Archive for the ‘BDSM’ Category

Predators and Prey

Posted: January 21, 2014 in BDSM, general

There’s that moment, when the predator has caught his or her prey and holds it still in their talons or claws or teeth. The desperate thrashing has ceased and the two are alone, any other prey fleeing and any other predators keeping a wary distance. This moment is intimate and sacred between the two of them. They are the last moments the prey will have and it will spend them with no one else besides the creature that brought the prey to this moment. Both breathing hard, covered in the wounds of the struggle, they regard each other for a moment that stretches into something much more profound.

I was watching a nature show this weekend and it occurred to me that I felt almost like a voyeur. The moment between these wild animals as one prepared to end the life of another was striking in its intimacy, almost like watching people having sex or a really profound hot scene. These two animals looked into each other’s eyes with no pretense, both of them seeing the other for what they truly were. I realized that this is how most wild animals eventually die, in the grip of a hungry predator, eager for their flesh, but as I watched that final moment, it also seemed like there was some kind of understanding and respect passing between them just before the prey’s life met its brutal end. My mind immediately went to scenes I have had, both as predator and as prey and how that moment, that exact moment of barren honesty, is EXACTLY what I crave from a scene.

No one knows an animal better than its predator. It is the predator’s job to know it’s prey better than that prey knows itself. Any hunter can tell you that in order to make a kill, you first have to understand the animal you are stalking. You learn their habits, their environment, their deepest likes and dislikes. You follow them and know them until you can slip seamlessly into their environment, disappearing to them. You must watch them and you have to be patient enough to wait until the right moment. It’s not unlike the singleminded obsession of a person in love. There is lust in blood lust.

When the moment to strike finally arrives, there is struggle, each side pitting all their strength and endurance into the fight. The prey can only give everything they have, but the predator must constantly measure whether this potential meal is worth the fight or if it’s wiser to retreat and save their energy for something else. The contest between them is brutal and only ends if the prey evades the predator, the predator decides the prey isn’t worth the fight anymore, or the prey is caught. How many times have I felt that awful, delicious dread in the beginning of a scene, of knowing that the predator is drawing near and there is no escape. I pit my strength against theirs, but secretly, unlike the wild animal fighting for its very life, I hope I will lose. I long for what comes after, that embrace, to look into the predator’s eyes and feel them looking into mine, knowing me completely.

I long to be known, in a way that is deeper and more penetrative than the biblical sense of knowing. I long to be known in a way that goes beyond the physical and is reached when my defenses are ripped open by the brutal attack, my very soul laid bare. I long to be brought to that end, to be known, and held tightly. In that moment, after the struggle, when I have given my all and given in and let the pain just flow over me in waves, waves that crash over my head, so far above that I no longer feel their impact, that is where we meet. That is where I find peace in the grip of the predator or I finally am able to take a breath and regard my prey. In that moment, we look into each other’s eyes and I struggle no more.

Unlike the wild animals, I will live after this moment and live to relive it again and again, each time reaching this singular moment where we are more naked than mere humans can be. We are our most primitive, basic selves together and those primitive, basic selves accept what the other has to give. I claim or am claimed and there is healing in that acceptance. Their is nourishment beyond a meal caught and devoured. Our souls feed on each other.

And we are both satisfied.

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I began my title year with a speech and, like most titleholders, I will end it with one as well.  The speech I gave when I ran for both my regional and international titles was about reaching across to the pansexual BDSM community, something which has become almost a cliche in Leather title contestant speeches.  However, I felt I had a unique perspective on this divide given that I live my life in both communities out of necessity.  Being owned by a heterosexual Master and having a girlfriend means that finding spaces where we all can play together within the Leather community can sometimes be a challenge.  I don’t like leaving those I enjoy playing with at the door and they tend to like bringing me along as well.  For better or worse, that often means I play at pansexual BDSM venues and events.  I also have my roots in the pan community and I have lasting friendships and people I admire within that community.  Sometimes the act of flowing between these two unique communities, or collections of communities, is flawless and effortless.  Other times, it can be a bit jarring.

