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The online diary of an ethical pervert.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tribe and not tribe

We walked through the club like a pack. Mannequin in a collar, the lead held lose in my hand. Dandy, Boy Wonder, Rossetti, Ringmaster, Hedwig and more. The club is in a beautiful venue, marble floors, spacious dance floors lit up, music playing. Pretty girls in pretty corsets carry pretty cupcakes. Pretty boys flex their abs and parade around in little shorts. Dancers and circus performers cavort on the staircases.

We walk past them all. They are nice, but they are not what we are looking for. We head downstairs and into the dungeon. We are perverts, after all and we are here to play. And play we do. For most of the night we are the only players in the space and we spread out, taking full advantage. We are exhibitionists and there is no shortage of voyeurs.

I strap Mannequin to a bench and start to beat her. Alternating hard strokes with pressure on her clit. I get caught up in the moment, in the direction she is heading as she cries out. In the beginning I enjoy playing to the (mostly vanilla-kink) crowd that has gathered, making her cry louder to court the attention, but then it starts to become distracting. Then annoying. Someone tries to talk to me as I am applying little clothes-pegs to her labia, another person squats down, about a foot away from her exposed cunt, staring as if he had never seen a woman that close before. A woman tutts disapproval at what I am doing, gesturing for her friends to come and look. They then leave hurriedly.

We spend the time we are not playing standing at the edges of scenes, guarding the rest of The Collective from those who are treading too close. I have to take one of the bar staff aside and have a quiet word after he groped Mannequin's (perfect, round, understandably tempting but absolutely mine) naked bottom not once but twice. His eyes widen like saucers as I explain to him what she is to me and why he needs to go and apologise.

Although perhaps from the outside it seems like chaos, like a decadent free-for-all our behaviours are actually very controlled. We know who will play with who and how and to what extent. Where to push and where to give way. I understand how it might be confusing - to see all these mostly naked people seemingly passing bodies and kit around as if they were sharable dishes at a banquet. But what was most revealing was how I felt about the group, something that was highlighted further to me over cocktails last night with Chiaroscuro and Hedwig. The connections that we have formed are not precisely friendships and they are not protocols for play. They are both those things and they are also are more than that. They are my tribe.

Other people are not.

The word can be difficult for some to stomach, with its associations of football hooliganism, island mentalities and parochialism. It's often used as a criticism of cliques, but cliques have their strengths, importance and value. We feel safe in cliques and empowered by them. It is wrong to think of them as a "natural" thing, although humans are social animals cliques are created, managed and maintained. Social anthropology aside (it's not my area of expertise)
group dynamic is an incredibly important thing in all social situations, and more so in BDSM situations. The right balance is something we are always striving for, the perfect mix.

I, along with others, act as a procurer for my tribe. When I meet people for coffees or drinks or ice-cream part of my brain is assessing them for suitability not just for myself, but for the group as a whole. Will they be a good fit, might they have fun playing with this person or would this other person respond well to them? Certainly there may be those who I will play with in isolation, but, like meeting the parents, entry into the group and by extension group play, is required of my partners. They must fit my tribe, not just because that indicates they like the things that I like - remember the tribe is a manufactured thing based on deliberate choices we have made about our kink - but because I live in the tribe. It is my social circle, my friends, my extended, created, self-selected family. The Photographer did not fit with the tribe (and did not with most of my vanilla friends either) and that caused me no end of loneliness as we splintered off into our little bubble which eventually popped.

I'm not going to apologise for this sort of passing judgement - after all, I have my own tastes and desires that need fulfilling and I am not a public service or a democracy of kink. I will take what I want if I can get it - and I do. I'm also not going to apologise for the process of judging and rating either, although it may rankle with a geek culture that incorrectly assumes blanket acceptance is better than elitism, or that "leaving people out" is the ultimate sin. This process is part of what we do, or should do, as socially aware and responsible perverts - the old school assumption that the "vouched for" system has died a death could not be further from the truth. It's just not as formal.

There is a reason that cliques form and a reason they crumble. We grow together as well as our own separate journeys of kinky development and as we do people move in and out of our circle, becoming closer and further away from us depending on where we are in our lives. Sometimes this process is easy, other times less so.
The people who I play with, and the people who I play near, are those who I have chosen to be extraordinarily intimate with. I am truthful with them in ways I cannot be every day. Some of them know (and accept, even love) things about me that my family never, ever will.

