Needle Smart

Melissa Febos is back in the news to annoy my over my morning cup of tea. For those that haven’t heard of her, she’s the author of a book called Whip Smart about her time working as a pro-domme in a dungeon in NYC. Her story is a familiar one. Full of the confidence and immortality of youth, our author-to-be does a bunch of drugs and develops a heroin addiction. She then spends several years trying to combine a normal life, a drug habit and a secret job that can sustain said habit. Eventually she kicks the drugs, ditches the job and writes a book about how crazy it all was. It’s a time honored tale, and one practiced by many authors.

I’m happy she got clean, got published and got a different job that she’s clearly better suited for. What annoys me is that in the countless interviews she does, she never provides broader context for domination or shows any self-awareness of herself in the bigger kinky picture. You get the impression she thinks she’s a truly representative example of a dominatrix and is providing a valuable insight into that world. Where in reality she was hired as a pretty face, working with zero training in a McDungeon. It’s a bit like a 3rd string quarterback, who never made it beyond the practice squad, writing a book on being a professional NFL player. He might have a great personal story, but he’s not exactly Tom Brady. In that case I’m sure he and his interviewers would understand that. In the case of Febos and her coverage, I’m not sure that distinction gets drawn.

I also find it odd that the dangers of what she did never get addressed. For example, she did risky kinky activities like breathplay while high on drugs. I wonder how the interviews would have gone is her side gig had been say a carer at an old peoples home? I’m guessing all the funny stories about the stupid shit she did with the crazy patients while on heroin wouldn’t have gone down so well.

The other thing that bugs me – while I’m ranting here – is how she trades on her time as a dominatrix while also complaining about people bringing it up. Several times in this recent Guardian article she writes disapprovingly about people mentioning it, and is mad that a colleague makes a joke about it. You don’t get to write a book, and do countless interviews on a subject to flog said book, and the declare it off limits for comments. If you’re making money off it, you should probably learn not to be embarrassed by it.

Mistress Mattisse wrote a review of the book and also chatted to Febos. I think she covers the issues pretty well.

Melissa FebosPhotograph is of Melissa Febos. Post title and ‘McDungeon’ stolen shamelessly from Mistress Matisse.

Comments Finally Fixed (I think)

Long term readers may be aware that there have been ongoing and persistent issues with people trying to comment here. Ironically, given the nature of the site, comments featuring words like ‘dominatrix’ or ‘BDSM’ were the ones causing problems. It was just my luck to get stuck with a prudish comment system on a sex blog.

The good news is that after devoting some serious effort to it, and at one point yesterday breaking the site entirely, I think I’ve finally fixed it. For anyone interested, or with similar issues, I’ll put some technical details after the obligatory pretty femdom picture.  For everyone else, the upshot is…

  1. If you’ve tried to comment before and been driven away in frustration, please try again in the future. No more weird errors of ‘page not found’.
  2. On the tiny tiny chance – crosses fingers – that anyone still sees problems then please email me with the comment. Now I’ve identified the root cause I can quickly fix any odd remaining errors if I have the comment text. I’ve tested with all manner of naughty words, and it seems to be fine, but it’s possible there’s some particularly deviant combination I’ve missed.

And now for a pretty picture as promised…

The dirty stuff for the technically depraved: It was nothing to do with a WordPress at all. It was a module called ModSecurity buried inside Apache that I knew nothing about and certainly didn’t install. It scans the incoming http requests and blocks ‘bad ones’ based on a big set of rules. This makes total sense for protocol level attacks like SQL injection or buffer overruns. Unfortunately it also has a set of spam rules which perform checks against a blacklist of adult words (like bdsm, latex, plug, dominatrix, etc.) In my opinions that’s a really dumb layer in the stack to do spam filtering, so I didn’t really think to look there. The end result was that incoming comments would be blocked before ever making it to WordPress and its comment management system.

If you ever have this issue, then fixing it can be a pain. My cpanel only lets me turn ModSecurity on/off, not configure it. WHM gives a lot more detail in its security section, but the UI kept giving errors when I tried to tweak rules. In the end I had to use shell access and edit the mod_sec .conf files. There’s a whitelist file you can use to kill rules you don’t want.

Roleplay with an edge

Some people use BDSM to temporarily escape reality, while for others it’s a way of working through and exploring real world issues. I’m definitely in the escapist camp. I like to take a vacation from my overactive and constantly nagging brain by giving it a big wash of adrenaline and hormones. Being reminded of stuff that depresses me on a day to day basis is the last thing I want sneaking into my kink.

The people in this Broadly article clearly feel differently. The title sums it up pretty well – ‘Inside a BDSM Dungeon with a Hillary Dom and a Guilty, Diaper-Clad Trump Voter’. So on top of wall to wall political coverage in the media, you can now also politics in your local playspace. Assuming your local playspace is La Domaine Esemar that is.

