In-Person Interaction

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I was chatting with someone, and she said she never goes to munches. Not long after that, she said she wished she could figure out how to meet people. She did not see the irony in this at all.

I know that OkCupid and a few other dating sites have started to add options to let people know that you are into kink. And, I know that Fetlife is technically somewhere that you could “meet people” if you just went around stalking profiles.

However, I’ve always found in-person interaction to be the best way to meet people. For us kinky folks, we can go to any public dungeons in our area, or attend munches and play parties. But, even for vanilla people, all they have to do is get a hobby like hiking of knitting and then go to group events. I actually met a few people that I have dated though D&D (which has a surprisingly high percentage of kinksters involved.)

There’s a few reasons that in-person interactions are best, and I want to talk about them.

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Number One: Pheromones 

This is going to sound weird, but if you’re a female, you probably base a lot of your feelings of attraction on genetic compatibility. On a subconscious level, a women breaths in pheromones from a man and is more attracted to them if they are a better genetic match.

Have you ever had that guy that you totally hated, but you couldn’t stop having sex with him? This is why. And it’s also why the guy that is perfect for you in every way might not make you wet and horny.

Men are not able to detect genetic compatibility in this way, but they certainly feel more attracted to women who are attracted to them. So, sometimes a man will think “I don’t know why but I just can’t get enough of her.” This is usually because you can sense her sexual desire.

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Number Two: Looking Them in the Face

Another reason that meeting people in person is better is that you can see their faces. You shallow people are going to think that I mean you can make sure that they’re hot, but that’s not where I am going with this. I think physical attraction is highly subjective.

The real reason you want to see someone’s face is so that you can ask pointed questions and see if they are lying. Very few people can hide their feelings well, and when you say “I think Trump is the worst President in history,” you’ll see them flinch if they’re some MAGA psychopath. Then you know to walk away.

It’s easier for people to lie (or at least avoid the question) in text. So if you’re wasting time chatting in a messaging program for weeks, you’re probably not even getting an accurate picture of the person on the other side of the phone.

 

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Number Three: Waste Less Time

Another great thing about in-person interaction is that it happens faster. Let’s assume that you have to talk to twenty people before you find one that you like (or thirty for the really picky.) This can take forever if you text for months while working up to a first date.

Even worse, if you spend months texting with someone before you meet them, you may feel obligated when you do meet to “give the relationship a try” even if there’s no chemistry. That means wasting even more time in a bad relationship that’s going nowhere.

Meanwhile, if you talk to someone at a munch and you’re not into it, you can just excuse yourself and go talk to someone else. There’s no time and effort invested, so it’s not a horrible tragedy if it doesn’t work out.

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Number Four: Friends Help You

It also helps to make friends. When you go to an in-person event, it’s possible that you’ll meet people who you’re not attracted to, but whom you like anyway.

You might say: I thought we were talking about dating; what does making friends have to do with that? I think it has a lot to do with it.

When you make friends, those people tend to know other people. They might not be the one for you, but they might know the person who is. Networking is the best way to get anything you really want, after all.

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Number Five: Screening 

Think of meeting people in person as a screening process. You look around the room, and you see a guy wearing a Trilby. Those have become code for hipsters and incels, so you can be pretty safe in avoiding that person.

Maybe you see a guy in a suit and you think: “Arg, I don’t want to be with someone who tries that hard. I want to wear sweatpants.”

Maybe you see a guy in sweatpants and think: “Eww, I take care of myself and I want someone else who does.”

All I’m saying is, people tend to airbrush their dating profile photos and hide their flaws online. Flaws are harder to hide in person. So, you can think of an in-person meetup as a chance to screen the people in your area quickly and realistically.

You probably want to avoid the guy who can’t make eye contact. You likely won’t be into the guy who smells bad. And let’s all admit that guys add a few inches online, but they’re always shorter in person. If you meet at a munch, you’ll know if they’re actually taller than you, and if they’re not, you can judge how insecure they are about it in real time.

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The Point: Our Generation Forgot How to Date

It’s not our fault. The Internet marketed dating sites to us since we were kids. We all thought you were supposed to meet people online. I understand that. But I like to think of meeting people as a two-step process. First you find the online community where your sort of people hang out, and then you go to a meetup.

