me wrong, she definitely cares about her audience. For example when she’s talking about developing authority by dressing up:

“A simple black T-shirt and matching jeans can be as effective a costume as all the leather-and steel regalia in the world. You need to decide how much of your submissive’s visual sense you want to please, how much you want to tease. Also, frankly, how much do you enjoy dressing up? If you love it, you can choose elaborate outfits by fantasy. Or you can relax and say the hell with it. You’re the Domme, remember.”

This is a huge leap better than Elise Sutton’s guide to being a highly specific male fantasy. I think if I had a criticism here it’s that in this context “Mistress” is being used to mean a professional dominant and not in the generic sense. It’s another roleplay scenario being put on as surely as if the woman was dressing up as a naughty school girl.

Category: How to Guide
 Rating: o~o~o (3/5)
How I got it: Borrowed
TL:DR: A good gift for a vanilla woman you want to top you, or someone who doesn’t like thinking about their own sexual desire to dominate. Very much a “Vanilla Guide To Being A Dominatrix”. Not my cup of tea.

FAbQ: Very Basic BDSM Safety

For the most part, kinky activities are about as safe as any other way to have sex. Which is to say,  the worst that ever happens to most people is friction burns and hurt feelings, except when things go spectacularly wrong or someone is being unethical. However there are a number of things you need to take into account.

Some of the advice here may seem painfully basic, but if you’re new I can understand kink can make people very nervous. After all, you have to meet new people. You might end up in positions of vulnerability. You have to make judgement calls based on how to trust people. Don’t let the safety advice scare you- think of this as being the same stuff you learn for vanilla dating, from condoms to mad money.

These rules apply to D/s relationships whether new or not, dom, sub, male, female or intersex. Or as one commenting person pointed out, just kinky.

Social Safety

1) Take things slow. It can be very tempting, when you finally get a taste of what you want, to rush things. Meet new people in public settings, and take the time to get to know them. You don’t want to fall in love with your fetish and discover the person you’re with is nothing like you imagined.

2) Make sure boundaries are respected. Kink can involve playing with things like trust, obedience and even controlled violence. This means extra attention to having your limits and boundaries observed. Even the little things, like respecting how you want to be talked to, or what people can and cannot do in a scene are crucial. For example a person who is more pushy with contacting you or who jumps into a D/s relationship with you before you have consented to that level are things to be cautious around.

3) If you’re getting to know new people, follow dating extra cautious safety rules. For example a safe call, where a friend calls you during the date to check in on you. If you wouldn’t normally meet a stranger in a hotel room, don’t. Do not give out identifying information willy-nilly, starting small. If it’s meant to be it’ll work with you being cautious.

4) D/s is not a magic world where laws and regular rules don’t apply. The dom is not always right, or an expert. It’s okay to call the cops when things go wrong. You don’t need to do everything any dom says. Even if you agreed in the past to something, if you start feeling uncomfortable, things should stop.

Play

1) Never leave a bound person untended. You never know when you’re not there if they could get into trouble. People have strangled this way. Especially don’t leave people with things that could block or constrict breathing, including leashes, gags or muffles. NEVER use a vacuum bed alone.

2) If you’re the one doing the binding pay close attention to circulation. Check the extremities of the bound person for coolness and keep a blunt tipped pair of scissors or an extra key for any locks.

3) Disclose any health problems up front. For example if you have a panic disorder, seizures or asthma, you should make sure the person you’re playing with knows what to do. This is even more so, if you’re doing something on the edge of your comfort zone.

4) Negotiate in advance when you try new things. If you’re remotely masochistic, painful stimulation and sensations can be very enjoyable but also not all pain is the same or feels equally good. It’s better to know what’s coming, at least the first few times.

5) Do not play while drunk/stoned/under the influence. Your judgement is impaired and your sense of pain is dulled, while your co-ordination is off. This is one of the ways that accidents will happen, including not being able to communicate your limits safely.

Theses are hardly the only safety tips you could follow, but they’re a good leaping off place. Later I’ll write about things in more detail.

Non-consent Fiction and Me, Also “Punished!”

Belly button gazing time.

It occurs to me that both I do a lot of writing about non-consent, and that I think this both bugs people and somewhat sets my writing apart from a lot of the other badly written, self indulgent porn. For example this well meaning, distressed person scolded me, after reading the first two chapter of Catamite.

You make us feel and sympathize for Phillip, and then you decide to destroy him w/o any chance of vengeance or retribution (b/c we ALL know you aren’t about to punish the female). It’s kind of like watching a puppy beaten for kicks.

