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Hunger

March 24, 2013 2 comments

I’m hungry for kissing. It’s not about sex, this hunger. It’s too feral for that. It’s a growl barely held in my throat, teeth fighting not to find lips, any lips, to sink into.

I could say “I want to kiss you,” but that’s not what I mean and it’s not enough. I want to overwhelm you like storm surge over the Keys. I want to smash into you unswerving and hard as a sledgehammer into drywall. It’s a desire not to kiss but to consume. I want to feel hot flesh under my mouth, to sink teeth in and not let go.

It’s not what I mean and it’s not enough. I’m not sure anything would be. I don’t much care. I want to kiss like there’s nothing else in the world.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Risk and Reward

March 19, 2013 Leave a comment

Let me just warn you, this post is long. Really long. It’s still not long enough to do its subject justice. Click the links, read the data, click the links in the articles linked to, realize that this is still only the barest beginning of a comprehensive view of the topic, and keep reading.

I only got involved in the public BDSM scene (and joined FetLife) about six months ago, so I am writing this as a relative outsider. In some ways this helps: I am not so used to or so comfortable with the scene that I find its flaws charming, nor am I dependent or attached such that those flaws are invisible. I can compare in-scene behaviors to their extra-scene equivalents with relative ease. On the other hand, I’ve been there six months. I know that people don’t tell the horror stories to newbies, and while I’ve seen a certain amount of conflict, a healthy cynicism tells me there are skeletons in closets that I’ve yet to find.

The public BDSM scene receives a lot of serious criticism, much of it justified. There are some folks who choose to ignore the issues, others who deny them, and some who steer clear of the scene altogether to avoid them. Let’s be clear here. there are problems in the BDSM scene. It needs work. It’s a messed up environment in a lot of ways. I participate in it anyway, because I think it can be made better and because I feel it still has a lot to offer. But it can’t be fixed if we don’t acknowledge that it’s broken. There are problems. Let’s talk about them.

Consent Violations

According to a recent NCSF survey[1], the BDSM and fetish community have a 33% incidence of consent violations (the exact questions were “Have you ever had a pre-negotiated limit violated in a BDSM scene or relationship?” and “Have you ever negotiated a safeword or safesign with a partner who then ignored it during play?” The 33% figure represents respondents who said “yes” to either or both.) Yikes. One in three. That’s not a number we want to see in a community that prides itself on having a better understanding of and respect for consent than the general populace.

Maymay recently contextualized this statistic by calling out a “50% higher incidence of consent violations [in the BDSM community] than the general populace,” and a post on Yes Means Yes says much the same. This is close to an accurate assessment if you look at the NISVS 2010 report which shows a lifetime incidence of rape measured at 18.3% for women (1.4% for men, but I don’t trust that[2]). And that’s still not a good number, but it’s significantly lower. If that analysis were an accurate reflection of the danger within the scene vs. the danger outside of it,  I’d agree with Maymay on that basis alone that the scene was not worth the risk of participation.

But be careful. That 18.3% represents a very specific definition of rape. It is not a measure of consent violation, but of “any completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal penetration through the use of physical force (such as being pinned or held down, or by the use of violence) or threats to physically harm and includes times when the victim was drunk, high, drugged, or passed out and unable to consent.” That is, rape according to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey includes only penetration by force, threat of harm, or complete incapacity to consent. It does not include consent violations such as causing a person to penetrate someone else (with penis, fingers, toys, or objects) even in cases including physical force, threat of harm, or intoxication or unconsciousness[3]. It does not include coercion. It does not include non-consensual non-penetrative sexual contact such as cunnilingus, tribadism, or fondling. It does not include non-consensual non-contact sexual experiences such as being flashed or being forced to expose one’s body or being forced to masturbate or watch someone masturbate.

Those things are not classified as rape by the NISVS (nor by the CDC, nor by the NIJ), but all of them could easily fall within the umbrella of consent violation as stated by the NCSF survey’s questions (“Have you ever had a pre-negotiated limit violated in a BDSM scene or relationship?” and “Have you ever negotiated a safeword or safesign with a partner who then ignored it during play?”) Thankfully, though the NISVS doesn’t call them rape, it acknowledges that these things are still sexual violence, and they gathered data about them as well. The NISVS survey reports a 44.6% lifetime incidence of sexual violence against women, 22.2% lifetime incidence against men. That means a 33.4% total incidence of lifetime sexual violence[4], nearly identical to the figure found by the NCSF survey.

