The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

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There are a lot of fantasy/role-play books with BDSM themes, and people often ask me what is something really fun to read and really kinky?

One book I always suggest is The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, which is the first in a trilogy.

I should admit first that I don’t actually like the beauty series (myself). I am not very good at getting lost in fantasy, and so the whole time I was reading these books I was completely horrified by the lack of consent.

The plot (very briefly): A princess is given to a prince (unwillingly) by her parents so she can learn discipline and humility by becoming a slave in his castle, used for sex as well as random punishment with paddles and whips and the like.

Even though I find the lack of consent unnerving, obviously it is a fictional story with fictional characters and no one at all as harmed except in Anne Rice‘s imagination. So it is very silly of me to find it hard to read.

My only explanation is that I have spent too long in the kink scene, and I have said “safe, sane, and consensual” too many times. It is part of who I am and there is no changing it now. Even in fantasy I want the characters to submit of their own free will if they do submit.

But I digress. If you are looking for a fantasy series about kink, then these are really good books for you. It doesn’t matter if you imagine yourself as the prince (if you are a Dom) or if you imagine yourself as the princess (if you are a Submissive). From either point of view the series explores a wide variety of interesting taboos and situations that your imagination will probably have fun playing with.

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Vacation

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So, due to some personal circumstances, I find myself traveling to Portland for awhile. In theory, I leave January 15th, and I return to Guam February 15th. (But we’re flying Space A with the military so who knows? It’s a lot like catching a bus with no schedule, and when it shows up anyone more important than you can bump you off. )

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I can’t be sure if I’ll be able to post much while I am away, but I hope to come back with interesting stories. Hopefully that will make up for my brief absence.

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In the meantime, wish me luck in my travels. I promise to do my best to check in!

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Slut-Shaming is Still Wrong

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I have said before that slut-shaming is wrong. I will continue to say this because so many men refuse to understand this point, and it gets tiresome.

First, I was recently called a “disgusting sex-worker” and I want to deconstruct all the things wrong with that.

Let’s start with sex workers. This would be someone who sleeps with people for money. A sex worker can be male or female. It is obviously safer to be a sex worker in a place where it is legal, because then regulations can be placed on the industry and STD tests conducted frequently.

I recently had a wonderful sex worker named Nell Gwyn do a guest post on this blog, and it was a brilliant explanation of why someone would choose to work in the sex industry, and how much fun it can be.

Nell acknowledges that some sex workers are coerced. However, legalizing this industry would allow us to shed light on who is doing the work, and make sure that all the people doing it are like Nell (willing and happy with their job.)

These people are doing a job they like, and I think most of the male spite for them comes from the fact that men can not easily get paid to have sex, and so they are very jealous.

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But there is certainly another point to make here: It is not disgusting to have sex!

Why do some men hold on to this antiquated notion that sex is disgusting? And if a woman become “dirty” when she has sex with a man, then isn’t it obvious that we should be looking at HIM for making her “dirty” by touching her? Does this not imply that all men are foul creatures who put dirt on a woman by touching her?

That is ridiculous. Seriously, it’s nuts!

Sex is fun. People should have it because it is enjoyable and also good for your health. Many scientific studies have proven that people who have more sex live longer. I guess we already knew that before science studied it, because of Hugh Hefner. But seriously; it’s fun and it’s good for you. Why would anyone be against people having sex? What horrible prudes feel this way?

As I tried to explain to this person who was slut-shaming, he is only hurting himself. Men want to have sex with women. And yet, some men choose to call women awful names and treat them badly for having sex. This is obviously a case of them acting directly against their own interests. If you shame women for having sex and think they shouldn’t have it, then what will you and your fellow men have sex with, I wonder? Does this mean men should stop sleeping with women (since it makes them dirty and disgusting) and fuck goats instead? Is that somehow cleaner and better?

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But if you are a man, and you do want to have sex with a women, then you are nothing short of stupid and wrong to shame women for having sex. It hurts your cause more than anything else you could do, and never have I seen a more clear example of someone acting against their own interests.

Then there’s the fact that this vanilla person does not even know what a sex worker actually is. It is someone who performs sex acts for money, as per the definition.

To explain all the ways a Dominatrix is not a sex worker, I have to start by telling you that a dungeon is a safe place for a BDSM couple to go learn more about the kink scene, and to play. Because a dungeon is a space that vanilla people do not understand, let me explain what happens in a dungeon.

A person who works there (which has been me at two different dungeons over 10 years) will show you around. We will explain the rules. In most dungeons it is fine to have sex, and it is fine to be nude. But you may not take out your phone or any device with a camera, touch anyone without permission, or interrupt anyone else’s “scene.”

