As a professional dominatrix, I tie people up, spank them or humiliate them. Their joy is to submit to me; mine is the power rush of that control
I’m grateful for Fifty Shades of Grey. It is low-grade, escapist smut, filled with misconceptions and wildly inaccurate portrayals of BDSM but as the French dominatrix Catherine Robbe-Grillet has said, it has “opened up new possibilities that did not exist before” to its female readers.
As a professional dominatrix and lifelong kinkster, I welcome this but also offer a warning. While Fifty Shades can be hot, it is designed to arouse, not educate, and in doing so it leaves out the things that differentiate BDSM from abuse, as the newly previewed film trailer has highlighted.
Foremost among these is consent. Consent isn’t merely the absence of a no, a contextless acquiescence. For the kink inclined, it’s explicit and ongoing. Consent can make anything within the bounds of safety and reason fair game – from an hour’s experimentation with handcuffs and a riding crop to a considered, long-term agreement to cede a great deal of your personal power to someone else.
It may be awkward to sit across from someone and admit you like a good spanking, but communication undergirds safe kink. Being open to talking about mutual likes, dislikes, needs and limits gives you and your potential partner the confidence to explore more fully when play begins. Over time, respected consent builds trust, which is what unlocks the true intensity and power of kink.
Consent must be informed. Before play, you should know what you’re getting into and with who. Thus, we kinksters have something else that is absent in Fifty Shades – a community. At regular casual meetups (called munches) and at organised play parties staffed with experienced monitors, we get to know each other. We teach and learn the skills of BDSM; there are practical lessons, such as caning or rope bondage, and intangibles such as negotiating a play or screening a new partner. We watch each other’s backs, freely offering a listening ear or frank advice. Our community is far from perfect, and it’s often a tall order for a socially anxious person – or one with a sensitive job or home life – to meet in public. But we give what has been a private practice an institutional memory and we self-police to keep bullies and predators out. ..
OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. -- A Washington County, Pa., couple could soon face indecent exposure charges in Ohio County after neighbors say a woman was walking a naked man on all fours on a leash. It happened Tuesday morning around 9:30 near Roney's Point in Ohio County. Sheriff’s deputies say they got several calls about the couple, but when they arrived to the scene the couple was clothed.
Officers say the two admitted to participating in the act and to "having a kinky sexual relationship." The couple was said to be visiting a friend on U.S. 40. The Ohio County Prosecutor's Office is reviewing the matter.
Monogamy is rare, no matter what we might tell ourselves. We need a new currency of commitment.
by Rosie Wilby
Back in April, Helen Croydon’s New Statesman article entitled “Screw The Fairytale” sparked quite some heated debate from vociferous defenders of the ideal exclusive lifelong partnership. I too have faced occasionally challenging and often fascinating questions as I have toured my comedy show posing the question: Is Monogamy Dead? Yet I’ve come to realise that so many of us define fidelity along emotional rather than sexual lines, it becomes almost impossible to say with authority that anybody at all is monogamous... unless we can read minds.
I conducted an anonymous online survey as research for my show asking what behaviours would be considered infidelity. 73 out of 100 respondents thought that falling in love with someone else with no sexual contact still counted, 31 per cent selected staying up all night talking to someone else, while a scary 7 per cent decided that merely thinking about someone else was unacceptable. How you would police this I don’t know.
Perhaps the only way to remain truly faithful would be to lock yourselves into a sealed box and both stay there without interacting with any other human beings. Yet this would be torture. Human connections are the lifeblood and oxygen that aid our emotional survival. Even the most fleeting kindnesses and flirtations with strangers enhance our wellbeing. These brief moments of love feed our key relationships. Three and a half years in, my girlfriend and I might not always find it easy to generate huge sexual energy in a vacuum on our own. But if we go off into the world and connect, communicate, flirt with and enjoy other people, become energised by them and then come back together, our passion can still burn strongly. Other people act as our kindling. Love breeds love. It isn’t a finite resource that we need to hide away in the attic.
I asked my ex, now good friend, if she would ever have an open relationship and she said, “no, I don’t think I could do that” then after a pause and a smile, “but what about love affair friendships?” She went on to describe an impenetrable fortress of female friendship, her own group of best mates who’d known each other since school and had supported and loved each other through almost all of their lifetimes. They sounded far more bonded to, and in love with one another, than their respective husbands. It struck me that we don’t have the language to reflect the diversity and breadth of connections we experience. Why is sex the thing we tend to define a relationship by, when in fact it can be simple casual fun without a deep emotional transaction? Why do we say “just friends” when, for some of us, a friendship goes deeper? Can we define a new currency of commitment that celebrates and values this? Instead of having multiple confusing interpretations of the same word, could we have different words? What if we viewed our relationships as a pyramid structure with our primary partner at the top and a host of lovers, friends, spiritual soul mates, colleagues and acquaintances beneath that?