This weekend, I had the honor of presenting my Leather Mythbusters class to a group I had not previously visited and it really brought my thoughts about the divisions between these communities to the forefront.  There are misunderstandings on both sides.  There are egos on both sides.  There are also crises of identity on both sides.  In attempting to address those divisions in my title year, I have had to face head-on my own identity and my own misunderstandings.  If anything, I think that has been my area of greatest growth over the year.  It wasn’t until I had to attempt to explain Goreans to a Leather Sir that I really tried to understand their point of view.  It wasn’t until I was drawing analogies between pony play and puppy play when talking with a Leather boy that I began to understand both a bit better myself.  Teaching my Leather mythbusters class has forced me to approach Leather from the perspective of the pansexual BDSM community and has made me have to think more deeply about why it is that I have chosen to make my home in Leather, even as I am a frequent visitor to the pan scene.

There are a great many myths out there on both sides of the fence and yes, there are very distinct differences in how both sides view their kink.  Still, there is also a lot of commonality that gets missed because the language used is so different.  I recently had to consider my own attitudes regarding the use of “Old Guard” mythology within the pan community.  While it still raises my hackles to hear those outside the Leather world try to appropriate Leather history or traditions, much like suburban youth affecting the dress and speech and music of inner city dwellers and with similar ridiculous results, I think there is an underlying reason for it that is more important than the outer silliness.  People in the pansexual BDSM community do not have as clear an identity or as clear a picture of their history as Leatherfolk often do, even as murky as ours can be.  There is a lack of writing on the history of pansexual BDSM, of the communities that grew and developed into what we now see.  There will always be people who look to the past and to tradition as a guidepost of how to handle situations and what behavior is expected and, without a uniquely pansexual view to look to, they look to what is much easier to find…Leather traditions.  They then try to recreate a past that never existed out of traditions that were never meant to fit their types of communities.  Whatever we may think of the results, they come from a question we all ask, “Who am I?”  For those who come out in what has been called the “Second Coming Out,” those answers are often more clear in Leather than they can be in the pan world, where there is less structure and more freedom, but as a result, a lack of clarity.

Robert Bienvenue did quite a bit of work to prove even that pansexual BDSM did not grow out of Leather, but instead grew organically on its own out of the kinky stuff straight couples were doing in their homes and then eventually doing in swingers clubs and BDSM venues.  Still, there is much more that isn’t known than is and records of the past are even harder to find.  There is no pansexual equivalent of the LA&M for a young person coming out into the pan scene to scour through to answer these questions.  Instead, there is the internet, with a million different versions of what might be, many of them valid, but even more of them completely manufactured.  These myths get reposted as truth and the question of a pansexual BDSM identity becomes even more clouded.  At least in Leather there are some authorities.  Even if you disagree with them, they are there to disagree with.  Pansexual BDSM is even more than Leather a loosely confederated group of different groups, from weekend spankos to foot fetishists to TPE M/s’ers to body modification afficionados.  Each smaller subset has more of an identifiable culture than the broader group.  Even more confusing, you can find many representations of these groups within Leather as well.

It has been fashionable to talk about reaching across this divide.  After all, aren’t we all kinky people, regardless of what we wear or our sexual orientations?  Still, that reaching across is often problematic in practice.  I once interviewed some Leathermen for a contest whose goal was just that.  Still, when pressed on details, their focus was entirely on educating those in the opposing community with little time spent on what those in Leather could learn from them.  Such a one-sided approach rarely works.  We are, as human beings, far more likely to listen to the perspective of another when we feel like our own point of view is acknowledged and honored.  In addition, their stated experience with people in the pan community was work with the National Leather Association members in their community.  Obviously, regardless of how they identify, someone coming to an NLA meeting is at least open to discussing Leather and might actually be curious about it.  In this case, I think it was more a mistake of assuming that a heterosexual orientation meant that a person was part of the pan BDSM scene.  My advice was to first learn about the pan scene before trying to education anyone in it.

