Introduction to Fetishes

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Note: This is the last entry on the lecture series that I was hired to do. I just wanted to share this information with all of you. I will be doing the actual workshops in California in April, but as I was preparing them I wanted to make them available to all of you wonderful people who follow me. Thank you for your support. 

Introduction to Kink: Fetishes

When you think of kink, what you are really thinking of are fetishes. So what is a fetish? It is something that a person finds sexually exciting, but which is not considered to be part of the mainstream sources of sexual stimulation. We’re all turned on by different things, and many of us are turned on by things that we may not even understand. That’s okay. This is just a little information about some of the most popular fetishes, and what they are all about.

Anal Sex: Most young people do not even consider this a fetish anymore. Anal sex has become pretty mainstream, though I am sure it would turn our grandparents hair if they knew. I think it is exciting to people because it is considered to be forbidden, and also because for men it stimulates the prostate gland, which is sort of like their G-Spot.

Bondage: Obviously this can be as simple as using whatever is handy to tie a person’s hands together, or as complicated as shibari (Japanese rope bondage.) Some people who love to be bound are fine with a simple restraint like gear ties, and some desperately want to feel the experience of being slowly worked into an elaborate set of knotwork. Either way, the pleasure is from the experience of being bound, and from the restriction of movement that comes with it.

Impact Play: This can be something a simple as a bare-hand spanking, or as complicated as paddles and whips. It is simply the joy you feel when you are hit with something. Impact play is one of the most common fetishes, and I think even most vanilla people like the idea of spanking.

Electrical Play: This is often using something like a Violet Wand of Tens unit. My Pet really loves electricity and electrical play, and many people find the sensations enjoyable. It’s the involuntary stimulation of muscles, the feeling of the electricity in the air, and a whole host of feelings related to the joy of electricity. Please note that it is very important to do this safely with toys made for electrical play. It is not safe or in any way okay to use things not designed for electrical play. I don’t care if you felt sexually aroused when you saw someone hooked up t a car battery in a movie. You cannot do this in real life. You will stop your heart.

Role Play: There are lots of different kinds of role-play. Many people enjoy playing out rape scenes because of the involuntary nature of the concept, which allows them to play with ideas they wouldn’t play with in “real life.” Others enjoy playing scenes involving age discrepancy, such as adult baby play, daddy-daughter play, or teacher-student play. As long as these scenes are negotiated in advance, there is nothing wrong with enjoying whatever fetish turns you on, but please remember that everything needs to be safe, sane, and consensual.

Furries: The media often portrays furries as too strange for words, and it’s unfortunate that these people are denigrated so much in popular culture just because they enjoy dressing up as animals to have sex. It’s about getting in touch with a more primal nature, and realizing that humans are animals, no matter how evolved we think we are. And for people who find their own bodies unattractive, it’s a safe place to hide (inside a suit) and be something other than themselves.

Feminization: Many men enjoy being forced into traditionally feminine roles, such as wearing female clothes or being forced to do housework. I think this is a reflection of how society lets women be “tomboys” while simultaneously forbidding men from showing any hint of femininity. I am sure you’re seeing by now that the main theme is taboo. If something is forbidden, it is bound to be fetishized.

Foot Fetishes: This is perhaps one of the oldest fetishes, and there have been many incarnations of this fetish. Some have argued that foot binding in China was a result of men having a fetish about feet. I personally have a friend who is really into feet, and also socks (particularly those with stripes) and shoes (particularly those with straps.) Foot worship, boot worship, boot blacking, and all related fetishes seem to be related to the idea that feet are an overlooked part of the body. Certainly they have a lot of nerves, so if you find yourself with someone who enjoys feet, you may enjoy it more than you expect.

Hook Suspension: There are groups all over of folks who like to be hung from hooks that are carefully placed under the skin. I saw my first hook suspension when I was seventeen, and I remember being shocked at how much the skin on the subject’s back could stretch. It must have been 12 to 14 inches off of his back, and yet somehow it was still attached. I admire the peace that people seem to find when they engage in hook suspension, and it does look like a very spiritual experience. However, like many folks, I worry too much about skin damage (scars and potential infections) so I prefer to watch.

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Note: This is a very short list of just a few fetishes that are common. There are lots of fetishes, and it seems to me that as society accepts more and more things, fetishes get stranger and stranger (to accommodate the need to taboo). I think the key is not to judge “strange” as “bad.” Strange and weird things can be wonderful and enjoyable, and there is no reason to fear something just because you have never done it before.