After all, if you meet a guy at the grocery story, he’ll probably be one of those folks who refuses to flog you because “he doesn’t want to hurt you” or thinks anal sex means something going in your butt instead of his. Vanillas are everywhere and they’re no fun at all.

Therefore, you want to narrow it down to an online community that you like where you know that people will have similar interests to you. Then, you want to actually go to a meetup and assess your options in person.

Is it a pain in the ass? Yes! Does dating suck a fat bag of dicks? Yes!

However, we’re social creatures and we’re just better off when we have cuddles and stuff. So, get out and do something! Find your people! And then find the one person (or people) among your crowd that you can connect with.

It’s still the best way to find love.

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My Trans Identity

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I was born a female. I have XX chromosomes. I am in possession of a set of ovaries and a uterus. In addition to that, I live as a woman. People use she/her pronouns for me, and I wear makeup and women’s clothes.

Some might say that if I was born a woman and I live as a woman, I cannot be transgender. I wish that were true, because it sure would be easier for me!

The truth is: I’ve always been a boy. This is not something that is based on my sex organs or how I look to you today. It’s based on my brain.

This is why being transsexual is complicated.

Biological sex is already complicated. I have XX chromosomes, which made fetus-me develop female sex organs. However, that isn’t what makes someone a woman. There are women who don’t have female sex organs. Transgender women, for example, don’t possess a uterus or ovaries. They are still women. My mother had a complete hysterectomy of all her female organs including her ovaries. She’s still a woman. It’s not the uterus that makes the female. And more than that, intersex people can have both sex organs or neither, so sex was never even binary on a physical level to begin with.

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Meanwhile, gender (which is different than sex) is currently determined based on arbitrary stereotypes. People think that men must be aggressive and violent. They think women must be patient and nurturing. Those are obviously just constructs created to subjugate women. So, the idea of gender is pretty much fake. It’s all made up.

For me personally, the reason that I know that I am a guy is because I am attracted to women, and when I have sex with them, I experience extreme gender dysphoria. Somewhere deep in my soul, I feel like I belong in a male body, and like I should be able to have sex with women in the same way as a man. Not with a strap-on. But, with my own body parts.

Everyone has instincts. Couples used to be told before their wedding night that they shouldn’t worry because “sex is all instinct.” This rings true.

For me, my instincts are to peruse and have sex with women in the way that a biologically male human can. It’s weird to know on an intellectual level that something is impossible, but still feel the instinct pulling on your consciousness. I like to compare it to the Call of the Void. When a person stands on a ledge, they often feel an odd urge to jump which comes from somewhere deep inside of them. Their conscious mind tells them that such an instinct is crazy, and tries to push the feeling away.

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That is what it feels like to me when I have sex with a woman. It feels like something deep inside of me is male, and trying to process the experience with male instincts. A deeply ingrained voice tells me “Put your dick in her!” And I brush it away because I live in a female body and I can’t do that.

I also experience an odd sensation when people assign female stereotypes to me. It’s best described as offense on a cellular level. Somewhere deep inside of me I feel taken aback that someone would ask me for makeup advice or assume that I would know about tights. It’s like my body is offended that anything stereotypically female would be placed upon it, because such a thing wouldn’t fit.

Intellectually, I know that gender is a social construct and that there are no male or female things. Working on cars is for everyone. Cooking is for everyone. Makeup is for everyone. There’s no activity that is truly related to sex organs except for sex.

However, when someone places a female stereotype on me, the offense is really just about them not recognizing that I am not female. This is stupid, since I choose to live as female (for a variety of reasons- but mostly because science can’t give me a real penis so what would be the point of transitioning?) If you present as female, you shouldn’t be offended if people think you are female and use female pronouns to address you. That said, my conscious mind understands many things which my unconscious mind refuses to accept. My subconscious mind knows that my brain is male and it gets offended, even though my conscious mind knows that I live in a female body and have no right to be offended.

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It’s very confusing for me, so I can only imagine how hard it is for others.

The point is: Not all transgender people choose to transition. Some of us just live with dysphoria and feel uncomfortable about it, but don’t think that the alternative is better.

With all of that out of the way, I’d like to thank the people who just see me as I am even though I wear a women-skin. I have a few friends who just gave me an odd look upon meetings me and said: “Wait a second- you’re a guy.” And, they weren’t implying that I am too tall or that I have 5 o’clock shadow (because -again- I have XX chromosomes and it shows.) They just saw past my exterior and into my soul, and they realized that I was actually a boy on the inside. I’m so grateful that some people can do that.