There are difficulties as well coming from the other direction.  I have seen leaders in the pansexual BDSM community assume that their titles and honorifics will be given the same weight in the Leather communities or that they can claim their past experience in the pan scene as Leather experience.  This seems to come from the myth that all kink is somehow Leather or that the pan community grew from the Leather community and therefore everything within the pan community is relevant to the Leather community.  There is so much more to Leather than just reading The Leatherman’s Handbook.  Another common mistake is assuming that all Leatherfolk, in all parts of the world, all obey the same customs and protocols…or that they ever have.

I started out my year asking the question, “How do we bridge this divide?”  I am ending it with a different question, “Do we need to bridge this divide?”  Each time I attend an event where these two cultures intersect, I see them come together to support causes that effect both, like the NCSF, yet each seem to, on the whole, self-segregate into their own groups.  As long as we respect and honor each other and are able to work out a basis for interacting when necessary for the good of both communities, does there really need to be a coming together?  In reality, I think that there is strength in diversity and having distinct cultures is not a bad thing at all.  I think the key is not bridging those divides so much as deepening understanding across them, through education on both sides and through ambassadors from both sides.  I think those things have been happening all along, regardless of speeches made by contestants.  I also wonder if both communities aren’t so very diverse that even talking about a divide between them becomes a bit less constructive as time goes on, given that there are just as large of a divide between some of the groups captured under each umbrella as there is between the two groups themselves.

I have found, through this year, that when we connect as individuals and talk or play, these issues become less and less important.  Perhaps that really is the key…we just need to be willing to keep talking and playing together, when the opportunities arise.

Just please, you keep the pony bits away from me and I’ll keep my boots off of you.

Living Leather in the World

Posted: January 24, 2011 in BDSM, general, Titleholding

I was recently listening to a Zen podcast that made me realize the roots of an issue I have been wrestling with recently in my Leather life as well.  My Zen practice is often intertwined with Leather for me, but this was particularly eerie.  In Buddhism, there are 2 principal ways to practice your spiritual path.  One involves renouncing the world, giving up your possessions, and living as a celebate monk or nun, separate from the world.  For some people, this is the greatest path they can choose.  For most, though, they choose the path of the “householder,” which means that they remain in the world, following their spiritual path while also holding down jobs, paying bills, and dealing with all the other day to day realities anyone lives with.

It occurred to me that I have seen the same in Leather.  We have people who live their lives almost entirely within the Leather community, almost as Leather monks.  These people often choose to work at jobs that are at the least hospitable to their Leather identity.  They tend to spend most of their free time among their Leather family.  At the most extreme, I know of slaves that spend all their time in their households, not working outside, and it is likely that they rarely see someone who is not Leather or kinky.  A big part of me often envies this existence and the ability to live a life immersed in what I am passionate about, rather than cope with so many distractions.

There is similar conflict in many Buddhists.  The life of a householder, whether we look at someone trying to walk a Zen path or someone living in Leather, is one that is always trying to distract you from your practice.  There are constant outside influences that you must face and constant responsibilities that you must balance, whether it’s appeasing a boss at a vanilla job that is intolerant of your identity, dealing with vanilla family that aren’t ready to accept who you really are, or even dealing with the broader kink community, let alone the broader vanilla community.  Choosing to live in the world means choosing to live misunderstood and often under attack.  Choosing to live Leather in the world means choosing to be a target and to be vulnerable.  It also means accepting a large responsibility to act as a representative to that broader world.  Often the pains and challenges of living in the world are enough to make a Buddhist wish for a mountaintop temple to retreat to or a Leather person wish for a secluded dungeon and a scene that makes it all just fade away.

However, choosing to live in the world also brings opportunities.  If the Leatherfolk I had first encountered in my journey had not been strong enough to venture outside their own comfort zones into the pansexual BDSM community, I might never have found Leather.  Walking my walk in the world means that I might just help someone else find their way to Leather.  Also, being out there as a target and vulnerable also means that I can be a voice for those who aren’t a part of the conversation and maybe, just maybe, build some bridges where there original were none.  A Leather person cannot expect the wider community to understand Leather if we are not there to explain what it means to us any more than a Buddhist can expect the rest of the world to understand Buddhism if none of us come down from the mountain.  Living within the world, I can accomplish more for others than I can by isolating myself from it.