Later that night I walked Mannequin around the space, arms around her waist, piloting her movements. We view the models in their heels, make-up and carefully constructed fetish wear. I whisper in her ear: "these are all the girls who are not as good as you." The feeling of her being mine is intense, a mixed bag of protection, control, desire, lust all wrapped around a core of authority.
Feelings like this, perhaps not as intense, or not as intense in that way, extend to the whole group. I want to protect my tribe, to ensure it continues, to nurture and support those within it, to defend it from others.

Tribe. You know who you are.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Ladies Night

I have a confession to make. Until last week, I'd never been to a hen night before. I have been to and enjoyed stag parties, with their focus on curries, running around, drinking heavily and baying at the moon. Hen nights, however, less so. Amongst my vanilla friends I am somewhat infamous for my "excuses" to get out of them. For whatever reason, they hit all my dislike buttons and I need to battle with English politeness rules in order to negotiate my way out of a social corner.

It's a combination of many things. First, it is almost certainly going to be an all-women event with women who I do not know and therefore am not prepared to deal with. Following an exceptionally ugly teenage tenure of being bullied I still retain a certain twitchiness around other, unfamiliar women. In my day-to-day life I can deal with this by simply ignoring them and living in a bubble of various types of superiority (justified or not, I'll leave that to you). I can, of course, flash the charm when I need to, but generally, and especially in situations where I have no real interest in either the people or what we are doing I don't. I'm selfish - I have a limited amount of time in this world and only want to do things that are fun, amusing or interesting. Which brings me on to the activity. These do tend towards the kind of ostentatiously public girly activity that I general avoid like spa days and cupcake icing. I prefer to keep both personal grooming and baking as private indulgences. And finally, in the interest of being crushingly honest, there is the element of sour grapes: not only am I not the centre of attention, but the reason that I am not is because someone else has found the love of their life and they are having a massive party to celebrate. Naturally this will rankle with any exhibitionist.

It was with a quantity of interest, therefore, that I received an invitation to appear at a kinky hen night organised by two new acquaintances.
There is a certain element of what goes on tour, stays on tour about such events, which does clash a little with my usual internet honesty. With that in mind, and with the fact that I know how salacious (and saleable, we decided we could have funded the entire wedding based on a pay-per-view webcam stream of the night) the idea of a dozen kinky women, clad in their underwear, in an apartment somewhere in London must be I can hardly avoid writing about it.

The plan was to offer "sex education" to the hen - who I had never met. This instantly dissolved the issue of the irksome activity and on one level it felt very much like a private performance gig, which, combined with the fact that I had been selected to attend, indulged my ego to the extent that I was very keen to attend. Clearly, this was the way to make hen nights palatable, in fact, once the day came around I was excited, enjoying spending the few days prior planning what kit and what sort of play I would offer. I didn't know who was going to be there or what level of kink they would be up for. Whatever I did, it needed to have an element of showomanship, group participation and also be easy to access with the opportunity to ramp up to eleven should said access prove too easy. That meant pallet wrap and a violet wand together with their "natural" accessories: pinwheel, point metal objects, glass dildo and vibrator.

Because I didn't know who else was going I was unsure what precisely to expect, so I initially planned to arrive, do my thing and then take the last tube home. I'm glad that was one of the several assumptions that was subverted in the course of the night. There is a myth, supported by almost all forms of media, that women gathering together will watch romantic comedies, drink bad white wine, discuss tampons and men, eat too much ice-cream and then have a gentle, giggling feather falling pillow-fight whilst clad in their bra and pants. There will be bitching, crying and someone will vomit and need their hair holding back whilst over the bathroom. I can confirm this myth to be untrue, at least in kinky circles. There was alcohol, of course, served in pretty tea cups and saucers. We did discuss "women's things", though not tampons. We talked about our relationships, our loves and lovers, coming out to our parents, being queer and not being queer. And yes, there was a lot of lacily clad flesh on display once the latecomers had received their forfeits and the night was officially underway. No-one was hit by a pillow.