To be clear, I am NOT saying that this statistic is acceptable. It’s horrific. The idea that rates of sexual violence within and outside of the scene are the same while community leaders continue to assert that consent is taken seriously within both the scene and the community at large is beyond reprehensible. Kinky folk talk about consent constantly. We devote time to negotiation. We have safewords. We have no excuse for being as backwards and fucked up in our consent practice as the general population, and we have no right to claim to the public and to naive newcomers to the scene that we are better when it’s simply not the case.

But we’re not worse. If the communities that make up the scene can acknowledge that there is a problem, steps can be taken to improve this statistic. And to be clear, by steps I do not mean “tell people how not to be victims.” That’s victim blaming, and blaming victims protects predators. Which brings us to the next awful problem the scene has:

Protecting Abusers

Again, this happens in the vanilla world. Start a conversation about rape and the need to increase convictions to show that the crime has consequences, and some asshole is going to say “but what about false accusations?” The theory here is that if it’s not violent assault by a stranger plus sex, it’s not rape. Forget the fact that 35.6% of women and 28.5% of men report being raped, assaulted, or stalked by an intimate partner (NISVS 2010 report). If person A is in a sexual relationship with person B, or goes on a date, or flirts, or gets drunk with person B, society says that on some level person A wanted to have sex. Why else would person A wear something flattering to his or her body type? Society also tells us that if you want to have sex on some level, that’s consent-ish. It’s “grey rape” or some other area on the rape spectrum that people feel doesn’t really count. Sexual violence is something that too many people believe has to be so extreme that it can’t possibly be mistaken for anything else before they will stand by a victim with any reliability. It’s nonsense, but it’s common.

Now add BDSM. The kink scene is perceived by some to be sexually free, therefore there are people who would say that attending a kink event at all is tantamount to consent. They’re wrong, but they exist and that needs to be addressed. Add the fear of exposure that most people in the community have: their involvement in kink gets out, they could lose their kids, their jobs, their standing in the community, the trust of family and vanilla friends, and you have a whole lot of folks who just don’t want to get involved in a conflict that could go public. Again, this will happen in normal life as well. I was strongly discouraged from officially reporting harassment at a former job not because my supervisor denied that it occurred, but because he didn’t want his superior to hear about it: harassment “makes the company look bad.”

Even if no one’s taking names, people who have a vested interest in their local scene (or just like kinky stuff) don’t want to hear that it’s got a dark side. No one wants to hear that about his or her own community. Even Jay Wiseman, who has acknowledged the problem with an obvious sense of horror, calls consent violation “extremely rare” and goes so far as to suggest that in almost all cases a perceived violation is just an overreaction. That is, in a book about handling dungeon emergencies, a well-known voice in the community feels the need to treat an incredibly common and potentially life-altering emergency as rare and misunderstood. He gives more credence and advice to the handling of false allegations. This is not (at least, I hope) that Mr. Wiseman is a rape apologist. He believes that he is a good man who is careful of consent and negotiation. He wants to believe that other men like him–self-identified dominants–are likewise serious and careful about consent. It’s akin to the sexual violence covered up by the Catholic church for very similar reasons. The scene needs good PR in order  to keep and attract people,  to pursue genuinely laudable goals (provide a safe environment, educate, foster community, and fun), and to keep the torch and pitchfork bearers at bay.

It’s not acceptable to base that good PR on lies and cover-ups. We need to earn it.That starts with acknowledging the problem and giving victims a voice. Maymay’s FAADE tool is a step in the right direction, but the fact that this tool is a subversion of FetLife rather than a built-in feature just shows how willing the community is to protect abusers.

Sexism (also Racism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Ableism and more)

Again, all this is rampant in the surrounding culture. I’ve touched on racism before and honestly don’t have much to add (as a very white person I feel the best I can do is be an advocate and ally). Rarely can one point out something as obvious as blackface, though. What I see is simply an overrepresentation of white, straight[5], male-dominant female-submissive oriented, able people[6].  If I mention it, people will shrug it off. After all, no one’s stopping anyone interested from joining, so if the club has these features, it must reflect the demographics of people into kink.

First of all, I dare anyone to say that about white folks here in New Orleans. It’s been suggested that there might be more cultural taboos against kink among minorities. That seems unlikely: kink is a pretty universal taboo. If what we did were normal, we’d call it vanilla. There’s a reason, for sure, and it isn’t demographic. Beyond that, I haven’t got a clue.