Still, there is also much that I gain by walking my walk in the wider BDSM world.  Every time my assumptions and opinions are challenged, I learn something new.  I find it harder to fall into a rigid mode of thinking when I am constantly subject to outside influences.  Being out where I’m open to the stings and arrows also helps remind me of my own limitations and that I alone cannot change everything that is broken.  In some ways, it is the very immersion in the world that makes my path more difficult which also pushes me to grow more and to work harder to be the person I know I should be.

I have, recently, wrestled with the question of whether I should pull back more, retreating back further into the places I feel more comfortable and safer.  It is a very tempting thought when I’m feeling beaten up and like I simply can’t bring any light to dark situations.  Still, the more I consider my own purpose, the more I come to the conclusion that, while it might be more painful to live in the world, it’s where I belong and where I can do the most good as an individual.

As long as every so often I can retreat to the Leather mountaintops and learn from the sages there as I lick my wounds.

Reality vs. Fantasy in BDSM

Posted: January 4, 2011 in BDSM, M/s

There are those people who love to stir up “debate” (and I use that term very loosely here) just for the sake of debate.  Generally these fall under the category of trolls online, but sometimes they do venture out of dark corners and into real life.  These are the people who seem to have an axe to grind about life in general and will try to find some way that their particular axe is remotely relevant to the conversation in order to bring it up and then regurgitate any number of canned arguments.  Then again, there’s probably a little of this behavior in all of us at times.  This week, though, one of these types did actually get me thinking…and thinking…and thinking, so I guess I should thank the anonymous donor of the fodder from which these thoughts came.

The thoughts were about two different perspectives for viewing our BDSM experiences, one based on BDSM as an escape from reality and another based on BDSM as reality.

The starting point for this mental wandering was the aforementioned person’s online rant about how, basically, the country known as the United States is on a downhill roll and all the groups of people he blamed for this decline.  While I won’t go into details because I’d definitely fit into some of the groups blamed for the downfall of our great nation, what was interesting was the picture he painted of a time now passed which seemed to be absolutely idyllic.  This time was, rather obviously post World War II America, and it got me to thinking how many Americans really do idealize that point in time.  In another, somewhat related rant, he asked others how they planned for their M/s or D/s dynamics to survive the upcoming economic and social apocolypses he had predicted for us all to suffer.  It was then that it hit me that we have two very different perspectives at play here.

The more I learn about M/s dynamics and, indeed BDSM relationships in general, power exchange or not, it seems that there are two very different way to approach living a life that includes kink.  I’m not making value judgments on either since I have seen both work.  I think whether one works better than the other depends entirely on the people involved, but I do see there as being a strong difference between the two.  One perspective sees BDSM, power exchange, and kinky activities in general as an escape from the reality of day to day life.  The other embraces these very same things as reality itself.  Part of my problem in understanding my online friend was that he is coming from one perspective and I am coming from the other.

As an example, I will go back to M/s dynamics because I think this is where the difference can be the most easily described.  On the one hand, we have people who base their dynamics off of any number of sources.  Goreans use the books of John Norman as a starting point.  1950’s households use an idealized version of the 1950’s as well as a world shown in Leave it to Beaver episodes to model theirs.  Then there are Victorian households, medieval households and any number of other archetypes.  Within these structures, those in the dynamic find roles that act as guides for behavior as well as a way to create a comforting haven from the chaos of 21st century life outside.  For many of them, this works wonderfully and gives them a safe place when they walk through the door and fall into their space.

On the other side of the spectrum, you have M/s households that have little to no archetypes and seem to be grounded more in the brute reality of the chaos outside.  These dynamics can sometimes seem unromantic or even difficult to distinguish from vanilla life except when it comes to who makes decisions or how they have sex.  What protocol there is seems to have grown organically from the dynamic without much outside inspiration and these dynamics can seem less driven by ritual than those that do gain inspiration from archetypes.  I’ve seen many very longlasting M/s dynamics that follow this methodology as well.