After we had all delivered our "advice" to the hen, who now ranks as one of the most glamorous women I have ever seen in the flesh (and what flesh, the range of amazing bodies on display was one of my favourite moments of the evening) the night started to warm up. I took the violet wand upstairs to prepare a space on the bed and soon had a mattress full of giggling women who wanted electrocuting. Feeling like the mad scientist I have never trained to be but can mimic quite entertainingly I ran through the different attachments and power levels, having a lot of sadistic glee over the way that the shocks travelled through adjacent body parts. From there different sorts and styles of play emerged and one of the things I enjoyed was simply lying back and watching. Whether it was seeing someone suffer from an extended period of clothes-peg torture, then holding them still as they were wrenched off, feeling my heart leap as the tears came (I do love tears) or listening to the growls and curious animal gasps from red stripes of pain caused by a misery stick - a thin plastic wand for flicking at skin. I made a mental note to get several of those. We also engaged in some make-and-do by mummifying one of the guests as a present for the hen - mummification is always so much easier when you have friends to help you.

Eventually, after a slow taxi ride home with the hen, still looking extraordinary, in the pale, white morning light I fell into bed at some point around 6am. Grinning madly to myself and looking forward to booking in plenty of future dates with my new friends, as well as hopefully introducing them to The Ladies Who. Another step forward in world domination, I feel.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Buckle up

So there he lies, more naked than naked. Mr Smith, all skin, cooling sweat and four, black leather cuffs. Mine. The cuffs make them mine, more so than anything with perhaps the exception of a collar. Anyone can be fucked, or beaten, or tied. We all have our little peccadilloes, the sights and sounds that call to our particular kink. These are mine. The marks of slavery on ankles and wrists, that turn a body into an object of use.

One of my personal indulgences is to have a submissive in my bed in the morning to use as a passive sex toys, perfected tools for satisfying my own desires. To take and take again, without need to deliver anything in return. My pleasure, should be their pleasure. No words should be needed. Just a slight readjustment of my body and then their hands should be on my clit or, better yet, roused from sleep by a mouth lapping at my cunt. The cuffs make me think of that more, and as dominance, like submission resides in the mind as much as the real world, that makes me come. Hard.

After I'd used him to bring me to orgasm, then fucked him I undo the thick, padded leather buckles that he sleeps in. I've recently been thinking a lot about cuffs and bondage, having purchased some lovely lockable ones which are much more reassuringly hefty than my current sets. I like keeping my pets in bondage over night, though reactions vary. He enjoys it, but then he has a high tactile requirement: extensive hugs, strokes and general petting will keep him softly submissive for hours on end.

The cuffs are secure reminders of my control over him and act in a similar way, wrapped tight between four points of authority. I don't always fasten the cuffs to anything - although I do often tie ankles to bedposts or clip them to each other - the presence of the cuffs is enough, their heaviness and weight, the way they identify a body, otherwise pristine and without visible harm, as a body that is owned and kept.

I like putting on cuffs slowly, taking my time to pull the leather tight and buckle them down firmly, it reminds me of placing tack upon a horse before you ride it. The importance of preparation, the smooth flow of fingers, leather and skin. As each silver buckle is fixed in place and each little padlock closed with a click the submissive becomes more and more mine. I get angry if any attempt is made to remove them without my permission, and even when they do need to come off I have to do it myself. The hand that places them, must be the hand that removes them - encircling the time and space that I have with my pets in the specific action of buckles and leather. Ritual of ownership and control.

Collars are similar, but more potent.
Collars are special, we all know that, whether you subscribe to traditional collaring practices or not, the collar has its own provenance. I have a plain, "play" collar and I'm careful to make distinctions between a collar I might use to fasten someones neck and head to things, or hold a hood more firmly in place and a potential future specific collar. They are things to work towards, prizes to be won and worn with absolute pride. I've seen the one that may well be for Mr Smith, assuming that we make it that far: a heavy, smooth metal affair, made to sit cool and hard on the neck of a muscular man.

Mannequin has a pretty brown leather collar, bought from a pet shop, of course. Perfect for her small, lithe frame. Slim and lightweight, it sits easily around her neck. I enjoy pulling her hair back from the nape of her neck and fastening it in place, brushing her skin with my fingers as I encircle her. With the collar on, she is more mine, even if she is not with me. I received a note from her over the weekend, whilst she was away, that she was wearing the collar and it made me smile, as if I had her held in my arms.

Which in a way, I did.

Morning coffee contemplations

This is a now familiar routine. I am taking breakfast alone following a night of kink with Mr Smith who after some pouting and bemoaning his status as a wage-slave rather than the better kind, got up, dressed in a slightly crumpled shirt (that makes me smile), suit and tie then left the house. I masturbated then fell asleep for another couple of hours.

