Mistress Cyan first encountered BDSM at a party in the early '80s, following months of correspondence with the hostess, whose PO Box she found in a personal ad in a long-defunct fetish magazine called Encore.
"It was like, wow," she recalls. "There's loads of people tied up. They've got this woman inverted, okay, and this guy's dropping hot wax between her legs, and she's screaming, and I'm thinking, I gotta go... my God, how am I ever gonna explain if this place gets raided?"
But she stayed. Or rather, he stayed, and fell down the rabbit hole. Back then, Cyan was a married man, the director of operations for a $3.5 billion corporation that manufactured housewares and woodenware, with a company car, an expense account and two young sons. Thirty years later, at age 58, this stunning transgender powerhouse is the most respected professional dominatrix in Los Angeles, plus the founder and executive producer of DomCon, an annual convention in LA and Atlanta; a bondage model who has appeared on shows like Nip/Tuck and Las Vegas; a regular guest speaker at UCLA; a community leader commended by the city of West Hollywood for her Thanksgiving and Christmas charity slave auctions; and the owner of Sanctuary, a 7,000-square-foot commercial dungeon near LAX, which employs forty women and boasts nine themed playrooms named after Greek goddesses.
Circulating one of Sanctuary's weekly fetish parties a few Saturdays ago, she embraces old friends and giggles with newcomers, surveying the tattoos, corsets, feathers, nudity and meaningful stares. A spaghetti-strap dress in black crushed velvet rests on her slight, 124-lb frame as she monitors activity that can be sexual but can't be sex, resolving problems swiftly and calmly, with a soothing but firm poise, her patent leather red platforms amplifying the authority of her usual five feet ten inches.
The night before she'd gone to bed at 4 a.m., and at 5:30 a.m. her phone erupted with Hole's "Celebrity Skin" (I'm all I wanna be / a walking study / in demonology). When she picked up, she learned her sister-in-law was going into labor. After spending the entire day at the hospital, Cyan wonders aloud whether she's too tired to "play" with anyone tonight. ...
The 29th annual Folsom Street Fair will be an exhibition of kinktastic fun, filled with leather daddies, eager submissives and more than 250 vendors and exhibits displaying all that the Bay Area has to offer in BDSM. But don’t strap on your ball gag just yet — there’s much to learn before heading to your first Folsom Street Fair.
The fair, which will grace San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood with its presence Sept. 23, spans 13 city blocks between 7th and 12th streets and seven hours, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Estimated attendance for this year is 40,000 people coming from all over the world.
It’s kind of a big deal.
But never fear, Folsom newbies, your kink guide is here with some tips and tricks to get you ready for your big trip to the fair.
First, your outfit. Keep in mind that Folsom Street Fair is one of the only opportunities that some kinksters get to come out of the closet and show their true colors, so there’s going to be a whole lot of fetish wear — everywhere. The fair marks the end of Leather Week in San Francisco, so there’s definitely going to be a lot of leather.
If you’re a virgin to leather, this might not be the best time to take it out for a spin. Remember San Francisco’s freak summer that happens at the end of September? It tends to hit the fair with full force. Unless you know how to wear it, opt for just a leather harness and some booty shorts instead. Or forget the leather entirely and wear something else in the fetish realm, like a corset or assless chaps. What you wear can reflect your role and kink, so be careful to put in some research before you toss on a collar.
Don’t bring too much with you. It might not seem like a lot, but hauling around heavy gear or a large bag over the course of a hot day is not going to help you have fun. Just grab some cash, a phone and some water, and you’ll be good to go for the whole day.
While you’re at the fair, you’re going to see everything. Yes, everything, and maybe even some things your twisted mind has not yet realized existed. Consider it a learning experience and stash the memories in your spank bank or keep them locked up to use on a partner later. ...