As a Buddhist, while I enjoy a good fantasy as much as anyone else, I am very wary of doing anything in my day to day life that distracts me from reality.  Perhaps as a consequence, I ended up with a Master who takes a very reality based approach to our M/s dynamic.  There is little fantasy here, but it works for us.  This is not to say I don’t sometimes admire those who can base their dynamic off of a fantasy and then work together to create a reality based off of it.  While it wouldn’t work for me, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work for many or doesn’t have value.  What it does do, however, is create a very different point of view when considering BDSM and the world around us.

My online friend, while not in an M/s relationship, does take a very similar view to BDSM, treating it mostly as an escape from a reality that, to him, has become very dark.  This leads him to worry about the feasibility of continuing his pursuits as economic and political conditions decline.  To me, this point of view seems similar to those who work on an M/s dynamic, but then set that dynamic aside whenever life sends the inevitable obstacles their way.  This is similar to those who live good times in a power exchange and argue as equals.  This works for many, many people, but it does make it so that they see BDSM as more of a luxury item in their lives, something they can indulge in when they have enough time, the right person, etc.  BDSM is their dessert and they treasure it, but if times get very tough, they can live without it until another opportunity comes along.

For me, it was difficult to relate to this perspective.  BDSM is no longer something I do, if it ever was, it is something I am and a part of my reality and my identity.  Instead of being my escape from reality, my kinks and my M/s dynamic are my way of coping with reality.  When I am stressed out at work, I concentrate on my protocols.  When I worry about bills, I fall back on my communication with my Master.  Each challenge that life sends us is tackled with the same skills we use in play.  We argue as Master and slave, not as equals.  From this perspective, any adversity faced, whether economic, political, or personal, simply leads us both to dig in deeper into our BDSM lives, rather than back out and deal with life as a vanilla couple.  BDSM is not a luxury item, but a necessary survival tool.  It is not dessert, but the bread that sustains us.  Granted, this would not work for everyone and is certainly not the only path, but it gives me a very different perspective from someone for whom BDSM is an escape.

As a Buddhist, I’m guided to focus intently on reality as a spiritual path.  A lot of people think that the goal of meditation is to come to some kind of lofty realization about the universe or my place in it.  The reality, though, is that the goal of my meditation is to empty my mind of all the useless chatter that goes on it, of all the fantasies that I think up to explain who I am and what I am and instead to find the ability to focus on reality and the world around me.  The idea is to stop living in a fog of my own creation and start living in the world, awakened to what’s going on.  My meditation sometimes takes place on a St. Andrews cross to the sound of a whip driving all distraction from my mind.  Other times, it takes place in my Master’s rope.  Still others, it takes place with a pair of boots in front of me.  I find life much easier to deal with when I am in touch with it and I can choose my reactions to it rather than being knocked out of a fog I’ve thought up by life and then having to react to it.

As a result, it is difficult for me to understand those who choose to turn away from the reality of life and carefully create a fiction to replace it.  While I can understand the allure and the comfort in it, I find a hard time understanding how it helps them deal with reality.  Rationally, I can understand that they must then come up with ways to reconcile things when reality and their fantasy collide and it is obvious that many have very good ways of doing this given the timespan that some people manage to do it in.

For me, though, simply facing reality head-on, with BDSM and M/s as tools in my kit to deal with it, is far simpler.

And I like simple.

Really.

Love is a Battlefield

Posted: December 1, 2010 in BDSM, M/s

Recently, I was in the unique position of trying to explain heterosexual BDSM relationships to a gay Leatherman.  Yes, apparently, this wacky bisexual girl is now the spokesperson for heterosexual BDSM, or at least I attempted to be one night at 3 in the morning.  It seemed like a good idea at the time.

In reality, though, I could no more explain all heterosexual relationships to him than he could explain all gay relationships to me.  We each can only speak of our own experiences.

One theme I kept coming across was that, at least in my experience, heterosexual relationships and sex are either like a game or like a war.  We grow up knowing what strategies our genders employ.  I grew up knowing that mine was to be a defensive position, that women were meant to pretend that we did not like sex or in fact despised it and that, by doing so, we gained power over men, who were meant to always want what we were so reluctant to give.  Their position was to be one of offense, constantly scheming to get what we held back and, in doing so, gain power over us.