Okay, moving on to the straightness. Leather culture is a product of gay culture; you’d expect to see some remnant of those roots represented. Certainly kinky activity is more widely known and accepted among the GLBT community than outside of it, so if anything you’d expect a higher proportion of queer kinky folk to show up. When I scan the room at a kink event about 90% of pairings are straight. Those I’ve seen that weren’t straight were either F/f or involved one or more non-cisgender persons. I have yet to meet a self-identified gay man or witness an M/m scene at any organized event. It’s sad.

Then sexism. Oh, the sexism. There are plenty of women around, but the default assumption that we’re all submissive is frustrating. Many submissive men assume it and don’t join the public scene [7]. Many dominant men assume it (though some of that is clearly wishful thinking), which is off-putting to women who aren’t submissive. Heck, it’s off-putting to me even though it’s half-true. And the prevalence is sexist, not because that’s what individuals like to kink on, but because femininity and submission are so intricately bound in people’s minds. When my husband wears heels, people assume I’m forcing him. (I’m not. He does it to annoy me when I brag about being taller than him, and because it makes his calves look amazing.)

Classism

This one I have not encountered at all. I’ve seen people complain about it on FetLife–that to participate in their local scene they’d have to drop a ton of money, but it just doesn’t seem to be a local problem. Membership is free. The educational demos and munches are free. Parties cost less than a movie, and there are occasional free parties as well. No one seems to have a problem with my thrift store clothes and homemade implements of torture. In fact, there’s a monthly workshop for making affordable BDSM gear and dungeon equipment. I like to play dress-up, so I will wear leather to some parties, but t-shirt and jeans are perfectly accepted and just as common. If anything, I’ve seen folks in the scene snigger about guys with fancy expensive floggers until they’ve thoroughly proved that they can use them. I’m guessing there are for-profit or just more expensive clubs out there, or parties where fetishwear is required (fetishwear can be had on the cheap, but not easily). That would definitely make things more difficult for folks on a budget. I’m guessing New Orleans is just too poor in general to support a snobbish kink community (median income in NOLA in 2009 was $36,468, compared to a national median income that year of $50,303), or maybe I just lucked out on a good group in this regard. If a group does require a significant investment to join, I’d recommend avoiding it.

So that’s a lot of issues. What makes the scene worth hanging around?

Education (classes, demos)

I’ve done stupid, stupid things in the name of getting kinky. I ended up with second degree burns thanks to fire play gone wrong as a teenager, dangerous loss of blood flow due to inexpert bondage, all sorts of nonsense. The scene wouldn’t have been an available resource to me at fifteen/sixteen anyway, but I’ll always point to this as a reason to have classes and demos. Not everyone knows how to be safe. Not everyone knows that they aren’t being safe. Risk-focused classes, skill demonstrations with extensive Q&A, seminars on negotiation and group sessions for kinky relationship talk are an invaluable resource. The toy-making workshop is a great idea (I haven’t been to one, as I am very antisocial when I focus on hands-on projects, but yay homemade toys). The public kink scene is a great resource for these things. If your local scene isn’t, it is time to bother them about it. Outside books and trial and error, the scene is the only way I know to get this. (Wait, can you learn kink by osmosis? That’d be cool.)

Education (corrective and influential behavior)

Sometimes it seems that being into BDSM makes folks forget how to act like normal humans. New subs will want or expect to call doms Master or Mistress on sight (and possibly some doms expect this, too). New doms will show up and act shocked that sometimes doms do nice things for their subs. It’s a chance to show people who haven’t seen it a side of kink that isn’t based on creepy porn. It’s way to talk to the new girl who says she’s a sub but whose eyes light up when you show her how to swing a crop. Will some of the creepy porn attitudes persist? Sure. But some of them go away and leave people more capable of introspection and relationships than they were before, and how freaking great is that?