While the mainstream BDSM community has always drawn lines over what is and is not OK (drinking blood, for instance, isn’t cool because of the potential to spread diseases), the definition of edge has changed over time. In the 80s and 90s things like scat play, age play, puppy play, and suspension were no-nos but they now occur semi frequently at kinky events. (Well, scat play is a little more rare because, ew.) Attitudes about what should be forbidden seems to have shifted thanks to people getting better educated. The internet spawned more discussions about sexual ethics, more how-to guides, and more adult sex ed in general. (Don’t you just love the kind of sex ed that results in more and better sex rather than paranoia about STDs?) All of this might have encouraged some of the edgier elements of the BDSM world to explore some dangerous-sounding fun.
“So the edgeplay we do is called consensual non-consent, aka rape play, aka no safewords,’” says Madeline to her audience. She talks lovingly about their rape play. She swears that it keeps their long-term relationship tender and fresh, and likewise, their trusting relationship allows them to do rape play.
Z says that knowing how to do rape play with your partner comes down to knowing your partner. He compares it to selecting a birthday present. “You ask yourself, What do they already have? What do they need? What do they keep bringing up?” It is about observation, which Z says is the flip-side of communication and just as important.
All of this is especially edgy given some recent controversy within the BDSM community. Inspired by the UK’s Consent Culture campaign run by feminist BDSM activists Kitty Stryker and Maggie Mayhem, many people have started coming forward about rape and sexual abuse within their local BDSM scenes in the past year. And in most cases these stories were initially tucked under the rug, never dealt with properly by community leaders. “We were frustrated at how people weren't really talking about issues of consent being violated and when people did it was dismissed as drama. This is really dangerous because BDSM is largely illegal [in the UK], so going to the police isn't really an option,” Kitty told me.
Over on the FetLife threads devoted to the topic, members started calling out abusers by name. The site initially banned this practice, and then the CEO and founder of FetLife, John Baku was called out for sexual assault on Tumblr. During the height of all this, the Harvard Crimson (of all places) pointed to the “glorification of edgeplay” as part of the problem.
I asked Kitty if she thinks it is harder to navigate consent in rape-play. “I think between consenting adults whatever you want to play is fine, but if you are taking it so seriously that you are forgetting you can walk away—or if you can’t walk away—that is not OK,” she replied. She also pointed out that this takes a massive amount of trust. “Do you really trust this person to not only break your limits but put you back together afterward?” Perhaps the Crimson was slightly off. Rather than glorifying it, the BDSM community might be headed in the direction of eradicating the idea of “edge” altogether. That way, the focus can be on how to communicate consent—rather than labeling acts “good” or “bad.” ...
All signs indicate that "Fifty Shades of Chicken," a new cookbook parodying erotic novel "Fifty Shades of Grey" cookbook, is the real deal.
We can't get over the hilarity of the description on the book's web site:
If Fifty Shades of Grey left you hungry and lusting for more (more, more!), then sink your teeth into this naughty tale of a young, free-range, and very fresh chicken who, like Anastasia Steele, finds herself at the mercy of a dominating man; in this case, a kinky and very ravenous chef.
These fifty chicken recipes, each more seductive than the last, will make every dinner a turn-on.
According to a description on its Amazon page, the book features recipes with names like "Dripping Thighs," "Sticky Chicken Fingers," "Vanilla Chicken," "Chicken with a Lardon," "Bacon-Bound Wings," "Spatchcock Chicken," "Learning-to-Truss-You Chicken," "Holy Hell Wings" and "Mustard-Spanked Chicken." ...
Groups that work to eradicate domestic violence and help survivors are protesting magazine behemoth Conde Nast over the lastest cover of Vogue Hommes International, on which the cover model is being choked. Supermodel Stephanie Seymour is held from behind by hunky Marlon Teixeira, whose face is rapturous as one hand reaches around to choke her neck and the other reaches around to grab her breast.
This truly disturbing image of a woman being choked sends a dangerous message to anyone who sees this magazine – that choking is a sign of passion rather than of violence.