There are many fetish lists available online, but of course, none of them are comprehensive because there will always be something else that someone else fins sexy. That’s not a bad thing. The difficult part is to find someone  who is willing to indulge your fetishes, and to be able to communicate those fetishes effectively to your partner. It’s also important to be able to manage your disappointment, because no matter how much someone loves you, they imply may not be comfortable with you peeing on them. It’s important to respect the fact that just because you like something, doesn’t mean someone has to do it for you.

It’s also important to remember that just because something looked exciting to you in a pornographic move, that doesn’t mean you will enjoy it in real life. You may watch needle play in a video and think the blood is sexy, but in reality perhaps you are worried about germs and infections, and you don’t really want that done to you. It’s okay to find something exciting and still not want to do it. That’s the beauty of fantasy.

Limits

The key to experiencing fetishes is to find where your limits are. You have to really evaluate what you are comfortable with having done to your body. No one can tell you (and no one should try to tell you) what you are okay with. It’s a journey that we all have to take on our own.

It’s also important to note that you may change your mind over time. You can start out with limits in one place, and as you go through life, you might reevaluate where your limits are and push them farther. There is nothing at all wrong with changing your mind about what you are okay with. There is nothing at all wrong with thinking something is disgusting at first, and then coming around to wanting to try it years later. Don’t judge people whose limits are in different places than yours, as your own limits may move over time.

Summary

A fetish is nothing more than a thing that you find sexually arousing. It’s not a frightening thing, or a thing to be judged for. Many fetishes are based in acts that are considered taboo by mainstream people, and this is to be expected. Remember that you are the only person who can decide what you are comfortable with, and that you should never let anyone make you feel bad for the things that you find sexually exciting. We are all on our own journeys, and it’s important to remember that you can’t understand someone else’s journey because you haven’t lived through the things that they have lived through. Tolerance and understanding are key in the kink community, and I hope you will all remember to do your best to be open-minded about new ideas, and to show compassion to those who are different. That, more than anything else, is the spirit of the kink community.

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Introduction to Headspace

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Note: I am preparing a lecture series for a speaking engagement I was booked for, and I am sharing the information here so that anyone and everyone can use them. Today’s topic is Part One of the introduction to kink workshop, where I discuss how head space plays a role in kink. 

Introduction to Kink: Headspace

There are a lot of aspects to kink, which I think people don’t realize. From the outside, maybe it’s the clothes that folks notice, or maybe they heard about a specific fetish and they find it weird. But there is a lot more to kink than that.

First, let’s talk about the mindset.

A huge part of kink s something we like to call “head space.” This refers to the frame of mind a person gets into when they are going to play a kink scene.

There are terms you should know that are involved in this frame of mind. Here are some quick and dirty definitions.

Sub Space: This is a way to describe the peaceful state that a submissive is trying to obtain during a scene. Ideally, they want to become completely relaxed and go inside of themselves. They want to focus completely on the sensations happening to them.

Catharsis: We use this term to describe the feeling of getting into sub space and having that perfect moment of peace. This can often cause a submissive to cry; but it is not tears from the pain or degradation involved in a scene. It is the feeling of finally getting an experience they dreamed of and feeling the way they hoped to feel.

After Care: After a scene, it is important to talk it out if possible. Bringing up any problems can make for a better scene next time. However, sometimes there is nothing to talk about. Sometimes everything was wonderful, and the only thing to do is to remain in physical contact (For example, stroking a Pet’s hair) until they “come down.”

Sub Drop: This expresses the feeling a submissive feels when a scene is over. Sometimes this is due to a lack of After Care, but it can also happen even with an attentive top. Sometimes there is just a feeling of sadness that follows, and it is important to be supportive of a submissive during this time.

Top Drop: We use this term to describe the feelings of sadness a top might feel after a scene. There is a rush of adrenalin and endorphins during a scene, and sometimes afterwards when those hormones wear off, it can leave you feeling let down.

There are lots more terms, but I don’t want to overload you with information since this is meant to be an introduction to kink. These terms are given mostly to illustrate what it is like from a mental standpoint. There is a lot going on under the surface. To an outsider it may just look like a woman in leather hitting a boy who is tied up, but that isn’t all there is to kink. A huge part of it is the mental play, and embracing the roles of Master and Slave (or Top and Bottom or Dom and Sub- you get the idea.)

How do you get into headspace?

A common question is how to approach getting into the right frame of mind. After all, it doesn’t necessarily come naturally to a person to whip another person (for some it does, but let’s focus on the folks who need help.)