Social acceptance

Sometimes we all feel like freaks. I know the vanillas do, too, but we feel like freaks about things we can’t talk about to most people because they’d just agree. I like that I can go to a munch and talk about nutrition for an hour with a guy who likes to be electrocuted because hey, we’re actually just normal people who like some freaky stuff sometimes. It’s nice that there’s a space to talk about relationship problems specific to D/s where no one has to worry about other people in the group staring from the position that D/s is bad. It’s nice that this discussion is made of kinky people, not just kink-friendly ones, because then if someone says “that’s not D/s it’s abuse,” you know they have a framework to speak from [8]

Public play

This one is a bonus. No one needs the public scene in order to get their kink on. I use it, sure. I live in an apartment, and keeping mindful of noise levels for the neighbors’ sake can be a mild annoyance. If bondage were my thing, I couldn’t reasonably create a suspension point in the bedroom without either breaking the terms of my lease or building the sort of structure that would be difficult to explain to visitors. I like knowing that if I’m worried about playing with someone, there’s a dungeon monitor, my husband, and a friend or two who know my limits keeping a vague eye out. It won’t prevent something going wrong, but it’ll end it quick and I probably won’t get axe murdered. So that’s nice. As I said, though, it’s a bonus. You don’t need to go to parties or publicly scene if you do go to them in order to benefit from the scene. It’s just fun.

I try to minimize my level of frustration with the scene in a few ways. Using the public scene as a social network and educational tool, not a means of seeking play partners or relationships. Ditto FetLife. Jump in there. Meet people. Learn to talk about all the kinky stuff you love or want to try: it’s a useful skill, and a munch is a way lower-pressure environment than negotiation. As for the problems? I’m active. I advocate. I annoy, and question, and ask what we plan to do to fix it. Maybe not enough yet, but I’m new still.

Please Note

I should be clear that even though I don’t agree with his conclusions, I respect the hell out of Maymay and am incredibly grateful for all his campaigning, warning, programming, and high-level gadfly activity in the name of kink. He’s mentioned so much here because he provides the most comprehensive resource I’ve seen collating specific, serious problems with the public BDSM scene and FetLife and provides practical software to help kinky people extricate themselves from those networks. I still use FetLife. I still participate in my friendly neighborhood kink club. Maymay is still right that they aren’t safe. Where I disagree with him is that I think they can be made safer, and that even with risks they have value.

Yes Means Yes has a series of posts titled “There’s a War On” (part one is here) discussing the consent violations and protection of predators within the scene in great detail. Highly recommended, along with the rest of the blog for good measure.

Notes

[1] This survey has issues, serious ones that make me really wish that the NCSF had gotten the help of an actual public health or sociological researcher in designing it. The two questions referred to here are fairly straightforward and I’m inclined to trust them to be close-ish to accurate despite those issues. I am however disturbed by the survey’s lack of a reliable method of sample generation, screening questions, acknowledgement of limitations of data collection method, or fair data analysis, among other things. I’d go into it here, but frankly survey writing/data collection/statistics 101 would overly derail this post. Maybe I’ll write it later.

[2] Male self-reporting on rape is dicey at best. Underreporting due to shame occurs across gender and sex lines, but men, especially straight men, are under a huge amount of pressure to want sex at all times from all women. A man who admits that he at any moment does not want sex with a partner of his preferred gender is admitting a lack of masculinity that can prove challenging to self-identity and therefore be difficult to confess even anonymously. Similarly, there’s a strong chance of underreporting because a man having sex when drugged, intoxicated, or unconscious is less likely to identify the act as rape even if he was incapable of consent.  Add the fact that the limited scope of the definitions used by the survey do not permit a man to say he was raped unless he was penetrated, and you’re going to get a deceptively low number.

[3] Shame on you, NIPSVS. Really.

[4] If we assume equal proportion of men and women in population (I know it’s not but I don’t want to math today. We’re close here.)  ignore all non-cis folk the way these surveys do, and assume similar levels of inaccuracy are inherent to both surveys.

[5] I’m counting bi women as “straight” here because women who sleep with both men and women are perceived–sometimes correctly, I’m sad to say–as straight women who are not averse to engaging in lesbian acts for their male partners’ pleasure, and bisexual women are thus afforded the privilege of straightness for women in most of secular society. (Bisexual men, on the other hand, are afforded all the stigma of gay men. Because that’s fair.)

[6] The club I’m part of does have a large number of transsexual, genderfluid, genderqueer, and cross-dressing members. I have not seen any rudeness or stigma on that count (of course as a cis woman, I wouldn’t), but I have been told that some of the other groups in the area are less welcoming.

[7] This is not a guess. Half a dozen submissive men now have explained why they never joined the scene with some variant of  “there are like 20 submissive men for every dominant woman, so what’s the point?”

[8] Not that all kinky people know the difference between D/s and abuse, but at least we don’t think it’s all abuse.