You might ask: “If you are a guy, then why are you always going on and on about feminism?

It’s not a terribly fair question since men can be feminists too, but let’s address it in terms of me personally (everyone has a different reason for being a feminist, and all I can give you is mine.)

The reason is that -to some extent- form dictates behavior. That is to say; we don’t realize that a lot of what our brain is telling us is just based on our physical experience of living in a body. I live in a female body. It has impacted my life very severely in nearly every interaction I have ever had with other humans.

Living in a female body means I had to go through puberty as a female. I had to watch all my friends (I always had male friends growing up) turn on me. I went -in the span of a summer- from a friend to an object (because men objectify women.) I lost my social group and everything that mattered to me, and had to experience old men suddenly groping me in public and calling me “Sweetheart.” (By the way, as a man trapped in a women’s body, being molested by an old guy is so many layers of gross and confusing for a 12-year-old.)

Living in a female body also meant having to get a period. This is a terrifying responsibility that includes birth control, pregnancy scares, and being part of the half of the species that is expected to make all the new humans. It’s not okay. Seriously, it’s way too much responsibility and also it’s like a shoe that doesn’t fit. I always wanted to be a dad, so why was I constantly in danger of becoming a mom? There is no overstating how much the reproductive responsibility weighs on you.

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Being the XX chromosome holder also means living on a hormone roller-coaster. It means having to be tougher than those who don’t have ovaries. Non-ovary people claim that they are stoic, but they only think they are. They don’t know what it’s like to act totally normal while your insides are on fire and blood is running out of you. Nothing is more hardcore, and no one has ever had to be more stoic than a person on their period.

Being a “woman” (a word used here to denote having to bear the burden of reproduction because no other word exists for this concept) means having to be way more responsible than the non-ovary having people. It’s much harder, and it’s completely unfair.

That’s why I am a feminist.

It doesn’t matter that my mind is male. My body is female, and I know first-hand that being female is much harder, comes with tons of disadvantages and basically no advantages, and is just shitty as fuck. It’s awful. I don’t say that because of the dysphoria. I say that objectively after a fair comparison. Women have less rights, are treated worse, are expected to shoulder more burdens, and are told to shut the fuck up about it.

As a man with a vagina, I find this offensive.

It’s an insult to my brain to live in this body, but it’s more of an insult that this body is given a lower standing in the world than a male one would be. I’m offended by how society treats “women.”

This can mean things like lower wages and a lack of respect given (which transgender women experience.) It can also mean things like less access to healthcare and period discrimination (which is more of a cisgender women or pre-op trans man thing.)

Yes, it is confusing. There are not nearly enough words to describe all these ideas. I am furious when I want to complain about having periods and worrying about pregnancy and abortion rights, because the only words I’m allowed to say to describe that are: “I hate being a woman.” And obviously, those words are inaccurate. They are wrong for me because inside I am not a woman. They are also wrong for transgender men who take testosterone and live as men, but who haven’t had bottom surgery. They’re not women either, but they also have the period-and-pregnancy-problem. And, it’s discriminatory against XX women who have had a hysterectomy or women who are MTF trans, because they are also women but do not have the period-and-pregnancy-problem.

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And when I say, “I need a separate word for the period-and-pregnancy problem” (because “women” doesn’t work) people tell me I shouldn’t even be allowed to ask for a word for my experiences because it “excludes some women.” Which, like, of course it does. I’m not talking about being a women. That’s literally the point.

You can’t even talk about being transgender without offending basically everyone. Even other transgender people are offended when I call myself transgender since I live as the sex that I was born. You can’t ever make everyone happy on this topic, because someone will always find a way to twist something you said into an insult against someone else. And yet, no amount of offense can change the facts. I’m a guy. I live in a girl’s body. I even wear makeup. And although I was born a girl and I live as a girl, I’m still transgender because I experience gender dysphoria.

I hope you got something out of this explanation, because I think these are conversations we need to be having. I mean, at dinner parties no one can ever grasp me explaining that “I use female pronouns but I’m the husband,” while my other half says “I use male pronouns and I’m the wife.” It shouldn’t be that hard. Honestly. Just refer to me as she/her and treat me like the husband. Refer to him as he/him and treat him like the wife. Done. (It’s just a preference that makes us comfortable with you, after all.)