This isn’t a million miles away from the central ideas of polyamory – consensual multiple loving connections, some sexual, some not, in a myriad of combinations and hierarchies. It was a new word and world to me, yet when I interviewed a few polyamorous women (meetings had to be scheduled months ahead due to their ridiculously hectic romantic and social diaries) it struck me that they weren’t behaving so differently to anyone else I knew. Yet instead of shrouding some of their most intimate connections in secrecy as many of my “monogamous” friends have to, boundaries and priorities were honestly negotiated and declared. ...
The small Valencian village of Vilafranca, with only 2,500 inhabitants, would have gained notoriety on Friday had the opening of Spain’s first BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism) hotel gone ahead.
“With the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon in full swing, I saw a business opportunity that hadn’t been exploited yet in Spain,” the businessman, who preferred to remain anonymous, told The Local.
The entrepreneur rented out Vilafranca’s L'Om del Llosar hotel with plans to cater the roadside property to a ‘niche’ market, announcing the launch on Facebook for August 1st.
Renaming it the Roissy Castle in honour of the French chateau featured in classic erotic novel The Story of O, he has told potential guests they’ll “be able to enjoy games, flaunt themselves and share experiences with other visitors” in the twenty hotel rooms and four dungeons, three of which are private.
Vilafranca’s town council representatives aren’t too happy with the news however, arguing that it is “unsuitable” to “have an establishment of this nature in the village” and so close to the “chapel where dozens of people come every day to visit the village’s patron saint”.
“Our restaurant and bar have been full of villagers since we opened at the start of the summer,” the savvy businessman told The Local.
“It wasn’t until just a few days ago that one of Vilafranca’s online dailies ran a piece on our plans to open the sadomasochist hotel and this huge uproar began.” ...
NEW ORLEANS, LA — The world’s first Swinger Pride Parade will take place on August 6th, 2014 on Bourbon St. in New Orleans. The parade is part of the annual event “Naughty in N’awlins,” which caters to a variety of couples who are swingers, polyamorists, into BDSM and/or open relationships.
The parade will feature a police escort, a second line marching band, Mardi Gras floats and masks, bead tossing and over 1,000 marchers. It will start in the 100 block of Bourbon St. and end at 735 Bourbon St. where a Roaring 20’s theme party will commence.
The event has been hosting a parade since 2003, but this year the event organizers have changed the name to add “Pride” to the name of the parade. Susan Wright, Spokesperson for the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, said, “This is an important step in the sexual freedom movement, for couples in open relationships. It’s important for us to stand up in pride and say we deserve our rights and we don’t deserve to be persecuted for our relationships.”
The Swinger Pride Parade allows this community to establish a presence, and create an awareness that hopefully stimulates intelligent discussions. For a lot of attendees, it will be their very first step out of the closet. It is also an opportunity for attendees to participate in one of the biggest swinger event of the year and share their experience.
Naughty in N’awlins (http://www.frenchconnectionevents.com/nawlins-couples-convention.php) will kick off with the parade on Wednesday and feature seminars, demonstrations, workshops, private parties on Bourbon St., nightly erotic theme balls and a hospitality floor where couples can be free to explore and expand their sexuality with other couples.
Contact: Bob Hannaford
1025 Bienville St. Suite 7 New Orleans, LA 800-304-4493800-304-4493
Why assume you need to make compromises to achieve connubial bliss?
In an article for The Atlantic, Olga Khazan profiles several polyamorous couples and wonders whether more families should consider open (non-monogamous) marriages. Khazan argues that polyamory’s great advantage is that practitioners better divide up and delegate the duties and pleasures of a relationship, mixing and matching for the best of all possible marriages. She writes:
Even many devout monogamists admit that it can be hard for one partner to supply the full smorgasbord of the other’s sexual and emotional needs. When critics decry polys as escapists who have simply “gotten bored” in traditional relationships, polys counter that the more people they can draw close to them, the more self-actualized they can be.
There’s an enormous assumption tucked into that first sentence. Monogamy isn’t premised on the idea that one person can ever be everything to a partner. When a marriage fails to fulfill “the full smorgasbord” it’s not a sign that anything’s wrong. An expectation that a partner (or full set of them) is meant to be a perfect complement is destructive to romantic and platonic relationships.
Unfortunately, the premises of Khazan aren’t confined to a negligible niche (polyamorous or otherwise). A survey commissioned by USA Network of 18-34 year olds in four cities (Austin, Omaha, Nashville, and Phoenix) found that 10 percent of respondents endorsed multiple partners within a marriage, “each of whom fulfills a need in your life.”
What does this mean in practice? One of the women profiled in the Atlantic story explains that she and her husband looked to add partners to their marriages because the spouses couldn’t fulfill all of each other’s needs. Her husband was interested in kinky sex, so he found a woman to practice BDSM with him, but the wife’s new boyfriend was picked for a more prosaic need: the boyfriend goes to the theatre with her and sees shows her husband wouldn’t enjoy.