E-Lust #44

March 16, 2013 Leave a comment

pea

Photo courtesy of Plumptious Pea

Welcome to e[lust] – The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #45? Start with the newly updated rules, come back April 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!

~ This Week’s Top Three Posts ~

Everyday D/s

Honesty sometimes feels like manipulation

Blood, life, sex

~ Featured Posts (Molly’s Picks) ~

Grief and Sex

Bringing Others into a Dom/Sub Relationship

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!

Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Adventures In… Lube-land
ORAL SEX, AS STANDARD AS THE WHEELS ON A CAR
PolyAnna’s Musings: Radar Love
A productive morning
Livia Has a Crush
Terms of Fatness

Sex News, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Thoughts: Feminism, Sexism and Submission

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Deep subspace – sexy or scary?
Django Unchained: the suffering black female
What the hell is ‘NORMAL’ sex anyway?
Before
All About the Collar
Dirty Little Secret
Honesty

Erotic Fiction

Master’s Valentine’s ToDo List
The Passion of First Encounters.
Ma’am’s Turn (First Meeting Part 3)
Nipple torture and girl love
The Boundary
I’m in the Mood
Skin
Memories
Lolita Twenty-Thirteen, Part Two
Want
A Quick Preview

Erotic Non Fiction

Lindsey’s Orgasm
Blog Jammin’
Postponing the Inevitable
Watching Has its Own Rewards
A Farewell Torment
Writhe
I want to lick your pussy
Cap D’Agde 2012 Foam Party
Dirty Hot
Eighty-Five Minutes
Saying Goodnight
Hundreds of orgasms
our open marriage- mina’s date
1+1+1= My first threesome
Writing Sex Scenes
Beginnings and Endings
Glass Bottle
One Cole the Dane + One WeVibe Salsa = Orgasm

Blogging

Epiphora’s beginner’s guide to sex toy review
Very Inspiring Blogger Award

Eroticon

Erotic Eroticon
Finessing Sex- A Snippet Of Fiction
Eroticon Highlights
Bite Me

Poetry

In the Back Seat of the Bus
Transmogrification
Gelüste
Oiled Seduction

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

Limited

March 12, 2013 3 comments

This woman drives me crazy.

We’ve been discussing play via FetMail off-and-on for weeks now. The flirting at parties has escalated from brief teasing as we pass in the hall to her grabbing me by the throat while we chat over tea and fruit. (I goaded her into it. And oh, man, that was fun.) I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want more.

I have the distinct impression that this is how she views herself.

But she worries me. I don’t know if she can understand what is and is not crossing a line. She offered to tag in a couple of weeks ago, while the Fireman was getting a drink. It amused me at the time, but it was in no way appropriate to think that she could just join that scene without so much as asking me. I don’t know if that’s indicative of her attitude generally, that she thinks subs/bottoms are just there for her to play with, or whether she would have spoken to me before jumping in if the Fireman had given her the go-ahead.

Still, it didn’t worry me enough to prevent the beginning of FetLife flirtations. She called me a little banshee. She makes me laugh. Her over-the-top imperious attitude may be serious to her, but it just makes me giggle. So we mail, we flirt, she suggests lunch, I say great, when and where?

She didn’t answer. Maybe life got in the way, maybe it was some kind of test, maybe a power play. I didn’t think much of it:  she knew how to reach me if she wanted to. The next time I saw her was at the party. She had me by the throat with her fingers up my skirt ten minutes after we said hello, then we barely said a word the rest of the night. I did wake up to a new e-mail, the gist of which was “that was hot, we should play, you should know I don’t play with someone unless I can bite, claw, choke, and cut them.”

Cutting? Nope. No way. Not happening. I tried to make that damn clear: “Choking, fingernails, biting, all lovely. I will not participate in any form of cutting, blood- or knife-play. It’s a hard limit, due both to health issues (severe anemia and hypotension) and past trauma. If that’s a deal breaker, it’s a shame, but understood.”

Her response? “Health issues… ahhh the dreaded foe. Truly, that is the only acceptable reason for a hard limit.”

Honestly every time I read that it makes less sense. Maybe I’d get it if we were talking about escalating an existing relationship into a 24/7 M/s deal. Maybe. But we’re talking about casual play at parties. I can have any damn limit I want. If I said no sex, it wouldn’t be for health reasons, but it’d be acceptable. Or no food play unless it’s kosher. Or no Russian accents. Doesn’t matter. My point is that my limits aren’t something she gets to rummage through and pick the ones she likes. I come with all of ’em. If that’s not workable, she can play with someone else.