People really pretend that it’s much harder in practice than it is.

One final thing: It should be clear that all of this has nothing at all to do with our kink roles. I happen to be the Domme and also the husband, but I am not the Domme because I am the husband. He happens to be the submissive and the wife, but he’s not the submissive because he’s the wife. Kink roles are not related to gender at all, nor should they be.

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Public Service Announcement

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Hey guys.

This isn’t even a kinky post. All the whips and chains in the world can’t save bad sex. So, I want to talk a little about something that I find comes up far more than it should when talking to men.

Recently a man said to me that he “is really good with a dildo.”

I paused.

No amount of stalling for time helped; there was nothing I could say to that. It was clear from the context that he has a smaller-than-average penis, and he was describing penetrating his girlfriend with a dildo instead of this small penis because he thought she liked it.

*Sigh*

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Now, Look:

I don’t know her, and so I’ll allow that there is the slightest chance that she did like it. However, the much more likely scenario is that she (as the submissive in the relationship) liked that he liked it, but also secretly wished he would stop. According to all the scientific studies out there (and my own experience) more than 90% of women cannot orgasm from penetration alone.

Too many guys are out there fucking a girl or ramming her with a dildo and expecting that action to get her off, and guys, it doesn’t work like that.

I’d like to recommend two really good books about sex that can help you make better choices if you want to please your female partner:

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Bonk by Mary Roach is a hilarious book about the science of sex, and it’s also very informative.

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She Comes First by Ian Kerner is also a super-helpful book that describes the mechanism of the female orgasm in detail, and the anatomy behind it.

Basically, women have something called a clitoris that is outside of the vagina (well, the exposed tip of it is on the outside.)

Most of us cannot achieve orgasm without direct stimulation of this part of our anatomy.

Not only that, but many women experience pain from penetration due to endometriosis, PCOS, menopause, uterine fibriods, and a host of other issues that make penetrative sex very uncomfortable.

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Women (particularly the submissive ones) are sometimes terrified to tell you this. I have seen men rage at the very suggestion that they are not pleasing their partner, even when I knew from the mouth of the woman that this was the case.

In fact, several of my more submissive female friends have asked me to gently talk to their significant other about how women orgasm and about how most women do not like it when you pound away on them with a dildo, your dick, or anything else you may want to thrust repeatedly and thoughtlessly into them.

Women like vibrators, though. The bigger, the better. Think of the Magic Wand. This is something that you –yes you!– can use on your submissive to make her orgasm.

Instead of pounding away on her poor vagina, you can use this to actually make her vagina wet!

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Not all women like vibrators. Some prefer a tongue. Some are okay with fingers being used if they are used carefully and with lube (remember: the tip of the clitoris has more nerve endings that your entire penis so don’t be rough unless she asks you to!)

However, you do need to stimulate a woman’s clitoris in order to make her orgasm in most cases. This is not a complicated fact, and the man in question (who is nearly 50 years old!) really should have known better than to be pounding away on his poor girlfriend for hours on end with a dildo. Yes, a submissive often thinks that pleasing you is hot. But, she still deserves for you to take her anatomy into consideration when you do sex stuff to her.

So please, straight men, get your shit together. Stop thrusting uselessly into dry vaginas. Instead, help your partner achieve orgasm before the penetration part of sex, so she is more likely to find it enjoyable.

Stop watching porn made by men for men and thinking that is a good way to learn about sex. Learn about a women’s anatomy instead, and guarantee that no one has to fake another orgasm with you.

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Censorship and BDSM

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I am so relieved that Fetlife.com is still up. When they took down the personals section in Craigslist and all those other websites, I thought that Fetlife was next. When all that was going on, we were about to move from Guam to Hawaii, and I was like “How are we going to make new friends after we move?”

Thankfully, that wasn’t a problem.

However, that doesn’t mean we should let our guard down. There is a lot of censorship going on lately in other areas, and maybe we all think it’s for the best to ban a shitty Nazi or take away Alex Jones show (they are horrible!) But, we have to be watchful because it could be us next.

I would encourage you all to think about the balance between free speech and censorship. I know it’s not sexy and there are no whips and chains involved, but spare a minute anyway.