I am almost always the Top, or Domme in a scene.

For me, getting into a headspace is mostly about putting on my clothes (I favor a lot of vinyl) and listening to loud music. The clothes are sort of a ritual. It’s a way for me to leave my normal mindset and focus on the mindset I am trying to transition into. The loud music is usually industrial, and that just gets my blood flowing.

This is not unlike getting yourself into other types of mindsets. For example, think of women who take a long time to shave and dress while listening to music before a date; it’s  about feeling sexy. Or think of a man who practices lines in the shower, trying to focus on what to say on a date. Even in the case of putting on something solemn and black before a funeral, you are mentally preparing yourself for the situation you are about to go into.

Kink is just like this. It also requires getting into a mood.

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Scene Negotiation:

I know that in the porn movies things just happen. But in real life, we need to focus on “safe, sane, and consensual.” That means talking things out first.

There are several useful scene negotiation forms online, but basically you need to decide a few things:

1. What role do you want to play?

2. What are your soft limits (things you are unsure about)?

3. What are you hard limits (things you refuse to do)?

4. What will you be using to prevent STDs or pregnancy?

5. What is your safe word (red for stop, yellow for slow down, green for go)?

Note: I like to use stoplight colors for safe words because I think it’s universal and easy. I know all the jokes are about silly safewords like “banana pancakes” and you can do that if you want. But it’s best in the begging to keep it simple.

Now, a basic scene negotiation form will help you negotiate those main points, but of course there is more you can consider. For example, there are several good fetish lists online, so you can download one and fill it out with your partner if you want to get more in-depth in your discussions (maybe you are eager to have a serious conversation about adult baby play?)

You don’t have to go overboard your first time out, but you do need to make sure that you both have clear expectations. If you think resentment can build up quickly in vanilla sex (why won’t she go down on me?) trust me that it can build up faster when kink is involved.

Setting Up a Scene:

Once you are in the right mindset, it is important to set up the scene. Sometimes kink is spontaneous, but not most of the time. It is more typical for things to be planned in advance. Here are some things to consider:

Safety: Make sure that if you are using rope, you have something to cut the rope away quickly if needed. Have water handy for your submissive as physical strain can lead to a need to hydrate. Make sure you have a safeword sorted out, or a nonverbal signal if the submissive will be gagged.

Mood: Make sure that your lighting is right, and you have music in the background. Set everything up in such a way that both you and your partner will be comfortable.

Toys: Any toys you plan to use should be cleaned and laid out beforehand, so that they are easy to get to. This is because stopping a scene to dig for a toy can jar the submissive out of subspace. If possible, it’s best to avoid stopping the scene.

Blankets: Make sure there is a yoga mat or blanket on the floor if you intend to have your submissive kneel for any part of the scene.

These are just general concerns, but obviously there are specifics to consider too. For example, if you are doing anal, you should have lube handy. Always be prepared so that things can go smoothly once the scene begins.

Playing a Scene:

Once it is time to actually play, it’s up to you what you want to do! I can’t tell you what your kink should be. However, I do want to caution you to start slowly, and let sensations build. You don’t want to whip someone full-force right from the start. Perhaps run the whip along their skin first, and then let it fall across them lightly. Just let thinks build up so that you can both have time to make sure that you are okay with what is happening, and so that it isn’t too jarring.

Summary:

In conclusion, the mindset you go into play with is important. I know that isn’t apparent when watching a scene at a dungeon or in a movie. However, I want to assure you that what is going on underneath the surface is every bit as important as what is going on outside of the participant’s heads. Kink is about indulging in fetishes, but it is also about a power exchange taking place below the surface, and without that component it isn’t very exciting or fulfilling for anyone.

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Activity for Talking About Sex

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I already posted Part One and Part Two of the lectures I created on talking about sex (for the speaking workshop I was hired to do.)

However, I thought it would be fun to include the activity as well.

After the lectures, each person gets a copy of the handout below. They are not told what will happen after they complete the handout; only that they should try to be honest.

Once everyone finishes the handout, they are randomly paired with someone else in the workshop. They are meant to communicate their answers to the stranger.

This is good practice, and it’s fun to watch too.

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Name:_____________________________

Instructions: Please answer the questions below as honestly as you can.

Should you be monogamous or polyamorous:

1.  How would you feel if my partner went out on a date and you were at home alone?

2. How would you feel if my partner developed feelings for another person?

3. How would you feel if my partner decided another relationship was more valuable to him or her, and   therefore moved you from the primary position to a secondary position in their life?