I’m actually kind of regretting responding as politely as I did. At the time the (possibly paranoid) implications hadn’t really sunk in, so I just restated: no knives, no threatening with counterfactual knives, I’m serious, this is non-negotiable. Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m 95% sure she’s not someone I’m willing to trust anyway. The 5% is willing to check whether her apparent dismissiveness was sarcasm that didn’t translate over e-mail. Given that I get the distinct impression of Twue Domliness from her, it seems unlikely.

See this? This is me being responsible and not a zebra. Which is a shame, because I kind of want to be the zebra.

 

Disturbed

March 3, 2013 Leave a comment

This started out as a comment in response to “Do we have a right to be offensive?” on Not Just Bitchy. The fervor surrounding the issue that sparked that original post has died down, but the general issue Stabbity raises is one that we face constantly: how do we as a community know where to draw the line between “Your kink is not my kink but your kink is okay” and “Dude, you just crossed a line”? I’m not going to summarize her post (go read it, lazy) because this can easily be read as a response to the titular question.

So, do we as a community have a right to be offensive?

I’d like to turn this into a linguistic problem. People will say “I’m offended” when the act that bothers them is not inherently offensive, but rather disturbing, disgusting, or simply difficult to process. There’s a difference between “offensive” and “disturbing.” The Shirley Q. Liquor act is offensive. It has a right to exist–offensive things do–but members of a community that wishes to create a haven for marginalized persons have a responsibility to eschew and speak out against things which reduce the security of that community. An act is offensive if it mocks, generalizes, or makes light of the plight of a group of people in general without that group’s consent. One can argue that paying to see a performance is consenting to be exposed to its content, and that’s true. Racism (or nationalism or homophobia or domism or any other marginalizing generalization you can think of) is a part of the world in which we live and no amount of railing against that seems capable of eradicating it. But as members of a group that is marginalized and misunderstood, we have a responsibility to provide an environment in which further prejudice is minimized. The act in question here is offensive in a similar vein to a Dom announcing to a room that women are naturally submissive and males naturally dominant: doing so with the express invitation of a venue tells anyone who does not fit that paradigm “you’re not welcome here.”

So I should probably address why a scene is different. A scene, even a race play scene exploring and exploiting the same stereotypes as the act in question, is disturbing but not truly offensive unless persons who did not consent and were not included in negotiation are made part of the scene. What we do at clubs is disturbing, by which I mean all of it disturbs someone. I know a burn victim who leaves the room every time a fire scene starts. I can’t stand to be near knife play. But consensual, negotiated fire play does not in itself mock, belittle, or harm burn victims. Knife play, no matter how panic inducing I find it, has nothing to do with my trauma. BDSM is about the two or more people involved in a scene exploring whatever kinks they’ve agreed to explore that night. It can be disturbing, absolutely. But those who are disturbed are not made to feel unwelcome in the environment as a whole. To be offensive, it would need to be directed at someone else without his consent.

The variety and intensity of activities found under the umbrella of BDSM virtually guarantees that we will disturb. I’m okay with that: it’s that same variety that lets me stand in a corner for heavy impact (complete with screaming, sorry) while my scary friend plays with knives in another alcove and someone else performs elaborate suspension across the room. They’re all different rides at the amusement park. We can pick a favorite or try a few or stand aside and watch. It’s brilliant. The ones that frighten or disturb us, we can avoid. Hosting and supporting a racist (sexist/homophobic/other bigoted) act for all, on the other hand, is tantamount to putting a sign at the gate of the park saying “you must be this white (maledom-femsub/straight/whatever) to ride. One of these can enhance the community. The other smothers it.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Eighty-Five Minutes

March 1, 2013 38 comments

I sent him a message on Fet a few days before the party: How full is your card Saturday night? He had only planned a couple of scenes so far, and he’d want a break from fire. He agreed to pencil me in for a scene. I swap to text message to ask how long I could expect to be too sore to visit the gym.

“I dunno, are you looking for an excuse, or must the gym go on like the eponymous show?”

“Oh, the gym will go on. At least, cardio will, no excuses allowed. Still, there’s something lovely about being horribly reminded of a good scene every time I attempt a workout.”

“Well, in that case you should schedule yourself a long vacation.”

It’s something I know I’ll miss about him, how loose and flirtatious we can be with negotiation. I tease and goad just to remind him to play harder, and he’s happy to oblige.