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My second degree is in Communications, and that involved a lot of Media Law classes and Constitutional Law classes. Where it sits right now, free speech ends at harm. So a shitty Nazi telling people to kill Jews is trying to incite violence, and that is a type of harm. You’re not allowed to say that you want to kill the President because that is a type of harm (although- only to him.) And of course, the old example of not being able to yell “fire” in a theater is just another example of a way to cause harm.

Keeping this principle in mind, let’s try to keep anything that could be construed as harm off of our sites. You know what I mean. If you see something shady in our community, say something. It’s up to us to police ourselves so that we can mount a good legal defense if they come for us.

I know that may ring a little paranoid to some ears, but then, folds told me before the Edward Snowden revelations that it was silly of me to think that the government was spying on its own citizens. Afterwards, everyone just got kind of awkward when they realized that an NSA agent had probably seen their dick pic.

The point is, we all need to be mindful of censorship and how it can affect us. This is a conservative era and online communities are being affected. Let’s make sure we’re not one of them.

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Lifestyle Under Threat

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It’s been two decades since I got into the kink scene for the first time, and so much has changed. Sit back, relax, and let me tell you younglings about how things were back in the day.

In the 90’s, religious groups would advertise fake kink meetups so they could prey upon anyone who showed up. It was mostly Mormons, but Christians did it too. I grew up in Arizona, and there was a kink group called Arizona Power Exchange, or APEX. They advertised their meetups with fliers at popular counter-culture hangouts like The Graffiti Shop on Mill Avenue. Unfortunately, they couldn’t stop Mormon prayer groups from putting out fliers for fake events, and then telling any “sinner” who showed up how they needed to be saved.

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This is how I came to understand that kinky people were discriminated against by society, and it’s also how I came to hate Mormons. I actually wish Hell was real so those fucks could burn in it.

However, it wasn’t just Mormons and other religious nut-balls who preyed upon us. There were a lot of physiologists who saw kink as a disease of the mind. They claimed that things like rape fantasies made you “sick” and “dangerous.” They tried to lure people into special counselling groups and get them on medication, while lying to them about how unusual they were.

The cat is out of the bag, thanks to the Internet. In a new book called Everybody Lies, Seth Stephens-Davidowitz explains that Google searches show us for who we really are, and most of us have rape fantasies and dream of violent sex. So kinky people were not persecuted for being different- as we had always been told. Rather, we were persecuted for doing something that everyone secretly wanted to do, because we were actually doing it.

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It’s ironic, because I remember fellow kinksters saying things like: “They’re just jealous; they wish they had sex like us!” Then we all laughed because it was a joke to us to imagine those bigots being in touch enough with their sexuality to negotiate a scene and play it out. And yet, it turns out it was true. They were always just jealous.

These days, BDSM is no longer in the DSM as a mental disorder. Psychologists and medical doctors are instructed to treat us normally. Sometimes, they actually do.

We got to enjoy the era of CollarMe.com and Fetlife.com and the rise of munches and fetish proms in every city. We got to enjoy kinky people simply going about our lives and being treated with only mild disdain, instead of being thrown in prison. And those younglings who came into the community during this time of openness and acceptance might not realize how dangerous it used to be to be kinky.

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However, our freedoms are under attack. Now that we are threatened, we need to remember what it was like before we were free to meet and be and who we were. We need to look back at our history, and remember that there are people in prison right now for things like having rape fantasies. (Yes, I know one. He was convicted back when kink was still seen as a disorder and we were still considered dangerous.)

They are taking down websites. They use the excuse that these websites “could be used for sex trafficking,” but we all know that is bullshit. My Facebook profile says I am a guy, and I get TONS of spam from hooker-bots on Facebook, so any website can be used for sex trafficking. If I can buy a hooker on Facebook, I can buy one anywhere (since Facebook is where all the old grannies hang out.)

In Congress, they just decided that it’s okay for states to ban gay couples from adopting. This is in spite of all the studies which prove that gay couples are often better parents than straight couples (since they don’t have their kids by accident.)

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If you are a youngling that never lived through a fake kink meetup put on by religious people who blocked the door to keep you from leaving and shouted hateful shit at you, then you might not see the writing on the wall. That is why I am telling you: Attacks on marginalized people like sex workers and gay couples are attacks on us. They are coming at us one subgroup at a time, and they are working hard to criminalize everything about who we are.