How will you ensure good communication:

4. What rules would be have in place to ensure good communication?

5. Have I considered all the possible consequences?

6. Have I decided what risk level is acceptable to me?

7. Have I decided on a plan to make sure that my risk level is met?

Deciding on what you want:

8. What you are hard limits?

9. What are your soft limits?

10. What are things you are unsure about?

11. Are you sure that you are comfortable with this?

12. Are you sure it is fair to ask your partner for this?

13. What are the things that could go wrong, and are you willing to accept responsibility for those things?

 

 

 

Talking About Sex: Part Two

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Communication

In the kink community, we like to use scene negotiation forms, worksheets, and checklists. I generally make a pot of tea, and then we have tea while discussing the paperwork. This is because there is a lot to consider when you are about to have a kinky threesome with two of the participants gagged and a role play scenario playing out. Vanilla sex is less complicated. Because of this, you may not need paperwork in order to let your partner know what you need.

Things to keep in mind:

1. Use positive language.

Of course this applies to all communication, but it is particularly important when talking about sex, because it is a very sensitive topic for people.

Example of poor communication: “When my ex Mandy used to lick my asshole it was amazing and I want you to do it just like her.”

Why is this an example of poor communication?

Well, for starters, we’re referring to an ex by name, and that can make it more hurtful, as though you are comparing your partner to someone else. It is often less hurtful to say something like: “In the past, I have enjoyed X.”

Now, another way this is hurtful is that the person speaking is throwing the idea in their partner’s face. We shouldn’t do that when raising new ideas or fantasies. Instead we should try to bring up the idea in a more gentle way, such as “Have you ever given any thought to X?”

Finally, let’s remember that we need to give our partner room to say no if something isn’t okay with them. People can be uncomfortable with various things due to past trauma like rape, previous negative experience with the specific thing, and many other factors. If we introduce a new idea, we need to be willing to receive a “no,” and we need to leave room to hear it.

2. Set the right mood.

When there is paperwork, you need light. Hence I try to use my living room as the place to sit, with cozy warm drinks and comfortable furniture.

However, if you are not doing a kink scene negotiation, then you probably don’t need a handout to talk about it. If that is the case, then I recommend having conversations about sex in the dark, in bed. If possible, it helps to be physically touching in some way, although I can understand that when you feel the need to emotionally pull back, you may also feel the need to physically pull back. We can’t always control those involuntary things that are brain makes our body do. However, maintain physical contact if you can, because it helps. Touch is comforting.

I also recommend music, which is something I use. I don’t necessarily use relaxing music, because often I am trying to create a sexy mood and I personally don’t find relaxing music sexy. You may feel differently. It doesn’t matter what you select as long as it’s something that you and your partner both like. It fills in awkward pauses and provides a helpful distraction.

3. Bring all your love and acceptance.

It is wonderful if you can get some or even most of the things that you want from your partner. However, since people are all very different, you will probably never get every single thing you need from one person.

Therefore, you may ask for some things and get a no. Perhaps your partner doesn’t like role-play. Maybe they don’t feel comfortable with spanking. It could be that anal sex just isn’t their thing.

And when you run into a thing that you would like and you ask your partner, it can be easy to feel like you deserve this thing because you got up the courage to ask. This is natural, but it is also wrong. You need to overcome that feeling.

Yes, it takes courage to ask for things.

However, your partner still has a right to say no.

So when you are talking about things you want, remember that you won’t get all of them. Maybe you really want to go to a sex club and switch partners with another couple. But, maybe your partner is not comfortable having sex with strangers and needs to get to know someone first. Well, just because you want to go to a sex club and have sex with a stranger, doesn’t mean that you get to if you want to stay in the relationship. You both have to be okay with it.

When possible, try to find a compromise. In the example above, you wanted to swap partners at a sex club. However, your significant other didn’t feel comfortable with that because they won’t sleep with strangers. So, you can compromise by getting to know a couple first, and then taking then to a sex club and swapping partners. If you’re all into role-play you can even pretend you have never met once you get there.

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Summary

The keys to remember are:

1. Get comfortable with the idea of talking about sex.

2. Figure out what you want first.

3. Use positive language, set up a cozy environment, and be prepared to hear “no.”

4. Never stop communicating with your partner, and re-negotiate your sexual interests at least once a year because tastes change over time.


Note
: I am sure all of you wonderful people know this already, but I will remind you anyway. Please make sure that you take time to put yourself in your partner’s shoes and think about them before you talk to them. People can be very sensitive about sex.

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