There’s nothing wrong with having a thing for pain/nonconsent/femdom themes, but there’s a line you cross once you start adding depth to your characters that you’ve obviously failed to learn.

There’s a lot to unpack there, and it’s not the first time I’ve gotten that response. I’ve also had people earnestly write to me to tell me that “a man does not submit to evil” and that they’re otherwise bothered by the character of Annette.

I think one of the things people don’t like is that it’s not a clear story of good ‘punishing’ evil, but when you get down to it that’s actually something that squicks me. There’s a lot of non-consent stuff where the victim is introduced, usually off stage and without any evidence other than the narrative voice of god, as adulterous, a thief or some other petty crime. That sets up a dilemma for me: first of all I don’t think torture is actually a good punishment in real life and second of all, for my sexuality I like the idea of my ‘victim’ being worthy.  I’m one of those people who cringes when other people talk slaveringly about prison rape for pedos, and not just because I know that most prison rape is guard-on-prisoner (even though the fantasy of Bubba in Cell Block B is that it’s simply a side effect of being in proximity to evil) and treating it like part of the prison experience is creepy, but also I just can’t mentally do the ‘not worthy’ thing for any sub guy I’d connect with.

So, back to writing criticisms and non-consent. It’s actually kind of flattering that the people who try to reach me do so intelligently and as if they’re only speaking up because this troubled them rather than an incoherent cry that I’m sick, sick, sick.

If you write BDSM, the regular publishing houses, and even many of the freebie erotica publishing areas of the internet are very careful about rape and undesired torture. A lot of them ban it outright. Literotica, for example allows a category of ‘non-consent’ but turns a but queasy at the word rape. Fetlife’s giant erotica group specifically bans rape and non-consent violence in the same category of illegal nonos as bestiality and minors.

On the other hand the stuff that’s okay, is in-itself  a head trip for feminist sensibilities. A small sampling of stories picked at random from literotica’s non-consent/reluctant shows a lot of ‘reluctant’ where it’s rape, but it’s okay because the female victim is being sorted out and goes from stuck up to liking it. Or her rape is a sexual awakening that concludes with her consensually screwing everything in sight and/or loving her first magic cocked rapist.

I can’t defend Annette’s actions in my story from my moral perspective. It’s not supposed to be ‘okay’. But I haven’t the foggiest how her being ‘punished’ somewhere over the course of the story would make it okay. He’s still going to be raped even if he turns around and rapes her. Mostly I’m just going to keep writing fiction that suits me (because it’s my fetishes and fantasies and you’re not paying me) but unless we were all writing about pan-gendered utopic informed consent sex (“May I touch you?” Zie breathed huskily and held back, hir hands hovering. “Yes, you may!” Zie moaned in response, “Treat me like an equal! Respect me! Oh YES! I want this! I am speaking with a clear mind and no social biases! YES!”) there’s always gonna be the ‘Ewwwwww’ moment, and at least my icky-no-bad-wrong doesn’t need to hide under retribution or justice.

Hosting a Munch: The Kink Scene Guide to Building Community

I’m not an expert (hey, it’s my tag line!) but I’ve learned a few things in hosting Montreal’s 18-35 Munch and attending some.

Venue:

It’s better to hold it in a public place than a private home, and bars or open spaces are better than restaurants. The ideal space encourages mingling so you’re not stuck talking to the same people. Ideally even couches are better than tables. You want people to be able to move in and out of groups comfortably, to escape people they don’t want to talk to but also so they don’t shut everyone else.

Bars often have a group space you can reserve. Sometimes this is a back room or a balcony.  There is often no charge because your event brings a lot of a patrons who will turn around and buy a drink or two.

If you’re not into bars, or you have people under the local drinking age, the next place to look is your local sexual health centre and similar open minded community centre places.

Naming & Advertising

Naming your munch something innocuous may sound cheesy, but it makes it easier than making newbies have to ask “Is this the PERVERTS CLUB!?”

Post ads for your munch on places like fetlife. In the ad, clearly set out the address of the place, what people should wear or bring, and some guidelines for what’s involved. A friendly reminder to buy a drink, even a Shirley Temple, cannot go amiss.

A sample ad:

It’s that time of  again! Come down to [Venue] for our 14th [City Name] Monthly Meet and Greet. Please bring your smiles and a willingness to have a good time to the reserved room at the back. Can’t find us? Ask the bar tender for the [Quirky Abbreviation].

[Start & Finish Time]

[Venue website & address]

Dress Code: Plain clothes (collars okay!)