The reporter asks what she calls “the logical, mono-normative question” why the wife didn’t simply leave her husband for her theatre-boyfriend, but the more relevant question is: why she didn’t just book season tickets for herself and a friend? Kinky sex is, well, sexual, but going out to the theatre isn’t an activity that’s reserved to lovers.
It’s natural for friends to fill the gaps in a marital relationship, indulging interests that aren’t shared with the spouse, providing emotional support, and simply varying our lens on the world. After all, C.S. Lewis’s observation in The Four Loves that “Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other. Friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest,” wasn’t meant as an aspirational image for spouses.
Spouses shouldn’t wind up completely sated by a relationship, able to retreat from the rest of the world. Married people, just like singles, have some needs that are best met by a friend or by a neighbor or by family. Our mutual, unsated needs draw us together in service to each other.
Few partners will be in danger of making a complete retreat, utterly emotionally self-sufficient as a dyad, but aiming at this goal is as destructive as achieving it. Spouses in this situation are likely to sell their friendships short, failing to rely on them, as the theatre-going wife does. ...
Since San Francisco’s infamous Up Your Alley (this weekend) and Folsom Street Fair (September) are upon us, it’s a good time to get into the photographic spirit of leather, flesh, and all things BDSM. Who better to help out than a German photographer, in this case Peter Lichreich?
“I call myself ‘body photographer’,” Lichreich tells Queerty. “I take pictures of men with no restrictions.”
Lichreich was born in Berlin and lives in Duesseldorf. He began working as a photographer in 2007 and has had exhibitions in Mannheim, Amsterdam, Rome, Israel and Monaco.
Lichreich’s models are often nude and bathed in shadow. There is a sense of seediness and sometimes even danger to his work, but it’s also very beautiful.
“My pictures are rather dark and gloomy and invite the viewer to look deeper beyond the flesh,” Lichreich says. “They obscure and stimulate the imagination.” ...
Outside of Comic-Con, there isn’t much happening in the movie world. Oh wait, there’s that 50 Shades of Greytrailer that was released this week in an attempt to bring balance to the force of nerd movie goodness. This is a different kind of nerdy, as we’ve found out over the course of tracking the movie’s development. It involves whips, chains and plenty of suppressed emotions from your mom’s neighborhood book club. It’s something that plenty of us around here aren’t really into — at least that anyone in the office is willing to admit — the world of BDSM. With that in mind, we might not be the right people to dissect the mix of pain and pleasure that make E.L. James’ book such a sensation.
In order to fully understand the first trailer for Sam Taylor-Johnson’s upcoming film adaptation, we asked fetish porn performer Chanel Preston to answer a few questions about the trailer, the book and even her thoughts on the Beyonce song. We wanted an expert opinion on the tale of Christian Grey and his riding crop, and that’s exactly what we got…
Seeing as we’re not familiar with your work (sorry, my mom reads the site), let’s establish some credentials. What are the names of some of the fetish movies / scenes you’ve starred in?
Two of my most popular are “Get My Belt” by Kelly Madison Productions (this scene won Most Outrageous Sex Scene at the 2014 AVN Awards) and “Strap For Teacher” by Evil Angel. Most of my traditional fetish / BDSM (bondage & discipline, dominance & submission) scenes are web-based and can be found at kink.com.
Did you ever read the book “Fifty Shades of Grey”? If so, what was your impression?
I actually read the book a little before it became whatever it became. Christian Grey did have vampire-like qualities, and I know it was initially meant to be in that realm, so that’s how I approached it. I loved vampire books growing up, so this fed that guilty pleasure. I tried to read on to the second and third book, but I lost interest after the first chapter…
Have you been looking forward to the movie?
I can’t say I have been really looking forward to the movie, but I am a little curious about it…
What do you think of the actors they cast to play the roles of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey? How is their acting in the trailer?
I know a lot of people are not very happy with the casting, but I think they did really well. I love that they used actors who are not extremely well known. It gives the movie a bit of an indie feel, which I am a huge fan of.
I’m reading that people don’t feel Dakota Johnson is as beautiful as Anastasia was portrayed in the book, but I think she is very beautiful. She definitely does not depict the sensationalized, Hollywood notion of beauty, but that’s what makes her relatable. I think the movie would have been horrible had they cast anyone of this type. Once people see the movie, I think people will feel differently about her. I will say that at the point where she says, “Then enlighten me” I wanted to suck on her lips, so she clearly did it for me.
I’m still waiting to get a feel for Jamie Dornan as Christian… so far I like him. He has a bit more of a baby face then I imagined, but I do think he will do well. However, that could be because I’m not as passionate about seeing the perfect Christian Grey as many people seem to be. I just hope he spanks Ana hard enough! ;) ...