Even in the vanilla world, sex was a power exchange.

In this cold war or marketplace of sexuality, I was raised, jealously guarding my chips from the other players and making men jump through the requisite hoops before giving any of them away.  It’s a tiring game and one that turns lovers into adversaries.  I was meant to view any man who expressed admiration or interest as having ulterior motives and not to be trusted.  Since trust is a cornerstone of healthy relationships, everything I grew up learning about how the sexes relate to each other set me up for dysfunctional relationships.  I learned that you absolutely could not communicate honestly and directly with the opposite sex because this would give them inside information that they would use against you in order to get you in bed.  I learned you should never trust a man who seemed to be interested in you.  Only men who didn’t seem to care for me at all could be trusted.

When I entered the world of BDSM and then M/s relationships, I still found some of this thinking, but I found many people who had called a truce in this ongoing war.  Oddly enough, by being clear and direct about what they wanted and what they were prepared to offer, these people were able to remove the conflict and actually build a relationship built on mutual respect and trust.  It seemed ironic that these relationships often, from the outside, resembled exactly what both sides feared might happen if they let down their guard.  I saw women groveling at the feet of men and men led around on leashes by women and yet, these people were honest with each other and with themselves about their wants and needs in a way I had never experienced in the vanilla world.  I couldn’t help but wonder how many vanilla relationships would benefit from being forced to negotiate or write contracts or at least come up with a clear idea of what they wanted from a partner BEFORE they went out looking for one?

Love is a battlefield.

We all too often spend so much time putting on our layers of armor and looking across the field at our lovers like they are an invading army.  The very people we lay naked next to are the ones we often fear the most, so frightened that they will betray us in the most personal ways, splitting our hearts in two.  I don’t think this is unique to any sexual orientation or any configuration of relationships.  The truth is that those we allow closest to us are the ones who can most easily harm us and so we often try to protect ourselves from future hurts by keeping up defenses now.  We hold back words, thoughts, feelings in the hopes that it will help keep us safe or help us keep the upper hand.  We let the invader closer and closer, but how many of us ever really let down all of the defenses and let them in?

As human creatures, we hide our true selves even from ourselves.

We make up stories of who we are, stories that make us feel better about ourselves and keep us from having to face the harsh realities that maybe we aren’t the knights in shining armor we wish we were.  Meanwhile, we glorify courage if it comes in the form of someone submitting for a whip scene or bravely stepping into harm’s way for another, but we barely acknowlege the bravery that it takes to completely lay bare one’s heart to another.  Emotional courage is downplayed and even considered a weakness.  Submitting to the will of another or acting in a selfless way is seen as weak as well.

In the BDSM world, I finally found people that seemed to understand that the courage to be emotionally vulnerable is the most difficult to cultivate and that it takes more strength to bend to the will of another than it does to resist.

In this world, I found emotional giants, people of such rare courage that they were brave enough to be who they really were, not just to themselves, but to the world.  I found people who were strong enough even to deny their own egos and find happiness in serving the needs of another.  I found people who’s strength as they cast aside their armor and threw down their weapons, was inspiring enough to help me begin to lay mine down as well.

And yet…I am still a warrior at times and sometimes I need a reminder that my lovers are not my enemies, but my greatest allies.

There’s No Sex In Your Violence!

Posted: October 29, 2010 in BDSM

I’ve been thinking a lot about sex.  It’s actually a topic I rather enjoy, but lately I’ve been finding that there are not that many people in this world that are comfortable talking about sex.  Specifically, I’m thinking and talking about sex in BDSM.  There are many out there who claim that sex is either not a part of what we do, or shouldn’t be a part of what we do.