Cost: Please tip the waiter!

The sooner you can post your munch the sooner people can fit it into their schedules. I run the event on Thursday and encourage it to be more of a drop-in-after-work thing, but you should pick a day that feels right for you.

Keep in mind most people who RVSP will flake, so don’t feel if it is a failure if only half the group shows up.

Hosting:

Have a contact email or PM system where you can be reached. Fetlife’s ‘events’ let people list themselves as coming or thinking of coming. There’s also things like meetup.com or your country’s fetish websites. At the actual event try to arrive early. Silly hats or bright shirts help people pick you out -so you can use that to help people find you. Ideally multiple hosts with different genders are good. It spreads the work out and helps people feel they can communicate.

It’s a good idea to play an active hosting role, which means to watch for new people and greet them as they come in. Offer to introduce them. If people seem to being wallflowers, wander over and say hi. Some people need a while to warm up: different people have different levels of social comfort so the shy person may just need five minutes to warm up.

Be promotional to other people’s efforts unless their idea is truly stupid or harmful. For example if someone else does a play party when you talk to people at your munch you can bring it up… but obviously truly stupid ideas like say, and open invite, non-consent themed play party in some strange guy’s basement.

Keep an ear out for problems. You will hopefully not have a predator show up, but you may have to ask someone to leave if they make it unpleasant for the other people. That’s the other advantage to reserving a venues party area.

Problems:

Drama, cliques and that person with the odious personality who makes everyone uncomfortable and never show up, venues that prove unreliable and a bunch of other things will happen.

A lot of fighting is over territory. Once things get started, people may get cranky either because you feel like that since you put the effort in you own something, or because once a good thing gets going everyone wants to help. As the organizer you’ll get a lot of people dictating how things could be bigger, better, and so forth. Thank them for their input and enthusiasm- many of them don’t mean it to be critical, and it’s not worth challenging people who are cranky. Let the bitter people be bitter.

There’s no solution for cliques but open circulation venues cut down on the closed circle look. Taking the time to talk to everyone and make introductions based on (if you know them) non-kinky interests helps. Get people to talk about their hobbies, fan memberships… all the non-controversial stuff that makes people build friendships.

On the other hand, as the host, try to stay out of the petty stuff. For example if two events start a competition for members, avoid picking sides because there’s generally little substance other than big egos and hot air.

And of course there’s the creepers and the trailing chaos. You probably won’t ever need to involve the cops, but as the host, be ready to pony up and ask people to leave. If say, someone is being stalked or bothered, be ready to involve police if the situation requires it. DO NOT treat the kink scene like a private world outside the law. It’s less embarrassing to have say, someone’s crazed ex-wife escorted away then the venue calling the cops after she clings to her ex’s leg and attempts suicide.

And be ready to tell a lot of people stuff that feels very basic, like BDSM safety or things that should be common sense like that subs don’t have to obey everyone who calls themselves a dom or that not everyone is a secret leather master from an ancient European house.

All this talk of trouble has probably scared you away, but take heart! most evenings will just be a great night out with new people and old friends.

FAbQ: What Is a Dominant or Submissive and How Do I Know What I Am?

This is intended to be a regular feature on this blog, in which I try to talk about the absolute basics. I personally won’t be able to teach you elaborate rope tricks or fancy ways to flog or how to make someone orgasm on command. The goal here is to cover the things people say they wish someone told them when they were new, and to answer the Frequently Asked beginner Questions.

This time I’m going to look at dominance, submission, how to figure out what to call yourself and most importantly, the sanity rules.

What is this, anyway?

One of the first pieces of confusion that comes up for new people is finding out how the Dom/sub thing works in real life. Sure a host of porn covers the things they might do, but it really doesn’t explain possibilities in reference to how it tends to go down with real couples and also people are generally not given a sane approximation of the limitations of a D/s (that’s Dominance/submission or Dom/sub) relationship. It also doesn’t let you figure out what to call yourself if you’ve only ever had fantasies.

First, the sanity check.

  • All submissives do not have to do what all dominants say just because Dominants are dominant.
  • Individual submissives do not have to do what their particular dominant says they should do, without prior negotiation. If you agree to a D/s relationship this is not automatic implicit consent.
  • There is no central licensing system for dominants or guild system of training. Despite desperate hopes, even tales of “Old Guard” or “Leather Families” do not replace common sense in the quality of the dominant. The dominant can be as inexperienced or more inexperienced than the sub.
  • Every D/s relationship is different. Some involve sadomasochism, some do not. Some are built on pure obedience, some involve deliberate disobedience on the part of the sub.
  • Dominance and submission are identification labels not personality types. Doms can be shy and quiet and nervous, while subs can be aggressive and outspoken and have fantastic careers.