Choking is a huge predictor of future lethality. A 2008 Journal of Emergency Medicine study of murders of women in 11 cities found that 43% of women who were killed by intimate partners had experienced at least one previous episode of choking before being killed. That is why, in 2010, New York State made choking a violent felony, and advocates, prosecutors, police officers and survivors throughout the State have embraced the law as a way to save women’s lives.
As a feminist and someone who cares passionately about ending violence against women, I agree with them that it is a sexualized violent image. I do believe that sexualized violent images desensitize people to the problem of violence; Kanye West’s gratuitously sexual and violent music video for “Monster” sickened me because it was just scantily-clad, bloodied and decapitated women writhing everywhere. In Kanye’s video, the implication was that the women were all massacred by the various monsters; they had no agency in their situation. Take, for instance, when Kanye raps while holding a dead woman’s severed head in his hand.
But I can’t condemn the violent depiction on this Vogue Hommes International cover as harshly as these groups do. I look at this cover and I do see “passion” in it (to use the same phrase as the anti-domestic violence groups). Maybe it’s because choking sexually arouses me personally, but when I look at the image I see consensual kinky sex and BDSM behavior. Stephanie Seymour is being choked, yes, but the look on her face is one of release/abandonment to me, not fear of a violent partner. I get the vibe that she and the model were acting out a passionate sexual moment, that she had agency in the situation. I don’t get the vibe from their sexy poses or the looks on their faces that the image is implying Seymour is being harmed or manhandled, despite the hand on her neck. These anti-domestic violence groups may have erred in their thinking because BDSM imagery — choking, whipping, spanking, pinching — is not mainstream. But just because it’s not mainstream doesn’t mean it’s abuse.
"There's definitely a market in Denver for this," he says.
As evidence of the need for this night, he cites the growing community of folks who attend Burning Man (which he says is rife with "polyamory, kink and fetish"), the popularity of swinging-related reality-TV shows and the theory that "bisexuality, at least for women, seems to be becoming more standard." Says Suffoletta, "I get more and more people talking to me every day about this, and most of them don't know where to go."
Suffoletta owns In Vision Entertainment and has been hosting swinger events since 2004; he was introduced to the scene when he deejayed for a swinger party. "I really enjoyed the crowd," he says. Since then, he's put on several parties and worked with some of Denver's better-known swing kings, including Scottie Ewing on a recent one-night-only party called the Crimson Ball. Suffoletta says he's always focused on parties rather than a specific club.
"That way, it's new and fresh every week," he says. "In case of the Jet, it'll be weekly but in a place that's normally a hot club and hotel and not a full-time swinger premise."
Menage will cater to both seasoned swingers and curious newcomers, Suffoletta says. "There's a hot, sexy crowd in Denver already that may or may not be swingers," he explains. As for those who are more familiar, he adds, "There's a lot of people that live in Denver that don't necessarily want to drive out to Highlands Ranch or the suburbs to swing.... I keep hearing from people that we need a weekly downtown option and we miss having the Sugar House there. That's our intent, to fill that void." ...
Seattle Police said Monday that they are investigating a series of photos taken at the Evergreen Washelli Cemetery that depict nude women hanging from a war memorial and a cannon located among the graves of thousands of veterans.
The images were posted on a bondage fetish website and on the photographer’s own website.
“They would find them abhorrent,” Brigadier General Marcia Clark (Ret.) said of the images. “They would find them most of all, disrespectful.”
Clark, who volunteers at the veterans cemetery, said she was stunned to see the photos.
“There are people who are buried here,” Clark said, “but this cemetery is very much alive.”
The photos were taken by photographer Patrick Andraste. Andraste declined requests for an interview. In an email to KING 5, he said he took the photos on September 4 and 6.
Seattle Police were notified by cemetery management, who had been tipped off to the photos by veterans and users of the sites where the photo swere posted. Police said they are looking into possible trespassing violations.
“All we’re asking is show some respect,” an anonymous user of the fetish website told KING 5, “No respect was done.”
Andraste told KING 5 he is getting legal representation.