When I woke up, for the second time the bed and house is empty, the warm flesh that was by my side is gone. It's just me. I wander downstairs, make coffee, slice fruit and sit in the sunshine, still naked and smelling of sex to spend some time by myself, thinking.

Time by myself is a luxury and I revel in luxuries, trying to enjoy as many of them as I can. I'm having a moment of that sleepy headed sense of personal satisfaction. What is the point of the world if you cannot indulge your vices and make yourself happy? I have, over the years, had my share of sad times, but they have taught me to push hard, and "push" is the right word, with all thanks going to Majeste for what she has taught me in pressing for resolution and clarity.

The more you push, the more you realise you can push - dominance is always pressing at the edges of what is possible, after all. But there's more than that, the more I make clear what I want, the more I refuse anything other than absolutely precisely what I require from my kink, my life, the better it gets, overall. Yes, there will be some things that I will lose, but that is the acceptable risk. I have always been an all or nothing kind of person and spent many years upset and frustrated by the second-best or half-hearted options of things that were almost good enough.

I'm done with that. I've been done with that for a while and I have no intention of going back. Things worth having do not come naturally or easily, they require work, input, thought and effort. Which makes them all the more satisfying when they finally come right.

BDSM takes time - I probably spend about a third (if not more) of my waking hours doing something kinky, whether it's actual play sessions, planning, emails, blogging or "just" thinking about it. That in and of itself is hardly a chore, after all, I love what I do, the harder parts come when other people are involved: you cannot shy away from difficult conversations. The longer you wait, the harder it will get to have them and the less useful they will be.

I spent the weekend having two very different conversations with wives and husbands. In each instance I was presenting what I wanted. The first, with Fenrir, was the briefest and most amusing agreement ever reached, everything is fine as long as we don't hospitalise each other. The second, with Mr Smith and his wife was much harder. I needed to explain my D/s and help her understand what I needed from him. I laid out very clearly what I required in terms of time and commitment, as well as total exclusivity within the time that I had with him, with no interverntion from her barring absolute emergencies. That led on to an interesting discussion of what actually constituted an "emergency", which then went on to a wider conversation around our very different approaches to time management and work versus personal and social lives.

I think she was thrown by the realisation that I was not prepared to compromise. I had no intention of asking them to change their relationship - other people's marriages are not my area of interest - but if I couldn't get precisely what I wanted, I was ready to walk away. With some sadness, of course, but nowhere near as much as the frustration and sadness of constantly attempting to dominate someone from a position of anything other than absolute control.

I am not idle or passive with my kink, I spend a lot of energy "making things right", and not just as a dominant within the context of a scene. Over the past year or so I have ordered myself and my world to the point where I can have multiple partners - something I never thought I'd be able to do again after The Photographer, I'm even getting to the point where I can start to care deeply for those people rather than always feeling there is a part of my heart as yet unready. As well as time, D/s takes real, serious emotion. For me, that is the defining line between topping/bottoming and dominance/submission - the latter is an emotional relationship that goes beyond friendship or lovers.

I now know that my D/s is love, for me. And, like love, it runs deep. It's part of who I am, I'm more certain of that than ever before. I'm also keenly aware that the more you do it, the deeper it gets. I've been pretty far gone once, and I am both inspired and overjoyed to find that there is depth and passion on the dominant side as well.
I have no idea how deep it goes, but I'm looking forward to the journey.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Apology accepted

"You can't come. I haven't come yet."

There's a panicked gasp amidst his entwined moans and begging for orgasm. As he realises he is going to come, to disobey my newly instated rule, his legs start to jerk and thrash. Face down, latex hood closing out the world, he's trapped in his body and trapped in the waves of driving sensation.

I could, of course, always stop what I am doing to him - but where would the fun be in that?
Certainly, I've been building him up to this. I'd spent the evening alternating between beating him with his own belt, using his mouth and fucking him with the strap-on as he lay on his back in the middle of the room. I wanted him to feel prone, exposed, so he was stomach up, legs parted and resting on my thighs to get the perfect angle, his arse rising to meet me as I gripped his shoulders and thrust. Once he was suitably tired, I took him upstairs, still blinded by the eyeless hood, bound him to the bed and started to fuck him once more.

Then, surprisingly, an orgasm started. I was pressing the large, beaded vibrator deeper into his arse, holding it inside him with my thigh as I lay on top of him, fingers on my (very wet) clit. Indulging in a little masturbation at the sight of him. I started to grind my hips against his legs, then felt the orgasm rise up out of his body, through my hand, stomach and out into the cool night air. I leaned towards his ear:

"Don't you fucking dare."

