I've been encouraged by Hedwig (amidst lots of lovely praise) to give a bit more breathing room in my posts. So you get two write-ups from the Ladies Dungeon Day, rather than one.
We kick off with a journey. As all good adventures do, though this one involved lots of black coffee to get me up before noon on a weekend. Each of us had brought something along that we especially liked. I had a violet wand and black pallet wrap, Mrs Magpie was sporting a fetching red mac and carrying a latex catsuit, Hedwig had oodles of hemp and Spiral was wheeling an enormous suitcase and pool cue bag that probably contained everything hitty, thuddy and snappy item in the world. We were all quite over-excited and managed to clear an entire carriage with our discussion topics before arriving. Start as you mean to go on, one supposes. It's a rare moment that catches me so comfortable in a group of women, especially women I haven't already known for years and years. But, like the get-to-know-you-dinner a few weeks ago, we were very relaxed with each other. There was a lot of giggles, smirks and snickers. I was personally assured by Spiral that my silly grin at her lugging a large suitcase would garner retribution.
We met up with Majeste, Painted Lady and another two ladies after arriving at the dungeon, (which we got into only once a kind soul came out to collect us from milling about and destroying country cottage holiday home prices with our London pervert attitudes). It was a lovely space - very well equipped, and a cosy size which meant that we ended up sat in a circle, looking a lot like a fucked-up WI meeting. Especially given that between us we had brought enough snacks and drinks to host a country fayre. I was initially worried that there might be a hesitancy to get started, something I've encountered before in group play with relative strangers, however Spiral offered to show someone how to tie a hogtie, I volunteered and stripped off then we were away.
I had worried that it might be difficult to relax or to get into anything approaching a good headspace, but once the clothes were off and the rope was on I flopped contentedly onto the padded floor, letting the conversation circle around me, as if it came from far away. A ball gag and blindfold helped me fall further down and I found myself in a very comfortable and warm space. Not precisely submissive, but limber and happy to be moved one way or another. If I were a doll it was a rag-doll, floppy and without much form. Petted and played with like a favoured toy.
After a while, enough time for my face to be in a pool of my own cooling saliva - something that always kicks me into submissive mode - Spiral picked me up and strapped me to a chair, legs spread, still blind and gagged. Then the pain started. Light at first, soft and exploratory almost, brushes of a flogger, taps with some kind of paddle (I'm slightly convinced, from waffle-patterned red marks that this may have been a ping-pong bat, but haven't pinged her to check). They got harder and more stingy as time went on, she interspersed this with a Hitachi against my cunt, which had the effect of tempering the blows. The two worked in concert - the drive to orgasm and pleasure from the Hitachi (a relatively new experience having been so used to it as a torture device) gave me a rounded, building "high" which allowed me to coast on the pain. Similarly, the heat and stings from the pain made the pleasure better, stronger. I let my head loll a little and went where she took me, carried away. There were a couple of difficult moments had me jolt with panic - clothes pegs on the inner thighs were unexpected and threw me totally, unable to cope with them and having to shake my head violently, which made me feel a little unhappy at having to say "no". But the anxiety was fleeting, much less stressful or unhappy-making than I have experienced in one-on-one situations. I suppose this was part driven by the way she was handling me, lots of pauses to check I was ok, plenty of hair fluffing and holding my head to her, letting me breathe out some of the pain. The other was the context of the group experience itself. There was an eroticism in the air, the light noises of other women in pain or pleasure, the murmur of conversation, the silence of concentration gave the space a focus. The knowledge that others were there, engaged in their own games or possibly watching ours, with no one person belonging or particular to another gave a sense of balance and safety. Much as I love firm and complicated hierarchies, that afternoon gave me an appreciation for a different sort of dynamic, one that was both more flexible and self-determined. No-one was "taken", everyone offered up, whether it was their skills as a top or their bodies as a bottom, the space felt very giving.
I am extremely loathe to put this down to the fact that we were all women, but I am sure that this single gendered space had an effect on how we played. Maybe not because we were all possessing of a uterus, because that is bonkers, but because it gave us a group identity. Perhaps it was the acknowledgement of equals, perhaps it was that we more or less felt the same about how we wanted the day to pan out, perhaps it was that women do play with women in a certain way which is different to how men play with women. I'm not experienced enough with this type of dynamic to say for sure. I know that there isn't one way of playing that women adopt - each of the three tops I played with had their own very specific flavour and I responded to all three in different ways, meaning that I don't submit to women in a particular way either. I'm not entirely convinced that I responded to them "as women" in that sense, certainly I didn't feel as if being hit by a woman was particularly different from being hit by a man. The differences were very minor and generally unconnected to any sense of D/s. Some were quite welcome in fact - it's nice being clasped against soft breasts when you are crying or shaking with pain, for example. Very soothing.
I'm starting to think that my BDSM is very gender-blind, and this certainly adds more grist to that mill - certainly I've found that the more I play with people the less interested I am in their gender than in how they play and what dynamics we create.