These people have many different reasons for wanting to remove the sex from BDSM.  For some, it is simply because they themselves do not mix the two and their BDSM experiences, while they may be sensual or pleasurable, do not include sex as a component.  For them, removing sex from the BDSM or Leather culture entirely helps them feel more comfortable and might help keep them from having to play next to a couple for whom sex is very much a part of their play.  For others, it might be to make outsiders feel more comfortable with us as a subculture.  By removing the sexual aspect of what we do, it is thought that perhaps outsiders won’t consider us such freaks or consider our play parties little more than orgies with some beatings involved.  Still others think that this will make it easier for new blood to enter our community since people will be less afraid of sexual asault, random groping, or other “creepiness.”  Finally, there are those who find it easier to mislead others about their true intentions, trumpeting the call of sexless BDSM until they have their “victim” lulled into subspace and then turning the tables, bringing sex back into the picture.  There are as many reasons, really, to remove sex from BDSM as there are people trying to do so, some of them are motivated by good and others by evil.

Either way…I disagree.

Any definition of Sadism and Masochism that I look up will tell me that, clinically, these terms are used to describe people who derive sexual pleasure either from giving or receiving suffering.  That suffering can take many forms, but the main commonality is that, in S&M, the giver and receiver both get off on what they are doing or having done to them.  Within our own community, we often use terms like “alternative sexuality” or “alternative lifestyle,” both of which speak of a different way of expressing our love for our sexual partners, similar to how the LGBT community has used the term “alternative lifestyle” to mean loving their partners, whether or not their love is sanctioned by society or not.  Our community is steeped in the traditions of sexual outlaws.  We are rebels who chose to love as we will and we often scoff at society’s boundaries, seeing them as arbitrarily drawn compared to our own.

And yet…all that seems to go out the window when the boxers or panties come off in the dungeon.

Suddenly, we each have to face our own boundaries and accept that the people using the cross next to us may have very different ones.  In places where legalities keep us from the full expression of our play, sometimes this is less evident, but even then, one person’s hot steamy scene might be pushing another’s boundaries.  Then it comes to an ugly head again as we talk about our scenes and our motivations.  Judgments come into play.  Intolerance blooms like weeds in a garden and spreads.  We decide we simply cannot look away from how another plays, but have to comment on it in public.  Around and around it goes.

When I came into the lifestyle, I never dreamed I would find all that I have found.  I didn’t come looking for great friends, mentors, role models, and inspirations.  I came looking for a sexual partner.  I came looking for someone who would explore the darker side of human sexuality with me, who would be both guide and fellow adventurer down paths that few dare to tread.  I was looking for someone dark and mysterious who would have that edge I was looking for.  I was looking for a man or a woman who would, after I got to trust them enough to let go, bring me to my knees, make me shiver, fuck me hard and without mercy, leave me quivering, breathless, speechless, sweaty, exhausted, and then hold me as I came back from the precipice of feeling, from the very borders of insanity, from the edges of nirvana.  At times, I thought I was looking for the devil him or herself.

Sure, along the way, I found so much more than what I was looking for, but it was that sexual drive that was dark and foreign to the world outside that drove me into this world.  I found the devil I was looking for in my Master and found a multitude of other wonderful creatures along the way.  Still, I am not ashamed that it was sex that brought me here and that my BDSM is inextricably linked to my sexuality.  Licking a boot turns me on.  Kneeling and feeling a boot heel pressed into the back of my neck gets me wet.  The sting of a singletail as I tug on the ropes on my wrist…makes me cum.  I revel in it all, unashamed, unembarrassed.  I follow the rules of the spaces I play in, but within those rules I express my sexuality as wickedly, darkly, and fully as I can.

And I make no apologies for each orgasm.

I respect my brothers and sisters for whom this isn’t about sex, but I also ask that they respect that for me, it is definitely tied to sex as much as I am tied to that suspension ring.  If they are uncomfortable with my scene or any scene where that raw sexuality is expressed, by all means, please look away or leave the room.  You don’t need to feel obligated to watch what makes you uncomfortable.  Just don’t try to make the sexual outlaws feel outcast in our own alternate dominion.  Accept that we share this playground and that some of us play dirty.  Don’t try to force us to water down our play, diluting the vital sexual essence on which we thrive.  Don’t ask us to tame the beasts within us simply because they might frighten you with their cries.  Definitely don’t try to hide your own true desires behind a neat facade of asexuality just to mislead others.  Be honest with who you are and what you want.

And what I want…is Leathersex.