He strains to speak through the gasps and pants: he's sorry, he can't help himself, he can't, he can't, he can't not. Of course, he does. And when he comes, he comes hard: sweating, groaning and flailing. There's a part of me that's pleased: after all, I've just popped the cherry of Mr Smith's anal orgasm. Most of me, however is pissed off. I didn't allow this, in fact, I've been trying to curtail his natural, slightly lazy, lie-back-and-take-it tendencies by limiting his orgasm to a maximum of one less than me.

I feel a strange mix of elated, angry, let down and slightly shocked. I've already punished him once for orgasm without permission but this time is somewhat different. Obviously, there needs to be punishment, but equally obviously, I'm not entirely sure I want to keep paying attention to him. I stop everything that I'm doing and pull the vibrator roughly out from him, smirking as he winces. I adjust the ropes at the head and foot of the bed so he's tied over to one side. I am still hot with annoyance, so look around for a leather tawse and lay a few blows onto his upturned bottom. He grunts but otherwise lies still in a post-orgasmic slump, which only serves to make me more annoyed. The tawse raises wealts, red and thick, but I don't actually have the heart to deliver a sound beating. That would be effort and I'm disinclined to spend any more effort on him.

I get up, turn the light off, and without saying anything, get back into bed and curl up facing away from him, leaving him tied up, partly covered and mostly abandonned.

He starts to squirm and whimper. He's extremely tactile, and I know that refusing to touch or acknowledge him after such an intense orgasm will be difficult. I wait, in the darkness, as he blusters apologies, wanting desperately for me to reach over and tell him it will be ok, to hold him and wrap myself around him as I usually do before we both fall asleep. I'm having none of it. I retrieve a vibrator and start to masturbate, informing him that at least this toy responds to commands. I smile to myself as I watch him: tied a few inches away from me, groaning as he hears me sigh with my own pleasure, separate from him and his body. I like the idea of him waiting, for me to be ready to use him. It's a strange kind of voyeurism and exhibitionism: he cannot see me, but he knows what I am doing. I am enjoying the sensation of being desired and withholding that desire. Teasing, yes, but also deeply satisfied by the knowledge that at any moment, if I wanted to, I could do anything to him.

Eventually, brain full of the thought of perfected human toys, I orgasm and he utters a noise of displeasure, a pouting note of unhappiness. The climax flushes out a lot of my immediate personal frustration and calms me somewhat, allowing me to focus on what to do with the disobedient object to my left.

I slowly unbind the ropes and pull him out of bed. I navigate him into the bathroom, roughly, letting him bump a little into the walls as we go along, then put him on his back in the bathtub, kneel over his face and let him believer for a moment he can lick my cunt before rising up slightly and pissing into his open mouth.

"If I can't rely on you for one thing, I'll find other ways for you to be useful."

I smile as he splutters a bit, then starts to swallow. When I'm done, I turn the shower on, setting it to cold and wash myself briefly before soaking him thouroughly until I can see goosebumps. He shivers and brings his arms up to protect himself, then curls them to one side. I turn off the water and step out.


I turn off the light and shut the door. A plaintive cry of "Don't leave me to sleep in the bath!" follows me into the corridor and I do my best not to giggle. I shut my bedroom door and listen to the noises of mild, sulky complaint echoing out of the bathroom.

After I've decided he's had enough I turn the light back on and lay a warm, dry towel over him. I gently remove the hood and help him out. It's a slow process, he's shaky and unsteady. I rub him down, reminding myself once more why he's a horse and I hold him close to me before leading him to bed.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Penetrating gender

Lying in bed next to Mannequin, arms wrapped around her, pulling her slight frame into mine and pressing my thigh between her legs. I want to fuck her, to be able to take her, penetrate her with a part of myself.

What I absolutely did not want to do was have to leave the nice warm girl in the nice warm bed, wander around in the dark until I found the strap-on harness, put it on, find a dildo, put it in the harness and then get back into bed. That would, as one might put it, rather ruin the moment. I want to slide inside her, seamless, perfect, without pause or reflection. To casually reach over and have what is mine as easily as picking up a glass and lifting it to your lips to savour the taste of wine within.

