Looking From The Outside In (Not Literally)

“So…I have this dungeon in my apartment, and I have strangers whip me for pleasure.”

Um, what?  As the most sexually vanilla person you could imagine, I didn’t even know BDSM existed before Rihanna’s popular song, S&M, a few years ago.  Truthfully, the words that suddenly came out of my best friend’s mouth took a little while to process…so, that’s what you’ve been doing this whole time??  Aside from the initial shock of learning that people live and breathe kinky lifestyles, the million questions flowing through my brain mostly revolved around safety and consent.  After learning about how the BDSM world works and some time to digest the surplus of information, I started to accept that this was not only part of my friend’s life, but it was her entire life.  Although I can’t speak for everyone looking from the outside in on the kinky community, I highly respect it when people are passionate about something, even if it’s being tied up with ropes and having your nipples clamped until you cry.

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Meta Kink

From the quippy, queer and (q)inky author of Kink & Identity comes this masterful musing of meta-ness…

The only thing I love more than talking about kink is talking about talking about kink.  It’s a thing that I didn’t grow up doing: white girls from the suburbs, despite whatever romanticized notions 50 Shades of Grey postulates about the adventurous inclinations of the nation’s repressed, tend not to get very far beyond admissions that yes, in fact, sex does exist – now will you please pass the broccoli?  Where college, for many, is a time of sexual revolution, for me it was a revolution of talking about sex.  The euphemisms of my teenage years segued into academic, even clinical, discussions about sex (no joke – I took an actual class for which one of the sections was a porn screening, complete with discussion and the campus Christian group walking by the window looking horrified), and I realized that there might be a lot more out there than even my rich high school browser history would suggest.

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Madison Young on The Art of Submission!

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I first met Madison Young during one of her infamous workshops – Deep Throat and The Art of Oral Sex. This talented and inspirational lady had me deep-throating an engorged banana in no time! Teacher’s pet that I am, I sat in the front row and nodded along to everything she said. After class, I nervously sidled up to her and squealed out “Hello Madison I am the head of a group of professional submissives based in NYC, and I’d love if you could do an interview with us because we love you so much!” And lo and behold, the gracious Madison Young is now here to have a conversation about BDSM, her lifestyle, her new book and…the art of submission!

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Toy Story: Kink Edition

A hallmark of BDSM is the vast array of toys and implements that tend to be considered an embodiment of the lifestyle. As illustration, one constantly sees depictions of dungeons, fully stocked with whips, canes, floggers, paddles, and countless other glittering accouterments. But, as you’re probably aware, such quality items don’t come cheap, especially in these “dire economic times” (ahem). It can be tiring – especially when you’re low on funds — to be constantly bombarded with representations of BDSM that seem to be just beyond your financial grasp.

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On BDSM and Mental Self-Awareness

Recent studies marrying kink and psychopathology have inspired headlines proclaiming that BDSM practitioners are generally “psychologically healthier” than the rest of the population. These claims came about by interviewing a group of self-identified doms, switches, and subs, utilizing the Big Five (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism and agreeableness). But it’s worthwhile pointing out that “most of the apparent psychological benefits of being a practitioner applied to those in the dominant rather than the submissive role.” (“BDSM, Personality, and Mental Health“) So where does this leave us? Obviously statistics are only useful up to a point, and averages – though interesting – are rarely applicable to specific individuals.

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INTERVIEW WITH SWITCH JOSEPHINE BARRE

How did you start exploring your submissiveness in D/s play?

From an early age, I have had an attachment to ritual. Everyday courtesies ranging from correct posture to astute manners always made me wiggle a bit. As I grew older, it became clear that my bold attachment to certain aspects of etiquette made more sense in a D/s context. Before long, I had immersed myself in the elegant history of BDSM and voila! – my perversion snowballed quickly, and I never looked back!

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Aesthetic Appreciation, Underwhelming Realization

I doubt that I’m the only one who was originally drawn to BDSM and its many related phylogenies through a strong reaction to the aesthetics of a particular scene, aspect, or implement. For me, it was the glinting of metal restraints and intricate armor made from chainmail and steel that whet my initial, innocent appetite. I pored over Internet videos and images, and then began my ongoing project of collecting [reasonably priced] vintage magazines and books featuring bondage and fetish themes. Before I experienced any slapping, choking, or spanking in my own sex life, it was the imagery of exquisitely restrained women that I aspired to make real for myself one day. It never crossed my mind that I might be disenchanted once I finally channeled this aesthetic infatuation into reality.

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Letting It All Hang Out

We live in a time in which there are more routes than ever when it comes to methods of meeting a potential mate (or “play partner”). The serendipitous bumping-into-each-other-in-the-grocery-store origin tale is becoming more and more anachronistic. Unsurprisingly, the proliferation of generic dating sites has coincided with the development of more interest-, belief- and lifestyle-specific options (I’m looking at you, christianmingle.com). A handful of BDSM-centered sites – including Fetlife and Collarme – offer venues for lonely kinky types to seek others with similar leanings, be it for a romantic relationship, a platonic friendship, or anything in between. But is leading with your fetish-friendly foot always a good thing?

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Does Kink Get Old?

On a blustery Friday afternoon not too long ago at all, some of the AoS delegates convened at a coffee shop for some hot beverages and scintillating conversation. The discussion turned to the question of whether or not one can tire of kink (be it personally, professionally, or both). We can probably all recall when BDSM was still a new-fangled, glittering fortress full of those bookcases that are actually secret passageways. Or, to kill the metaphor, I’m sure it’s not difficult for you to recall a time when every spank and slap administered was a thrill, something new and exhilarating in both its novelty and sensation of perversity. Maybe you discovered that scenarios and implements you never thought would turn you on, in fact did. Your ecstasy reached great heights. The feeling of exploring boundaries and fulfilling fantasies with beloved partners both old and new was unparalleled.

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