What we have built over the years is something I am so proud of. The kink community used to be full of exploitative Doms and abused women. And yet from that, we built a healthy community full of supportive networks of people. We built websites and clubs and spaces where kink could be safe. I am so proud of us and of all the things we have created for safe, sane, and consensual kinky sex.

Seeing the government begin to attack us again is terrifying. Having someone like Mike Pence in the White House is probably the scariest thing I can think of. I know everyone focuses on the buffoon in the spotlight, but he is deeply irrelevant. Pence is the one who is part of the Quiverfull Movement (a group of religious extremists whose ultimate goal is to force all women into the home and to force Christian values and straight vanilla sex on us all.) All the dangerous legislation against us is coming from Pence. And this is something we need to be talking about.

If you are kinky, then politics needs to matter to you. I know it’s easier to avoid it and to just not talk about it, but we can’t do that. We have to fight for the community that we have built, and fight against those who would take our freedom to fuck in fun ways away from us. You might think it can’t get that bad, but it was that bad twenty years ago. It can be again.

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Please vote. Please write to your elected representatives. Please talk to people about the community and how we are just normal folks like them (as opposed to terrifying criminal sinners.) Be open about who you are and how you follow laws. Remind people that CONSENT is our biggest rule.

And as an aside, I wrote a trilogy of books to humanize us. They are modeled after a vanilla romance novel (I read about 30 vanilla romance novels before writing them to get the formula right.) However, the main character is kinky. She starts out a little kinky, and then evolves into a polyamourous dominatrix. The point of the series is to teach vanilla people about consensual kink and how normal and non-threatening it is.

So, if you know a vanilla person who might need that lesson, please buy them The Jamie Johnson Trilogy. It’s not anything super-special to us kink folks (all the kink scenes are pretty tame and standard.) But that is because it’s intent is not to shock. Rather, it is to lull the vanilla folks into a sense of security because we’re just normal human beings who have a few whips and chains in our closet, and it’s not a big deal.

You probably don’t have time to write novels, but any form of activism you choose to do is equally valid. Just fight. Please. We all need to fight for our right to be kinky!

Setting Up A Scene

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One of the most common questions I get is how to set up a scene. I have written about this before, but it never hurts to go over something again. (Please click the links to see more information.)

Note: For me, I find that the atmosphere is the biggest thing that can improve/ruin a scene. I take special care to set up an atmosphere that is conducive to play, and I recommend that you do this, too. With the right music, you can hit a submissive longer and harder. With the right toys laid out, you can quickly switch from one punishment to another.

In other words: A little work in advance can make everything better later.

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First: You should have already done scene negotiation with the person that you are setting up the scene for. That is an important step, and you should never play a scene with someone until you have talked about limits and STDs and all of that.

Second: You should have already made a playlist of kinky music to have sex to. Music is important because it helps you get into the right headspace.

Third: If you have your scene negotiation done and a good playlist ready to go, then it’s time to figure out what you plan to do. If you’re using a trap-on or a dildo, you might consider rubbing it down with some coconut oil before hand (so you don’t have to struggle with lube while you are in the middle of something.)

I like to lay out all my whips and paddles so that I can see all my options at a glance. It’s also nice so that my sub can see them before I blind fold them. (Keeps the imagination going.) If you are doing anything with rope, laying it out in advance is really important. You will bore the crap out of you sub if they have to wait for you to untangle or uncoil ropes.

Anyway, once you have your toys laid out and prepped, you’re ready to play!

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Since it has come up before:

Remember that at the beginning of the scene, you should move slowly. Things like impact play are better with a slow build up. My favorite toy is a flogger, and I find that it’s always best to hit softly at first, and increase intensity over time.

Setting up a scene in advance, and then building up your scene slowly, are the keys to making it more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Also, remember if things get stale that there are lots of fetishes out there, and you can always renegotiate and try something new if you need to!

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Consent as a Matter of Law

Note: I was talking with Jay Wiseman, who is a prolific author of BDSM-related materials, and he offered up his latest handout, which is about consent as a matter of law. I thought I would share it here, so all of you could benefit from his efforts.

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Here’s a brief summary on consent as a matter of law:

From a legal point of view, consent is: A mentally competent, informed, limitable, revocable, willingness to have a legally protected interest affected by the behavior of another person who might not have another legally defensible reason to affect that interest.

