And Now For Something Completely Different

I’ve been watching episodes from the original Monty Python television show (1969-74). The films and the famous sketches are now a familiar part of modern comedy culture, but it’s interesting to go back and look at the original work it all sprang from. The classics are still there of course, together with a fair number of gems that never quite made it beyond the TV episodes and a lot of dross that is probably best left forgotten. One thing that stands out in hindsight is their inability to write for women. Carol Cleveland does the best she can, but she’s basically used as an attractive prop. The guys got dragged up for any more interesting female roles.

I mention all this here because of a particular sketch –  Marriage Guidance Counselor. I remember watching this as a young teenager and being strangely and strongly aroused by it. Admittedly, I was a young teenager in the days before internet porn, so the set of things that I found arousing was pretty large. A breeze striking my trouser region at the right angle would have worked, so Carole Cleveland in a low cut top definitely did the trick. However, there were a lot of other sketches featuring her or similarly attractive actresses, and none of those stuck in my mind like this one did. In hindsight, I wonder if the cuckold element resonated with me? It’d weird to think that, because at the time I had zero idea about kink, let along something as complex as cuckolding. Yet perhaps the fundamental idea of sex twisted by betrayal and denial was already lurking in my psyche? Was it a proto-kink waiting to be named and understood? Or was it was just that low cut top all along?

This is the beautiful Carol Cleveland herself, obviously in a non-Python promo shot.

Side Eye

This is a lovely old shot from the era of Weimar Berlin. The two figures are Margo Lion and Wilhelm Bendow, cabaret performers from 1927. She looks fabulously composed and stylish. He makes me think of every date I’ve ever been on. There’s a touch of cat and mouse about the pair, assuming that mice brought flowers for cats prior to being eaten.

I believe I found this on the twitter feed of Severin.

Doctors Orders

Today was a good day. The kind where God pats you on the head and says”Good boy, have a reward.” The kind of day that makes you feel slightly guilty for enjoying yourself when there’s so much shitty stuff happening in the world.

I got to enjoy some awesome modern Korean food for dinner (here) and got to be tortured, teased and objectified as a medical test subject by Mistress Tess. At this point I’m not sure if I’m all human or part lab rat. I do have a craving for cheese, but that’s pretty much normal. Being tightly trussed up in leather, fed strange yellow liquids and having various body parts painfully clamped may seem like kinky fun. However,  I was assured by the very stern yet attractive lady Doctor that (a) my opinions weren’t relevant and (b) it was valid medical research. I guess I should contact my insurance company and see if they cover this kind of treatment? Or should they even by paying me for the research underway here?

I believe based (based on this collection at Femdom Artists) that this work is by an artist working under the handle Adams.

Ice with Mistress Mara

My trip East got off to an excellent start, meeting up with Mistress Mara Mayhem in Chicago. We’ve played together several times in the past, so it was nice to catch up and get back into the rhythm of playing again.

She’d just purchased a lovely red vinyl ‘straitjacket’ that wrapped my arms and shoulders up but left the delicate body parts available for torturing and for binding. All manner of squeezing, slapping, pinching, scratching and tickling featured, along with a fair amount of growling and snarling from yours truly. If Mistress Mara’s spirit animal is cat then, judging by my mid-scene noises, mine is definitely a dog.

Probably the strongest reaction I had was to something as simple as a strategically placed ice cube. For some reason that made me laugh a lot, although I’m not totally sure why. It was a very instinctual response, almost like being tickled, but triggered by a very different skin sensation.

My thanks to Mistress Mara for a great start to my trip. I’m now in NYC, where hopefully more kinky shenanigans await.

Mistress Mara is a Chicago based pro-domme, although if you keep up with her twitter you’ll see she also tours as well.

Go East, young man

Summer has come to an end in Seattle, which makes it a perfect time for me to travel elsewhere. Specifically I’m heading East for some kinky fun and good food in Chicago and then New York. I think it’s fair to say that neither of those cities has  a shortage of those things. Hopefully I can share some of the more entertaining parts of my trip here.