The Domme in question is Mistress Couple (featured here in the past), who started offering a Hillary/Trump roleplay as joke before the election. When Trump won, and the joke became decidedly less funny, she continued with the twist that wannabe Trump submissives had to prove a donation to the ACLU or Planned Parenthood before a session.

I like the idea of generating money for a good cause and giving Mistress Couple the satisfaction of hitting a Trump voter in the nuts with a golf club. I just wish our politics wasn’t so fucked up that it’s ripe for being turned into BDSM role play material.

This street artwork, featuring Catwoman and Trump, is entitled ‘The revenge of women’ and is by Herr Nilsson.

It’s unlikely the ‘Mike’ featured in the Broadly article is a reader of this blog, but on the off chance he is, I’d just like to say: ‘Mike, you’re a goddamn idiot’.

CBT for the curious

I’m  regularly surprised by the extent to which discussion on specialized BDSM play has spread to mainstream sites. For example, here’s a recent Refinery29 article on Cock and Ball Torture. OK, so Refinery29 isn’t exactly the New York Times, but I doubt a few years ago you’d have seen anything on CBT outside of specialized kink sites. I don’t think I knew what CBT was until I started physically exploring BDSM and actually arranging to play. Now anyone can read about it next to articles on health, entertainment and politics.

As articles go it’s not a bad one, given the obvious constraints on space and detail. However, it does suffer from a problem I see in a lot of these mainstream articles – treating the sensual and the sadistic separately. They often seem to treat kink as something you do by taking a break from regular sensual sex to try this sadistic and painful thing. In my experience very few masochists like cold, brutal and unmodulated pain. And those that do, probably aren’t taking tips from Refinery29 articles. For most of us it’s the blend of pleasure with pain, and the ratcheting up of sensation as the balance tip back and forth between them.

I think the best advice for a CBT curious couple would be to start with the pleasure. Get him hot and bothered with the tongue or the hand, and then mix in some squeezing, pinching or slapping. Someone horny and eager is going to be less self conscious about what they’re doing and more likely to relax into the moment. Wait till he’s panting, then put some clothespins on the shaft or sack and slowly masturbate him. That mixture of lovely friction and painful tugging gives a lot of scope for shifting the pain/pleasure balance. It also sets up the right dynamic of control – giving pleasure and then taking it away. There’s also an obvious visual feedback mechanism as arousal ebbs and flows.

Bruises on bruises

I’m safely back in Seattle, recovering from my LA hijinks. Doing 8 intense hours of sessions over 6 days definitely wasn’t wise, but it was a lot of fun.

I finished by playing with Mistress Lucy again, whilst sporting fresh and vivid whip marks from Mistress Isabella Sinclaire. You can probably guess what happened next. Do you think that on being shown the day old marks…
a/ Mistress Lucy observed how tender they looked and was careful to avoid them for the rest of the sessions, or
b/ Gleefully raked her fingernails across them and then pulled our her slappy leather whip to add her own layer of marks on top?

The vivid bruises on my back will testify to answer (b). There’s something about showing a tender spot to a sadistic top – they just can’t help poking at it to get a reaction. Or, in this case, beating it with a big leather thing to get a scream.

This isn’t me in the picture with Isabella below, but my marks were (and are) remarkably similar in pattern. Or at least were until the next layer got added!

I found this on Mistress Isabella’s Instagram.

Living the dream

I was lucky enough to realize a long held dream of mine this weekend. I got to play with Isabella Sinclaire.

For those that don’t know of her work (shame on you), she’s a famous and very talented domme, who I’ve mentioned here in previous posts. I first became aware of her thanks to the Ivy Manor films she did with Jewell Marceau back around 2000. At the time my kinky life lived in fantasy only, and the films and her presence completely grabbed me. It’s hard to believe I’d one day be lucky enough to end up tied to her table.

Her approach to playing reminded my a lot of Lydia. They both possess the confidence, skills and experience to riff on a theme, reading body language and organically building layers of sensation. Rather than working through a specific pre-determined plan, there’s a sense of working towards a know goal but improvising a lot of the steps along the way. In my case some of those steps involved a tens unit, a beautifully thrown single tail and suturing around the nipples, cock and balls. It was a fantastic experience.

Please note that my comparison shouldn’t be taken as a criticism of the other dommes I play with. There are a lot of different but equally great ways to construct a scene and top someone. I’ve always tried to play with different dommes and enjoyed their unique slants on domination, even when Lydia was still around. I’ve just never before encountered anyone who reminded me so much of her general approach as Isabella did, even while their styles were still very much their own.

If you’re in the LA region and interesting sessioning with Mistress Isabella, her professional site is here. She also organizes a Domme Collective, featuring many talented professionals.

Cock Cage Fantasy

Recently I’ve been fantasizing about cock cages. That might not seem like hot news. Submissive guy has chastity fantasy – hold the front page. But I’ve actually been fantasizing about other guys in steel cock cages. And I’m still straight, or at least I was the last time I checked.

