Edge on the Net
by Winnie McCroy
Make your own fireworks this holiday at the 2nd Annual Touch of Flavor kink conference, July 4-7 in Baltimore. Headed by kink instructor and sexpert Madam Cassie, the conference offers more than 55 educational seminars and courses, live demonstrations and interactive play events like the Dungeon Gala. Whether you’re dabbling into "Shades of Grey" scenarios or are a hard-core S/M enthusiast, this conference has something for every level.
"I had worked within the BDSM community, which is very tight knit, and spread education amongst small groups, but with the push of ’Pink’ and "50 Shades’ and Rihanna’s new S/M song, we felt that trying to get this education to the mainstream was very important," said Madam Cassie in a recent interview. "It’s important to be fun and exciting, but we want to make sure it’s safe. So we decided to market it to the mainstream so that people would be able to get this education."
The conference features a wide array of 101 classes to introduce people to basic safety issues, plus interactive classes on topics ranging from kink, female ejaculation, strap-on play, piercing, flogging, electrical play, tantric sex, polyamory and basic dominance/submission.
Madam Cassie is no ingenue; she is a professional who has been teaching kink education and sexual techniques since 2008. She currently leads a non-profit social group for kinksters in the Mid-Atlantic region, and is a prominent voice in other organizations throughout the area. She will lead many workshops, and has tapped other seasoned educators to share their expertise.
"We have a lot of starter classes and introductions to things," said Cassie. "They’re not necessarily ’vanilla,’ but we make sure that they’re a good place for people to start, so that someone with no knowledge could leave here feeling like they learned something, and not like they’re in over their head."
She recommends that newcomers take the Kink 101 class, the only one which runs multiple times over the course of the weekend. It covers basic safety stuff, the terminology and protocols, what you should do at a BDSM party and basic negotiations with a partner.
"People are really bad negotiators, so we go over how to negotiate a scene with a partner to make sure everyone’s desire and safety is negotiated correctly," said Cassie. "We teach terminology so that you know the words, for example, dominant and submissive are not the same as top verses bottom."
In the vein of negotiating your best match is the course "Dating Your Species," in which you will learn how to get started finding a person who meets your desire and is a good match for you, because as Cassie notes, "dogs and cats shouldn’t be dating."
Other highlights include a class about African Americans within the BDSM community, an introduction to polyamory for those thinking of opening up their relationships, flogging and caning for beginners, five different classes just on rope, and Tantric sex for the pragmatic, which Cassie explains as being "about the connection during sex, without the spirituality behind it. It’s a good starter class for anyone interested in the Kama Sutra."...