Of course kinky fun can also be had at this time of year in more rural surroundings. This is from the twitter feed of @for_heavy. I’d love to see the before shots of how they managed to get into this particular bondage position. The average wood doesn’t have a lot of hard points or support structures to help get someone into a suspension.

Differences in Perception

Mark left a thoughtful comment on my last post, emphasizing the difference between professional and lifestyle D/s relationships. The original post was about the focus on man’s pleasure and the male context as the default one at the expense of the female one. His point was that while that’s true for the professional context, it’s not necessarily true for the lifestyle one, where the negotiation, dynamics and goals can be very different. Oddly enough, I actually think we’re both right.

His point about the difference between lifestyle and professional interaction is undoubtedly true, but the latter part of my post was more about the common representation and perception of femdom. And I think it’s pretty clear that the professionals dominate (*ahem*) that sphere. They are who journalists turn to when they want a quote, an interview or a sex advice column on kink. They’re the obvious inspiration for high end fashion shots and for instagram celebrities looking to shock. They’re commercially incentivized to produce glossy appealing imagery, which gets posted all over twitter and websites like this one.

Any regular readers will know that I huge respect and appreciation for pro-dommes – they’ve literally changed my life. But I can’t pretend that they don’t have significant distorting effect on how society perceives femdom and male submission. Good non-professional representations of femdom are rare and hard to find. Certainly not something the average person will regularly encounter.

This is from a series called ‘Strong Women’ by the photographer Marco Tanaglia (found here). I think it’s a good example of my point, as it’s pretty clear what type of strong woman has influenced this image.

Working from Different Baselines

This article – The female price of male pleasure – isn’t femdom and isn’t even recent (Jan ’18). However, I found it thought provoking and it’s my blog, so here it is.

The basic thrust of the article is that men and women operate on very different scales when it comes to sex and pleasure. For men the range is boring to awesome, for women the range is painful/scary/coercive to awesome. That leads to very different baselines and different normal expectations. On top of that, society has conditioned us to make the male expectation the default one, to the point where people don’t even realize other expectations exist, which in turn distorts any discussion about it.

Although it’s  not about kink and femdom, I think the articles basic point is actually equally applicable to them. If you look around at the online representation of femdom, it would be hard to argue that male pleasure isn’t the primary focus of 95% of it. The dicks might be getting squashed, smacked, beaten, locked up, teased or laughed at, but the dick is still the primary focus. It’s ironic that in a realm where the purported focus is female pleasure and male pain, it’s typically still the women clambering around in the uncomfortable outfits while the men get to sit back and soak in the sensations they crave.

I don’t really have any wise words on how to address this. Hell, this blog is just as guilty of perpetuating the status quo. But if a discussion is going to be productive, all parties have to at least be operating with a shared understanding and a common context. So perhaps just acknowledging the different contexts and baselines that are operating here is a useful first step.

It was tricky to pick and image for this particular topic. I figured a dominant woman enjoying both a candle lit bubble bath and a bound silenced slave to drip hot wax onto was a pretty good representation of what should be pleasure for all concerned. This is Goddess Viper,  a pro-domme based in Manila, with the image taken from her twitter feed. My thanks to Lucy Sweetkill for the original article link.

Kinky Kayaking

I’ve posted in the past about the mainstream news using any excuse to work ‘dominatrix’ into a story headline as clickbait. Typically it’s a random and lazy fashion story like here.  However, this time I really have to give credit to the Maritime Herald, because they had to get seriously creative for this one – A ‘Dominatrix’ Seal Whips a Man Using an Octopus Like a Whip. Whoever came up with that should  be snapped up by a British tabloid, because their ‘skills’ are being wasted at the Maritime Herald.