There are three basic parts to this rule. Let me unpack each one.

(Part One)

A mentally competent — the person has sufficient mental capacity to understand what’s going on. They are not so young, so intoxicated, so senile, or their level of consciousness so depressed that they can’t understand what’s involved.  There are few hard and fast rules around this point (age of consent as expressed by a statute would be one exception) so every incident need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

informed — the person has been given information that is sufficient and accurate enough to enable them to make a good decision. For instance, if a top were to tell a bottom that the top had “over a decade” of experience in using a single tail whip when in fact the top had less than an hour of experience in using it, then the bottom can’t make an informed decision and therefore their consent is invalid. (Note: there is an interesting doctrine, particularly in rape law, about the distinction between what’s called “fraud in the inducement” and what’s called “fraud in the factum.”  As a general rule, fraud in the inducement is a defense to a rape accusation whereas fraud in the factum is not a defense.  I’ve included at the end of this letter a link to a page that has a pretty good introductory article on this topic.)

limitable — consent can be limited.  For example, one person might tell another, “You can touch me above the waist but not below the waist.” or, “You can come into my apartment, but only for ten minutes.” It’s a good idea to make sure this limitation is clearly communicated.

revocable — consent is generally revocable.  For example, in the situations described just above, a person might say, “I’ve changed my mind.  You can’t touch me anywhere,” or “Come to think of it, no. You can’t come in at all.”  As with limited consent, it’s a very good idea to ensure that revocation of consent is clearly and unambiguously communicated.

willingness — the person’s consent was not obtained by duress. This generally means that consent was not obtained by a credible threat of immediate physical harm to the person or to someone they are close to such as a spouse or child. Note that the threat generally needs to be of immediate physical harm.  For example, if a burglar were to say to a woman who’s house he has broken into, while waving a large knife, “Have sex with me or I’ll kill your baby.” and the baby is right there in a crib in her bedroom, then she would be acting under duress and her consent would be invalid. On the other hand, let’s say that Boss says to Employee, “Have sex with me or you’re fired.” That generally would not be sufficient to constitute duress as a matter of law. (A sexual harassment case would, of course, be a different matter.)

(Part Two)

to have a legally protected interest…  What this means is that if one of your legally protected interests is violated then the offender could end up in criminal and/or civil court.  You have a legally protected interest in your person (battery, false imprisonment), your peace of mind (assault, intentional infliction of emotional distress), your property (theft, vandalism, trespassing), your privacy (invasion of privacy), and your reputation (defamation).  This is not a complete list of legally protected interests.

(Part Three)

affected by the behavior of another person who might not have another legally defensible reason to affect that interest. Consent is largely about human behavior. If your car is damaged by an act of God, then your consent hasn’t been violated. If your car is damaged by your crazoid ex, then your consent has been violated. Also, if the cops show up at your house with a warrant for your arrest, then they can take you into custody without your consent and not face accusations of assault, battery, false imprisonment, etc.

 

Types of Consent

There are five ways of expressing consent, which consist of expressly stated consent and four types of implied consent.

Expressly stated consent is consent communicated through words, spoken or written.  An example would be when a hospital patient signs a “consent for surgery” form.

Consent can be implied through behavior, for example if Person A says to Person B, “I’d like to tie you up.” and Person B smiles and puts their hands behind their back, then it would be reasonable for Person A to believe that Person B had consented to being bound. (Hopefully, unless they already know each other pretty well and they negotiate more than this before proceeding further but you get the idea.)

Consent can be implied as a matter of law.  This usually involves giving first aid to someone who is unconscious, or whose brain is not functioning adequately due to intoxicants, head injury, diabetes, and so forth.  These people can be treated even if they do not consent without the rescuers risking being charged with battery or other offenses because the law presumes that the victim would consent to being given such aid if their brain was working properly.

Consent can be implied by social custom. For example, tapping someone on the forearm to ask what time it is is not a battery under our current social customs.  Obviously, how far such touching can go varies in different societies.

Consent can be implied by failure to object where a reasonable person would object.  As I mentioned, this is the old “never ask a girl if you can kiss her” rule.  This rule is becoming more unpopular with time but is still the law in most jurisdictions.

So there you have it.  I hope you find it useful.

 

http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/criminalLaw/otherAgainsPersons/Rape.asp