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.read more
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.read more
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.read more
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?read more
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.read more
Ah, it’s that time of year again. The feasting, the merry songs, the gift-giving… the interrogations. We all know how little there can be to discuss with relatives you only see on the most special of occasions, so it isn’t altogether surprising when your elders swoop in with a line of questioning focused on your career path. Mercifully, the only two winter holidays I [vaguely] celebrate – Thanksgiving and Hanukkah – overlapped this time around, so all the family nonsense was at least condensed. My relatives generally fancy themselves to be a pretty liberal, open-minded clan; nevertheless, I think they would have preferred if my response to their innocent “so what are you doing these days?” query was a little more banal and relatable.read more
As with any BDSM advocate and provider, I like to think I always practice and support SSC play (safe, sane and consensual). The reality is I made a mistake last week. While under my watch, I let a friend be violated. While it may not be enough to scream bloody rape, any small lapse in SSC play can cause a resounding echo of pain through the soul. And I watched it happen and did nothing.read more
Well, it happened. I have the ruler marks on my ass to prove it. It’s now more than a week later, and I’m still not completely sure how I feel about my training session. I wish I had a conclusive epiphany to report, but no such luck.
If all goes according to plan, I will have my first training session this week. As the date of this event looms nearer, I find myself besieged by concerns of varying relevance and importance.