After I tell the worst joke ever and arrange to have someone bring me a robe and room-temperature water when the scene ends, I find the Fireman rummaging through his bag for toys. SAP gloves. Walnut paddle. Another paddle, smaller and darker. Nothing so easy on either of us as a flogger: tonight is going to be rough body work, hard and heavy. My favorite.

“I brought the sandman, if you want it.”

He beams. “God, yes.” The sandman is the heaviest of my new toys, two feet of 3/4″ copper pipe filled with sand. I fish it out and choose us a station, one with an AC vent he can stand under but which won’t reach me.

sandman2

The sandman

He comes in before I finish undressing. I decide to lose the heels, but keep my socks. The floor is clean, but cold. I move to stand at the station, glance over to see what he’s doing. He’s taken off his overshirt, changed his shoes. There’s a small crowd gathering at a discreet distance. I face the wall, trying not to see them. I watch his shadow instead. He moves smoothly, with too much grace for a man his size. The shadow is distorted, foreshortened. I can see him lifting something from the table, but can’t tell what it is. I close my eyes and try to stop thinking. I refocus on my skin: the lacquered smoothness of the cross under my hands, the faint gusting of cool air across my back. I’ll be shivering in no time if he doesn’t get started.

He leans in close. I can feel his breath against my cheek, a heavily gloved hand on my hip. “Let’s see if I hit like a girl.” I can hear a laugh, barely contained in his voice. I turn my face to grin at him, just for a moment, before the slapping starts.

It’s not hard. He’s testing, seeing which bruises are superficial, which run deep enough to make me wince. I hiss when he hits my thigh over a bruise a week old and the size of a paperback cover, still livid. He laughs.

I watch his shadow when he moves away and lifts something from the table. There’s no more warm-up. He moves in rough and thorough, punching, paddling, caning while I dance from foot to foot and try not to scream. A solid blow to the thigh and I cover my mouth to muffle the shout. He leans in, lifts my face. “You okay?”

“Aside from the fact that we’re playing to the Pet Shop Boys, and some bastard keeps hitting the same damn spot, great.”

“The thigh needs a break?”

“Nah, keep going.”

I see his shadow take a new stance. Oh, fuck. There’s no time for a deep breath. The first kick to the ribs has me howling, struggling to stay on my feet. The next dozen hit the same spot, easy and precise for him no matter how I sidestep and twist. I find the rhythm to it, time ragged breaths to exhale on impact. I don’t want to avoid this pain but my body rebels, and I have to grip the cross hard to keep from covering my ribs with my hands. I’m staring at the speaker on the ceiling when it stops, and for the space of a breath feel the lack where pain should be.

He grabs my hair, twisted into a tight bun, pulls it hard to arch my back, until I’m only touching the cross with the tips of my fingers. With one hand still gripping my hair, he starts to punch my shoulder, the same spot, over and over again. I hear him growl under his breath and snarl back, earning a bite to the neck before he shoves me forward against the cross again.

I feel cool metal against my back. The sandman. It slams into me hard, too cold. With this he moves, from ass to thighs and back again, throwing a few brief flurries of hits against my calves. I bite my shoulder to muffle the screaming. I stamp my feet, claw uselessly at the cross, in some vain hope that moving will make it hurt less. It doesn’t.

He leans in close, running gloved hands over my swollen skin. I feel the heat of his body, smell clean sweat and copper over the polished wood of the cross. I lean back into him, press my bruised skin against his, wondering when he took off his shirt. His arm moves across my chest, holding me upright and slightly off balance. He’s breathing hard. I turn my face to his. His mouth opens to speak. I kiss him instead, hard, moaning into his mouth when his fingers find bruised flesh and push into it. I push back. Part of me wants to turn around and fuck him where we stand (not an option), another part wants him to start beating me again. I ignore them both: I’m not done kissing him.

He pulls away roughly, slams my hips into the cross so hard they bruise, and starts punching again. I lean into it, wishing I could hold back from shouting and groaning. He steps back for a moment. “God please don’t stop,” tumbles out of my mouth, and someone–not the Fireman–laughs behind me. I’m startled, but it’s only a friend bringing the Fireman water.

Something’s wrong when he starts again. Not with him; the pain is sharp and precise as ever. I breathe deep, stare at the ceiling, count silently to three. I feel–off. Slight vertigo. My hearing feels dulled. I’m not sure I can stand. “Wait,” I say. I’m glad it came out clearly.