When we say “safe, sane, and consensual” we really mean it.

After a couple is given the tour, they will be allowed to explore the various things the dungeon has to offer. These will be things like cages, sex swings, and BDSM furniture. It is typical for people to bring their own toys, because the sharing of bodily fluids is never encouraged. You also typically find wet wipes with alcohol around, so you can disinfect any furniture you use, just like wiping down a machine at the gym.






But a Dominatrix does more than just give tours. We also teach workshops on scene negotiation, BDSM for new folks, how to use toys like a violet wand or a flogger, and how to conduct an open relationship. I have done workshops on these and many other topics. During the workshops where I am teaching the use of a toy, I will generally have a submissive who acts as my demo bunny so people can actually see the toy in action. However if no one is available, I can of course demonstrate certain things on myself, like the girl above showing how a violet wand works.

A sex worker is different because they are not teaching someone how to act in a dungeon or how to use a flogger. They are actually engaging in sex acts for money. I do not think this is wrong, and I admire all the sex workers I know and have known (I met my first when I was 16. Her name was Julia and she was amazing!).

However, I do not personally participate in sex acts for money, because it is simply not something that falls within my personal comfort level. And that does not mean it is wrong! It simple means it’s not MY thing, much like blood play or a few other hard limits of mine.

So the person who claimed a Dominatrix is a sex worker and that sex workers are disgusting did so for several reasons. The main reason is, of course, ignorance of BDSM and what happens at a dungeon. But also there is an inherit bias in this thinking, involving the religious idea that sex is somehow wrong or dirty (which of course it is not) and that women are somehow made less by having sex (which of course they are not.) It is actually hard to be more wrong than he was, and I hope someday he realizes his vast mistakes in logic and in character.

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Disclaimer: If you are religious, good for you. But in my experience that comes with a lot of baggage about sex. I have had to counsel a lot of people about their feelings of shame when it comes to sex, and personally I think it is horrible that people are taught to be ashamed of natural biological functions. So if you are religious, fine. But for the love of all that is logical and rational, don’t teach your kids to be ashamed of sex! Teach them how to be safe, and how to know when they are ready. But do not instill the same and disgust that these slut-shaming folks have had instilled in them. There is nothing more unnatural and wrong. 

Je Suis Charlie

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None of you know this about me because I try to keep my personal life out of my blog, but I worked for several years as a Journalist.

When I wrote an editorial in support of gay marriage, I received death threats and other “retribution” for expressing my point of view.

Journalism is more dangerous than people might think.

And it shouldn’t be. People like to claim that being offended gives them special rights and privileges. It does not. If you are offended by something, it is an internal problem that you need to deal with on your own. Making everyone else conform to your idea of what the world should be and what people should be allowed to say is wrong. Everyone should get to live their own life in their own way, as long as they are not hurting anyone else.

Due to the murder of the staff of Charlie Hebdo (for speaking out) I just wanted to remind everyone how important freedom of speech and of the press is.

With all of us kinky folks being persecuted and not being able to talk about how we really are in most of our jobs, I think freedom of expression is an important issue for all of us.

So share the above imagine that a newspaper staff died for. Share it on your Facebook or your blog or whatever. This effects everyone.

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50 Shades of Grey

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For the longest time I saw no point in reviewing this book. I saw no point in writing a blog about it, or even bringing it up. I didn’t even know what to say, and in any case, it has been written about over and over by so many people that one more voice didn’t seem like it would add much to the collective dialogue.

I mean, even Dave Barry wrote about 50 Shades of Grey! I definitely didn’t see that one coming. (But it was really funny and you should read it.)

My point is: everything that could be said had been said, and I didn’t know what I could possible add.

But a recent Google search for something kinky again pulled up more 50 Shades of Grey links and pictures, and I found myself miserable that a community I have been in for so long is associated with something so bad. I suddenly felt that this was an “if you see something, say something” situation like stopping men from harassing women or anyone from beating a child. I didn’t care if it had all been said. I was going to say it again!

So first, I have a reading list of good books related to kink that you can read. So you should know right away that there are excellent source materials out there that are not very bad erotic fiction written by someone clueless about kink.

Second, let’s talk about the BDSM slogan: “Safe, Sane, and Consensual.”