Public vs. Private

Posted: September 1, 2010 in BDSM, general

There seems to be an epidemic lately and, while it’s hardly confined to the kink and Leather communities, like many things, it seems to be magnified within our communities.  This is an epidemic of no longer drawing boundaries between what is shared in public and what is kept private, with information that formerly would have been kept private shared freely throughout the internet.  Everywhere you look, our private lives are strewn about the public space, like the contents of our bedrooms thrown out into the street.  I look online and I can find out all about the latest breakups in all their grisly details.  I can find pictures of the genitalia of my acquaintances.  I can find arguments that used to be kept behind closed doors taking place right on my computer screen.  I can read all the lurid details of someone’s latest sexual conquest, often complete with names.  Often, I see things that I feel like I need to bleach my eyes to unsee.

What I miss…is the sanctity of the secret.  I miss the tease of tiny bits of our inner lives shown versus the full reveal of today’s centerfold spread.

Our lives used to be more striptease and less hard core porn.  We used to slowly reveal more and more of ourselves to our friends and lovers, savoring revealing each inch of our private lives.  We used to tease each other with small hints at what went on in our lives.  I miss that.  I miss feeling like I was special for seeing someone’s genitals, as if that was a gift they had given to me and few others, rather than just being one of a faceless mass of people they’d emailed the pictures to.  I miss the feeling of being one of a few trusted friends that someone might confide in after a bad breakup, comforting them and sharing my own secrets of heartbreak.  I miss the happy ignorance of not knowing who did what to whom and being able to easily look people in the eye when we meet.  I miss being able to trust that a lover will keep what we’ve shared between us, special and treasured.  I miss privacy.

I’m not saying we should all hide our true selves.  I’m not even down on exhibitionism.  I just wish that there was more thought and intent behind all this.

I wish that more of us thought more about what it is that we are choosing to share with the world.  For myself, I choose very carefully what I share.  This isn’t to say I don’t adore a great nude picture or also enjoy porn, but if you ever saw that side of me, it would be my intention and I would make sure it’s done well.  Beyond that, I choose very carefully not to share certain parts of my life.  I do not share arguments, secrets, or all the juicy details of my sex life.  I believe that there is often more titilation to be had from hinting and metaphor than from the full monty.  What I do share, I share with the consent of all involved and I share it with careful thought as to how to present it.

I don’t do any of this because I am ashamed…of any part of my life.  I do it because parts of my life are too special to share.

There are parts of my life that are just too treasured to share with the public.  There are wonderful memories I have that would probably turn a lot of cranks, but those are for me and the people who created them with me.  There are parts of my life that might make Shakespeare weep, but again, those are just not for sale or to be given away.  There are secrets that I keep that would make the gossips squeal with delight, but those secrets I hold as a sacred trust to those who told them.  Some things just aren’t for public consumption, even for a public figure.  I prefer to give instead, Mona Lisa’s smile and perhaps a wink.

What happens when we “let it all hang out” and break down these boundaries between public and private?  Well, for one, trust erodes as we know that any slight between friends and lovers will be shared on the internet for all to comment on.  After we realize that any vulnerability shown to another will later be used to harm us, we will have to build walls to protect ourselves, walls that once were those same boundaries that have been tossed aside will instead be built around our hearts.  For another, discord becomes the norm in our communities as arguments that once would be settled in private among those directly involved become public, with battle lines drawn that would rival any middle school playground brawl.  Respect is lost as leaders act like schoolyard bullies and everyone’s dirt is dished up with a side of contempt and rumors repeated often enough become truth.  What once was precious loses value as it becomes passed around in pictures and human beings are reduced to objects without any regard for the person within.  Everything becomes fast-food and what once was steak is eaten with ketchup and mustard.

It is possible to be sexy without sharing everything with everyone.  It is possible to have a very active and adventurous sex life while still honoring the dignity of one’s partners.  It is possible to keep our disagreements private and still find a resolution.  It is possible to keep secrets and confidences.

Moreover, time has proven that the fascination with Mona Lisa’s smile and the mysteries it seems to hide has far outlasted any gossip or dirty story.

And I hope to have many more memories to smile and wink about!