He stops, steps forward with a hand on the small of my back. “Okay?”

“Yes. Bit dizzy. Is there water?” I drink, breathe deeply for a few seconds before grinning up at him. “Sorry. Continue.” We both laugh at that. It sounds too normal for such a strong moment. He starts in on me with the paddle. It stings before blending down into the heavier pain of fists and feet and metal. Then it sharpens. Every blow is almost too much. (Later he tells me he held the sandman behind his paddle to give it extra weight.) I hear myself sob, though there aren’t tears.

I know people are watching–I catch glimpses of them whenever I peer over my shoulder to smile at the Fireman while he pauses to switch toys or gulp down some water–but they’re far away, unobtrusive. All but one of them, that is. A redhead domme leans against the wall just a few feet to my right. Her stare is intense, unnerving. She’s like a lioness watching another predator with his kill, waiting for the right moment to snatch the carcass away. It’s unnerving, but I revel in it, stare back at her. Her eyes linger on my mouth when I gasp. It makes me smile at her. I’m immediately shy afterwards, and turn my face to the ceiling again.

He pauses for more water and she steps up, quietly offers to tag in while he takes a break. He grabs me by the throat and growls before I can laugh. He’s hitting harder now, on flesh already battered. His left hand moves slowly, sensuously down from neck to collarbone, breast to ribs. I sob in frustration, pushing myself into this too-gentle touch while his right hand continues to bring the sandman thudding down on my flesh. I scarcely feel the pain. I’m focused on the slow trawl of his glove, navel to hip to oh, please another inch–. The sounds I’m making plead. I don’t care. Neither does the Fireman. He laughs, low and quiet an inch from my ear and grabs my bruised thigh hard. “You bastard. Oh, God, you bastard.”

He laughs louder. I turn and hop down as he steps back, grab his water from the floor and drink. I know I’m dehydrated but it’s too cold and I only manage a few sips. I move back into position, bouncing on the balls of my feet. “Sorry, we’re good.” He shakes his head, smiling. Each blow is slower now, but just as hard. The next bout of kicking doesn’t last as long.

The sandman almost does it. I feel a tear welling up while he’s working my thighs. I wrap my arms around the arms of the cross, my legs thrashing too much to reliably bear my weight. Then the too-heavy sting of paddle-and-pipe hit again. And again. I realize I can’t feel all of it, that my body is moving as before but the pain feels dull, as if I’m wrapped in a thick blanket. The vertigo returns, stronger, and I hear the sound of rushing water. I say his name, quietly.  He stops instantly, moves in to hold me up. “I think I need water. And to sit down.” He helps me to a chair before falling into another one next to me. He’s shaking and covered in sweat. “Are you okay?” I ask.

He laughs. “Beating you up is hard work!”

“Sorry.”

“I’m not complaining. Still think I hit like a girl?”

“Nope.” I look around. Robe and water had been promised, but not delivered. I stand up, marveling at the soreness of it. “Okay, I’m going to find my water. Shall I bring you one?”

“Nah, I’ll get it.” We both move back to the social area. I cover up, drink a liter in one long chug, and refill if from the tap. I’m shivering violently. I rummage in my bag for snacks: dried fruit and cookies.

I find the Fireman leaning exhausted against a counter, empty water bottle in one hand. I take it away and hand him a cookie. A good one, from a bakery he’s told me he loves. His eyes widen “Have I told you I love you recently?”

“Me, or the cookie?”

He says something around a mouthful of crumbs, but I’m distracted by the appearance of the friend who was supposed to bring my water. “Where did you disappear to?”

“I gave up after you started hopping around like a rabbit. I guess half an hour ago? If you can jump down for a drink and walk right back up for more punishment, you can get your own stuff at the end.”

“Wait, half an hour?” I look at the Fireman, confused. “That felt like it was near the end of the scene.”

“Yeah, it did. How long was that scene?”

“No idea. An hour?”

“Eighty-five minutes,” says a bystander.

Eighty-five minutes. The Fireman and I just stare at each other for a minute. “Jesus,” he says.

“I think that counts as your workout for tomorrow.”

“Yours too.”

“Yeah, but back to running Monday. No excuses, remember?”

“I don’t know, wait until you see how those bruises look tomorrow.”

It was four days before I could run more than half a mile. And well worth it. That was almost certainly the best scene I’ve had yet.

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