It's not, let's be clear here, penis envy. Either in the psycho-sexual or practical realms. I don't want flesh as such, or to swap this body for a boy's (well, maybe for a day...). It was very much about the impromptu desire, the need to do it there and then without recourse to kit. I don't want a cock as a permanent fixture it just would have been handy right then. And neither do I want one as a demonstration or emblem of power: as a dominant, I already have the power that freudian analysis attributes to that oft over-inflated member.

As I thought about this more, it became muddier. Because I also felt that this need was "masculine", yet I feel the same kind of drive towards my male submissives - if anything, the desire expresses itself as more aggressive, less seductive, more forceful and certainly more violently physical. How did that work? After all I don't perceive them as "feminine" in fact they are very masculine men. To compound this, I realised that when my dominance is in full flight and I'm seeing the world through dom-space, I do not view Mannequin as the feminine (although she is a very beautiful woman) receiver to this "masculine" desire to penetrate.

They are my submissives. They are amazing bodies that I own and want to express that ownership in a very, very physical way. Thus the tropes of masculinity that I am sensing are the hangovers of a society that conflates masculine with dominance. Those particular
elements within the sensations and desires that I am experiencing feel "masculine" because in my mind all the words around the act of penetration are associated with masculinity: force, power, thrust, take. I spent a lot of my submissive journey trying to unpick the associations of femininity and submission and how that sat with my tomboyish self. I expect that there is a similar reconciliation to be done here with dominance and gender.

As an addendum, and flirting in the same territory, I played a trick on Mr Smith over the weekend, lying on my back and coyly encouraging him to fuck me, missionary style. He couldn't. Poor thing. Arms around my shoulders, cock inside me but he knew something wasn't right and his body responded accordingly. He became tense and awkward as the mixed signals competed for attention.
Even as I made him describe how it felt, made him think about things that were in deliberate contrast to his desire to submit, I could feel him slip away. There was a look of relief and (eventually, when I'd had enough) release after I'd pushed him onto his back to ride him.

Fucking him in both positions gave me the
sensation of "penetration" even though, technically, he was penetrating me. The precise physicality of fucking doesn't seem to matter. Context is everything. Because he associated missionary style, boy-on-top with a more powerful mode of behaviour, for him, it didn't work. His penetration of me did not make him dominant towards me, but my dominant feelings towards him meant that I could still feel that way even with him on top, because I was in control. All the more so because he was struggling with the situation.

When we fuck, the connection created by our bodies is a channel through which runs the power exchange. Like electricity through wire. Making everything light up. It is the D/s balance I have between myself and my partners that mediates the way the fucking feels: the push and pull of owner and owned. It isn't about who behaves like a boy and who behaves like a girl, although those are certainly masks we can wear. It's about who takes and who gives.

Deep down, this has been something I've known for a long, long time. Even right back when I was in vanilla relationships it was always the (kinky) images and ideas of control in my mind that informed my experience of sexual pleasure. Now I have the power to make those fantasies of into realities, whilst wearing whatever attributes of any gender I choose.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Walk like a slut

Ah, I appear to have gotten political again. And annoyed. As some of you will already know I am going to be at Slutwalk this Saturday, please feel free to come and say hello.

My reasons for going are quite simple - I am very, very bored of people thinking that what a woman wears is an advertisement for sexual advances. I am also deeply bored of the abhorrent idea that an item of clothing is a red rag to the bull of rape. It is incredibly patronising to everyone concerned that this should still be part of our culture. And yet it is. Even in leftist media.

Slut-shaming, victim-blaming and the phenomenon of "asking for it" throw together everything that is ugly, unwarranted, stupid and sexist about our attitude to sex and sexuality. Not only does such negative and wrongheaded thinking actually prevent people from enjoying better sex (great article from The Pervocracy here) it also stops us, via classic misdirection, from really tackling the genuine problem of consent.

Because there is a problem about consent. Certain local authorities have recognised this fact and are working on it. Kudos. This is the problem with consent: lots of people don't seem to know what it means. They can't possibly know what it means. If they did then alcohol consumption would not be a factor, what someone wears would not be a factor. Neither gin and tonic nor tiny dresses can consent to sex, so we shouldn't assume we can fuck someone because of those things.

In almost any other situation except sex we would never automatically, innocently assume or infer consent (though we might do it to trick someone into agreeing, but that's a different problem). If we truly want to know the answer we would ask. And even then, we would judge the response on context and err on the side of caution. Who assumes a business deal has been agreed to based on the type of suit the other person is wearing? And if that deal was agreed over an awfully boozy lunch, might you also want to get a confirmation when they were sober before proceeding?