Now, some terms:

Dominant: The dominant person is a relationship is the one who is in charge. Dom, domme, dominatrix, master, mistress are all used to refer to this sort of person. The way you become dominant is by deciding one day to call yourself that. The way you act dominant, more often than not, is to convince someone else to call you that too. However the act of the stereotypical dominant (you know the one in leather chaps or the latex corset who is whipping someone?) can also be referred to as a Top if the level of compliance/disobedience is less important than the hitty bits or rough sex. Generally dominants get a warm fuzzy feeling from control that may be sexual arousal.

Submissive: The submissive is the one being told what  to do. How accurately these commands are followed is really defined by what sort of relationship two people want to have. The submissive might like thinking of themselves as a slave, a pet, a servant, or simply the other half of a happy couple, maybe even all of the above over the course of a night. The sensations only version is a bottom. Generally submissives get a warm fuzzy feeling from someone being in charge of them. This could be arousal, feeling ‘safe’ and any number of other pleasant sensations.

Switch: Surprise! Some people are both! In some relationship people switch off on the roles with each other sometimes. In other cases, people feel dominant towards some and submissive towards others. Some switches are more there for the sensations, for example they could be equally happy being spanked or spanking. Switching isn’t even on/off and some people like ambiguous dynamics.

Okay, that’s nice but what am I?

A lot of people starting out don’t really have a clear idea of what they want to call themselves. Even your taste is porn is no help, for example it’s not uncommon for male subs to enjoy female submission as masturbatory material and many dom women find the stereotypical pro-dom shtick causes them to flee the room. If you’ve never done all this, for example you’ve never been spanked or actually had control over someone outside the safe limits of work you probably just have a vague idea some things are kinda hot.

It’s okay not to know what you are. If you’re filling out a profile, put yourself down as ‘unsure’. You have all the time you need to figure it out. Me, as a masochist I was under the impression that I’d be happiest as a sub. A friend who is entirely submissive mislabeled herself as a dom. Neither of us had the world explode on us as we worked out what we were.

Plenty of people even shift how they ID over the course of their life. However if you’re urgently trying to figure out a leaping off place with a label you can either go generic with ‘switch’ or give your fantasies a holistic look. Unlike a lot of quizzes I’m not going to think about whips and chains because if you’re not sure that’s probably just more confusing.

Are you more comfortable (in your fantasies!) being in charge or having someone else tell you what to do?

If your nurture someone are you being ‘responsible’ and taking care of things or are you ‘serving’ them with pampering?

If you like the idea of someone handling all the details of a problem or task for you is it because they are being responsive to your needs and letting you delegate or are they in charge and you feel great because you can just do as you’re told?

Your lover gives you a token to wear, like a neck charm or a bracelet or maybe a jacket  When you put it on do you feel “Mine, mine, mine! My person!” or “I am marked and connected to them!”

I phrase the questions this way because not all dominants do the ‘harsh’ thing and not all subs are into passive. You will need to decide even beyond that, what kinds of dynamics you like. This could be anything from 1950s household or full bore wicked dungeon slavery games to equals with bedroom wrestling. And it’s all okay.

FAbQ: The Utter Basic BDSM & Kink Scene Vocabulary For Getting Out and About

I get a lot of messages from people who are new. However, most people are not looking for complicated advice, they want to know what the hell the jargon being thrown around means. There’s more complete dictionaries, which I will link to, but this guide assumes you’re just starting out meeting people. In later writing I’ll examine the topics in more depth.

Munch: A munch is a low commitment gathering for people who want to meet other kinky individuals in an environment without play going on. These are often in bars or restaurants. You do not wear your fetishwear to a munch, though it’s a place where you don’t need to be quite as discreet about collars and the like.

The first munch, by its namesake, is reckoned to be meetup of an online group in a burger joint called Kirk’s Steakburgers. Some munches, because of privacy concerns are held in private homes.

Play: Play refers to the kinky activities people get up to. Whether your thing is rolling around in jello and chicken livers while wearing a wet suit, or strict flogging on Sunday mornings, play makes a good verb because it is non specific. Plus, kink is fun.

Play Party: A play party is a gathering of people of a kinky persuasion there to do kinky things. There’s generally some sort of dress code, which varies from something other than sloppy casual, to full blown fetish gear. There may be an additional theme involved, say femme dom or protocol.