It is not safe to date someone who stalks you. It is not safe to date someone who forces you away from your friends and insists on you keeping things a secret. Those are the behaviors of abusers, and you need to stay away from abusive men and women. No one should ever try to isolate you from loved ones like your friends and family, and no one should ever come to your home after you tell them to leave you alone. It’s not healthy to break boundaries that are set by your partner, and is not sane behavior to stalk someone.

And remember that consent is a really big deal. I totally make people fill out consent forms. I have them fill out checklists over tea. I do intense scene negotiations to make sure I am clear on what someone is okay with. And that is how BDSM is supposed to be.

The relationship in 50 Shades of Grey is super unhealthy, as plenty of people before me have said.

I read the book because of a friend of mine named Doctor Xtreme who makes interesting sex toys. He lives in Denver Colorado, and he reported to me that the book store near his house had a pallet of the first 50 Shades book brought in each day and sold out by nightfall. Of course, he was in no way implying that it was a good book. Only that it was a popular book.

Why does that matter? Well, as many have said, it reflects upon the community.

And the truth is, this unhealthy relationship between Ana and Christian reflects very poorly on our community. It will bring new people to our munches and fetish proms who are looking for abusive relationships; coming to us with horrible standards for what they think BDSM is.

It was also pretty awful writing. As an avid reader my entire life, I think I can say that. It was very hard to get through already for ideological reasons, but then I also had to force myself to keep reading (the way I do with a dull textbook for a college course that I’m not into.)

And now they are going to make a movie of the first book, and when that goes well, I bet they make the whole set. I am dreading it. It’ll bring it all out into the public eye again where we all have to discuss it some more, and that won’t be any fun at all.

Anyway, I just wanted to add my voice to those arguing for safe and consensual sex. I hope in the future, more people will come to realize that the BDSM community is a wonderful place, and that 50 Shades of Grey is not representative of us.

A Misunderstanding

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Recently someone who was fairly new to BDSM was chatting with me on fetlife.com. I mentioned that I was having some friends visit for Christmas-`a lesbian couple my husband and I knew in Korea.

He said it sounded like we’d be having some fun parties at my house at night- (implying that we were planning to have sex parties with our lesbian friends.)

The idea he was operating under was that everyone in the community just has sex with each other because he thinks that’s what kinky people do (in part I blame kink.com for this, with all of it’s orgy videos.)

 

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So let me explain something I think is very important to understand about the kink community: Because I am interested in bondage does NOT mean I will have sex with everyone else who is.

As far as I know, our house guests are monogamous. Lots of kinky couples are. That is not unusual and there is nothing wrong with that. Also, being kinky does not somehow transcend sexual orientation. To imply that my husband will be having fun with lesbians is to not understand what a lesbian is. They like women. My husband is a man. Being kinky doesn’t change the fact that lesbians are attracted to women, and men are not women.

I regret that I have to rant about this. I regret that some people do not understand these concepts.

But for the record, being kinky does not mean you immediately jump on anyone else who is kinky. Monogamous kinky people are still monogamous. Lesbian kinky people still only sleep with women. How we like to have sex does not transcend everything else that we are. That’s not how this works.

Sorry, but I just had to get that out.

Also, and Merry Christmas or Happy Kwanzaa or whatever you celebrate, and Happy Western New Year or Lunar New Year or whatever you like.

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Opening Up

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I was recently read a book called Opening Up but Tristan Taormino.

If you are in an open relationship, or if you want to be in one, I think this book is an excellent choice for reading up on how to do it. There is some very useful information on effective communication, as well as some balance sheets that (if you really think about your answers) can help you decide if an open relationship is for you or not.

Obviously in theory it sounds great to be able to have sex with different people. We’re all curious and we have all had that moment of attraction with a stranger that makes us desire to be daring and try something new.

And of course, as I have mentioned before, cheating in “monogamous” relationships is a real problem, which is one of the many reasons the book gives for considering an open relationship.

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However, the author also covers the many reasons it may not work for your relationship. There are lots of things to consider, such as how your are affected by jealousy, and how willing you are to own your feelings (rather than blaming a partner for them.)

It is rare to find a discussion of a topic such as this which is sex positive and overall well thought out. I must say this book contains both of those things in spades. It really is a useful tool to help anyone determine how they feel about an open relationship. and how to make it work.

A lot of us in the kink/sex-positive community struggle to define boundaries and to make the rules as we go along. When you step out of the traditional paradigm, suddenly it can be hard to know where to go from there and how to know what is “normal” any more.

This book gives guidelines and points to ponder that will help you find your way, and help you cope with a situation outside of the comfort of clearly defined boundaries and social conventions.

It is a worthy addition to my bookshelf, and I hope you’ll all consider reading it.

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