Perhaps we in the BDSM community could assist in this matter, after all, consent is our bread and butter. We tackle difficult issues of consent frequently, including areas of dubious legality, where our desire to do something is at odds with what it is legal to do. I wonder if we could promote the way that we approach our most successful sexual relationships - discussion, negotiation, existing frameworks and networks of support - to place a different, better emphasis on active, positive consent.

I'm not suggesting that there are never any problems within BDSM, merely that perhaps we already have a useful toolkit for avoiding them and should talk about it more openly. In the meantime, I've got my hotpants and I'm going walking.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Vanilla lies

An unexpected visit from my father on Sunday brought back a lot of unpleasant memories of the conversation I had with my mother where I told her I was queer and dating a woman. Neither my Mum nor I have raised the topic since and I'm mentally filing it as "least said, soonest mended." No doubt we are both secretly hoping that the other person will just get over it, albeit in rather different ways.

As it turns out, and as is often the case, my Dad and I did not discuss matters personal, but concentrated on important things like going for a curry. That didn't stop me from going ahead with the necessary physical arrangements (remove kinky items from house, wear clothing that hides tattoos) and the less necessary but seemingly unstoppable emotional churn.

I hate having to lie to my family, even by omission. I feel like a Judas, albeit on a small scale, betraying my own identity and erasing those who I care about in order to safeguard the feelings of other people I care about. These vanilla lies are not white lies, though they can seem that way on the surface, and they do cause the least harm but they reveal the disparity between who I am and who my family thinks I am. Between the kind of happiness I want, and aggressively seek for myself, and the kind of happiness they think I should have.

At least we all agree on the happiness front. And on some level, there is overlap. Like them, I would like to be settled down with a loving man, a nice house and all the trimmings. But within that house, behind those closed doors the world looks very different. As Mannequin said to me last week, and I reassured her it was true: "If you get married, will your husband allow you to keep pets?"

I would have certainly thought so, but the question is where do I put them when my family comes to visit?

Friday, 3 June 2011

The shape of spaces

A thoughtful post for a warm Friday afternoon, something that has been brewing for a while: a commentary on the words we use to describe submission and dominance and how it reflects on the way the people who enjoy those activities are perceived and treated.

There is a lot of paired language used: up and down, big and small, strong and weak. This can have a negative knock-on effect, especially for the submissive, in which they are viewed as always being the lesser of the two pairs, regardless of where they are or what they are doing - as if it were "natural" for them to always be small, weak and down. That can lead us to the dangerous path of viewing dominants as superior because they are dominants, or submissives as inferior because they are submissive - ignoring the fact that they may not be, or may not want to be, in role or on form at that point. It also ignores the vast array of types of play that people might engage in, the sorts of relationships they might form and how the power might be arranged. Finally, it can create trouble by making us assume that one person is always like that, which rather problematises the switch.

In reality, the pairs function as equal elements in the see-saw dynamic that is power-exchange. A dominant by themselves is not necessarily strong, but only by contrast, and indeed only by the exact amount of strength that the submissive has offered up. Think of it like as non-zero-sum, if you want to get mathematical about it.

I was on a date with a beautiful woman, and we were talking about dom space and sub space. I offered up my theory of dom space as a vector, an arrow, a bullet fired from a gun. A precision energy and focus which is directed towards the space created by the submissive. We also talked about BDSM play as a whole as being a space, in which two - or more - people might move. The idea of a sandbox, created by the negotiation process. Inside it are all the things that have been consented to, that might happen. But then there are the edges, the thoughts, feelings and activities that make eyes flare open wide, breath run quick and cold sweats break out. The uncertain things, the difficult things, the "I'm not sure I want to things."

Because we are how we are, and because we love a good reaction, these are the places that as a dominant you feel drawn to. As if magnetised. You feel the urge to prod and to poke at them, the sadist searching for the raw flesh, the bruise, the sensitive areas. The sandbox is not fixed, it becomes a bubble. Fragile but also delightful, transient and slightly other-worldly. The dominant game becomes one of expanding the bubble without popping it, of allowing a steady increase of this thing, or the other.

And finally, there is the metaphor of space itself. That ever-expanding blackness. The universe full of stars and fast moving comets.
As play partners we hold each others hand and explore together, learning more and more about our bodies, our selves, as we go.