Play parties are not legal in all regions, or may be limited to only certain activities to comply with public obscenity laws. Many play parties ban sex for this reason.

Safeword: A safeword is a phrase that would ordinarily never come up in the course of normal kinky activities  The primary use of a safeword is for better facilitated communication. These are most likely to be used with people who are learning to play together or among people who want the dominant or top to have more discretion to ignore a regular ‘no’.  These are especially useful to indicate things like a cramp or something in a person’s eye, or maybe a bit of humiliation talk that really hit home.

Some people use the stoplight system, with Red for stop right now and Yellow to indicate approaching a limit. Others pick ‘safeword’ or for activities involving muffling, a gesture or distinct grunt. You can use all sorts of silly words like ‘pumpernickle’ or ‘boat’. How a couple handle use of a safeword is something they need to negotiate for themselves.

Scene: This means two things. A scene in the sense of an activity is a period of kinky activity with a defined beginning and end. This is a helpful sort of segmentation for people who need to get into the right mindset to enjoy kinky activities. Scenes can be described by the stuff you get up to, for example a bondage scene or a flogging scene. Some couples integrate lots of ritual into their scenes, with special clothes or gestures, and for some it’s as easy as “you wanna?”

The Scene, on the other hand, is just the thing that people will sometimes refer to the kink or BDSM community to at large. People into any sub culture do this and it’s not kink specific.

Various dictionaries and glossaries here, here and here. For everything else, Google is your friend.

Feet & Other Things You’re Not Supposed To Be Into in BDSM

I like feet and I’m a dominant woman. This has occasionally surprised people. It’s actually relatively easy to slide under the radar as a female foot fetishist, embarrassingly so because getting quasi-orgasmic over women’s foot gear, while seen as a perversity in a man, is almost mandatory for full on gender conformity as a woman. But I’ve never been able to wax lyrical about SHOES, anymore than I ever enjoyed cheesecake (the ewwww food, not the pin ups).  I like male feet more than female feet. True I also have stocking/sock fetish, but the only people I have for company are the foot fetish guys.

When did the fetish crop up? I remember, as a kid, being at a parade and watching soldiers march and having a real interest for the shiny black boots. It was before I had much in the way of sexuality, so it was more of a symbolism/texture thing than anything erotic. At the same time I got really obsessed with learning to give foot rubs. I’m not unique, but like most women if I want to indulge this desire I’m forced to head for gay porn. Unfortunately, when it comes to ostensibly straight porn- the female gaze, when you get pandered to, is assumed to be from a kneeling position as the default.

It’s easy to develop a chip on your shoulder. Especially if you talk about how you want some good fem-dom erotica and the stuff that gets tossed your way is Sardax… which is fine if you’re a submissive male into those particular fetishes. It’s not just that the market assumes that as a female consumer you’re not into porn. The ‘romance’ section panders to female sexuality rather doggedly. But for a genre that happily hits all the fem sub bases, from 50 Shades to all the Pirate and Scottish Laird and hunky FBI agents abducting you for your own good… if you’re lucky she will get the drop on the hero once, as a plot device. And then he will be all stiff and prissy and not really take the situation very seriously. And usually escape and often turn the tables.

People pipe up that there’s lots of ebooks if I want to plunge into the sordid world of erotic romance niche porn. And there is. Probably, because I’m not that special of a snowflake. But… there’s absolutely no way to tell if it’s eyeball bleedingly bad or not.

Then there’s my masochism. I like pain. No sensual rose petal hippy sex for me. It can be a little awkward, not from a self image perspective, but getting across that I don’t want to submit, I just enjoy it if the sexual beatings between people I trust and I go both ways. Plenty of people are all liberal and tolerant and preach happily that you can call yourself a dom while caressing your own bruises, but again unless you’re in some sort of hierarchy household with alpha subs or the “head training mistress who serves the house master” trope… you’re going to be an outlier.

Anyway the point I wandered in here with is that I don’t feel like it’s straight forward when you’re unusual in the fetish clusters. You know the sort of thing I mean: sub dudes + strapons +face sitting + nasty talk or dominants + elaborate rope bondage + taking yourself too damn seriously + photographing a tatty bedspread full of knives and sex toys. Dominant woman + feet + masochism or even hell, dominant woman sometimes, if you’re not half asphyxiated in a corset and stiletto thigh boots and only interested in cunnilingus, can be a lonely little kingdom.

And somewhere out there is a stompy leatherdaddy master type into small penis humiliation  So it could be worse.