What prompted this was hanging out in Los Angeles restaurants and observing groups dining together. Many of them seemed to consist of very average but loud men dining with very attractive but quiet women. There’s nothing unique to LA about that combination, but it seems more prevalent here. There’s something particularly annoying about watching overweight guys in badly fitted suits holding forth at great length about their latest business deal while their female companions sit back and nurse their drinks.

The male ego is particularly unattractive when displayed so blatantly. What cheered me up was to imagine them all wearing expensive steel chastity devices, shifting around uncomfortably beneath their Zegna suits. They might have been boasting to their buddies over the steak course, but in my fantasy the ladies held the key to their devices, and then fucked them brutally when they got home. Who knows, it might even have been true in some cases.

Talking of cock cage fantasies – here’s a great one from Steelwerks. This is the steampunk cage.

Does this hurt? How about now?

I think all good sadists have a touch of the mad scientist in them. They’re not content with making it hurt. They also have questions. How much does it hurt? What about here compared with here? What if I squeeze? Was that a yes or a no? What if I do it again? What if I turn it up and squeeze?

I had a great session with Mistress Lucy yesterday, which featured many of these questions. She particularly enjoyed testing where her Tazapper hurt the most. Oddly enough, despite testing it on the more obvious delicate and protruding areas, I think the final answer was in the armpit. I guess that’s what a good mad scientist does. Don’t waste time guessing or making assumptions. Just jam that probe in and see what jumps.

This is a shot of Mistress Lucy I found on her twitter feed. Not exactly sure what’s going on with that pole, but it definitely got a bit of a (sexy) mad scientist vibe to it.

My super secret list

I wrote a few weeks ago about a bottle of hot sauce triggering memories of an old session. Today I had an equally unusually object trigger some fond kinky thoughts – my Garmin GPS system.

I have one of those portable GPS units you can stick on a windscreen. I find it easier to use than a phone when I’m driving. I think it covers the whole of North America but I’ve never really tested that, as the only place it ever gets used is Los Angeles. I know my way around Seattle, and in most other cities I stick to public transport and Lyft. LA is the only place I visit where a car is a necessity. That means its historical log of past locations only has LA addresses in it. And, given this is me we’re talking about, a lot of those addresses are LA dungeon spaces.

I was scrolling through it last night with a big smile on my face. They would have looked like random addresses to anyone else, but to me they were reminders of particular kinky experiences. There was the place in the valley I was almost an hour late to, thanks to LA traffic. Cynthia Stone’s old location. The very first place I met Mistress Lucy, as well as her new space. Several random spaces I only visited once. An odd apartment complex in downtown where I misread the parking signs and had my hire car towed. I guess that last one wasn’t such a great memory, but in general there were a lot of fun times captured in that old address list.

Anyone who has arranged a session with a pro-domme will know they guard their locations very carefully. You don’t get the address until you’ve been checked out and you’re about to meet them. I can therefore only hope my GPS unit never falls into the wrong hands. It’d be a goldmine for finding LA’s kinky hotspots.

It’s tricky to find a femdom image featuring a GPS theme, so instead here’s a shot of a pioneering and talented driver from a pre-GPS era. This is Genevra Delphine Mudge, widely considered to be the first female racing driver. She was also the first woman in the US to be issued with a drivers license.

Eyes bigger than your belly

The post title is a family expression from my childhood. It was used when someone had been greedy (i.e. me) and had loaded their dinner plate with more food than they could ultimately eat. I might have just done a similar thing in the kinky realm, although I’m not sure what the appropriate kinky equivalent would be. Libido bigger than your dick? Imagination writing checks your ass can’t cash?

I’m down in Los Angeles for a few days vacation. After a wet and relatively kink free Seattle winter, I wanted warmth and beatings. As is often the case when I travel, I was torn between playing with someone new and someone I know. Typically I like to play with people I know. Building a rapport with a domme over many sessions creates deeper and more intense experiences. It simplifies negotiation and makes it easier to relax and focus on the play, rather than trying to figure out a new dynamic. That said, there’s definitely something to be said for exploring new things with different people. It’s a great way to learn and grow. There’s no single right way to play, and I love watching how different dommes approach their craft.

So, as usual happens when I’m faced with a choice between A or B, I go with A and B. In fact, in this case it’s actually A and A and B and B. I’ve got 6 days vacation, 4 different sessions and 2 dommes. One with whom I’ve played multiple times in the past, and one who I’ve never met before. It’s very possible I’ve been excessively optimistic about my ability to take punishment. Particularly given my lack of match fitness these days. On the other hand, I can think of worse problems to have. If I don’t post here again, you can assume I died a happy man.

This gentleman doesn’t look all that happy, but he’s got cake and attractive attentive ladies. Not sure if his eyes were larger than his belly, but his dick certainly is. This is obviously by the talented Kami Tora.