You might have already seen the story in question. It was one of those cool nature videos that go viral on social media. Basically a seal decides to use a man as a suitably heavy object to bash an octopus against. It takes some real journalistic imagination to jump from there to a dominatrix seal. How do they know it was female seal? Do seals have kinks? If they do, why would they involve humans? Did the octopus have a safeword? Is it bestiality if the guy enjoyed it? So many questions…

Unsurprisingly, there aren’t many image featuring seals as dominatrices. So I’ll go with a sexy vintage scuba shot. Not sure how practical this is, but it’s certainly appealing. Maybe it’s this kind of outfit at the beach that’s given us kinky seals?

Chemistry over Cash

This is a continuation of yesterday’s post on the topic of pro-domination and the amount taken as tribute. In that post I argued that the number one factor that drove tribute was the local cost of living and property prices. However, that’s not the whole story. If you look just at a single city and take an average across tribute values, you’ll still find a non-trivial variance. I’ve occasionally seen as much as a two times variance in hourly rate within the same metropolitan area. So what gives with that? Is the experience offered by some pro-dommes that much better?

…There’s a slight pause at this point while I strap my flameproof pants on…

In my entirely personal and anecdotal experience, the answer to that question is no. Among the various well established and independent dommes I’ve played with, I’ve never observed a correlation between session quality and tribute rates. I’ve had lots of amazing sessions and I’ve had a few very average sessions, and which was which always came down to personal chemistry and all the other intangibles that  go along with great kinky play. The amount of cash I had to show up with never made any difference. It’s the same story with equipment and general professionalism. I know dommes with mad scientist levels of equipment stuffed into their play space who charge less than dommes who play out of hotel rooms.  I had one domme who was charging 50% over the average San Francisco rate show up two hours late to our session, where Lydia, who charged around the average for Seattle, was never once late in 100+ sessions.

Of course you should never ever haggle over tribute rates. A pro-domme, or a sex worker of any type, can set her rates at whatever she wants and absolutely have that rate respected. If you don’t want to pay it, then don’t contact her. However, don’t be tempted to think that higher necessarily means a better experience. If you’re budget limited, you’ll almost certainly be able to find an amazing domme who doesn’t charge more than the average for her part of the world.

Of course, everything I just wrote applies only to regular professional kinky play. If you’re into findom of the kind depicted by Sardax here, then all bets are off.

Money, money, money

When it comes to paying a professional dominant – the ‘tribute’ in the industry parlance – it’s said that you get what you pay for. My social media feeds frequently features this sentiment expressed in various different ways, both by pro-dommes and their clients. In other words the quality of the dominant and the experience she offers correlates strongly to the size of the tribute she demands. But is this true?

I can obviously only comment from my limited personal experience, which is entirely with independent and well established pro-dommes.  However, within that limited set, I’d say the number one correlation with the tribute amount isn’t the skill of the domme, but the cost of real estate in her location. High cost cities make it expensive to maintain both a playspace and a personal residence. They also tend to have a highly paid client base who can afford higher fees. So Manhattan has always had very high hourly tribute rates. San Francisco wasn’t too bad a decade or so ago, but has become a lot more expensive in recent years.  Seattle isn’t in San Francisco’s league yet, but is beginning to trend in that direction.

Keeping all this in mind, if there are any American submissives out there with cash on the hip, vacation time in the bank, and a kinky itch to scratch, my top recommendation would be to visit Los Angeles. It’s got a huge and talented pro-domme community, but its sprawling layout leads to a cheaper cost of living and significantly lower tribute rates. For example, Isabella Sinclaire is undoubtedly an outstanding domme, with the skills to match anyone in the world. Yet, her rate for 2 hours is (at the time of writing) $500, which is significantly below the SF average and way below the NYC average. She also has an amazing and well equipped play space.

I hated LA when I first visited it back in the 90’s, but it’s probably the one place in America I’d now consider living outside Seattle. If you’ve not been then I definitely recommend it. Just steer clear of the Hollywood tourist traps.

This shot is from Isabella’s instagram feed. Her contact information for scheduling professional sessions is here.