Virtual reality kink

The Oculus Rift headset is one of the hot stories in the tech world. It’s getting a lot of positive reviews and some heavyweight support. Virtual reality started out as the hot new thing in the 90’s, and quickly became a joke thanks to the limits of display technology. It seems that after almost two decades the hardware is finally catching up with the concept.

Of course, it wouldn’t be an exciting new technology without someone trying to use it for sex, and fortunately this is no exception. Their sales pitch suggests imaging playing Leisure Suit Larry but actually being in the game. Frankly that sounds terrible, but I do think the concept is an interesting one. It’s a step towards the Holodeck and, as Scott Adams rightly observed, that will be society’s last invention.

I’ve a personal interest here, as I worked in a research group on VR in the 90’s. Back then only incredibly desperate teenagers would have been turned on by the low resolution graphics, but today it looks like the visuals are rapidly becoming a solved problem. Haptic techology – meaning touch and tactile feedback – is the next big area. I can imagine that BDSM sex apps have an advantage here. After all, it’s easier to create a painful sensation that it is a pleasurable one. However, I wonder if BDSM also requires a greater degree of connection between participants. After all, a lot of people can enjoy masturbating to images or movies, and not feel any particular connection with the people they’re watching. Yet most masochists in my experience don’t get off on hurting themselves. Pain is only enjoyable in the right context and establishing that context might be trickier when some of the participants don’t actually exist.

Evolution by tink2001

The image above is by Tink2001 (sites here and here). I think he was one of the most talented femdom artists working in the rendering world, but sadly seems to have stopped publishing new work. As an image I think it’s a great fit for this particular post for several obvious reasons.

What’s in a name?

I’m always intrigued by the names porn sites choose. There’s such an broad range from the effective through the banal to the terrible.

Some of the femdom names I like includes Cruella (puts me in mind of evil Disney queens), Femme Fatale Films (descriptive and creative), Strapon Dreamer (explicit yet whimsical) and The English Mansion (brings to mind governesses, nannies and haughty ladies in jodhpurs). In the banal group I’d put things like Men In Pain, CBT and Ballbusting, Young Dommes, etc. They do exactly what it says on the tin, but there’s not a lot of imagination involved. Then there’s the ones that just make you go ‘huh?’ For example, Ballbusting Chicks (Chicks? Really?), Mean Dungeon (too anthropomorphic), Men are Slaves (seems kind of broad), Lethal Lipstick (sounds like a bad B movie) and anything involving the word bitches.

The image below is from Brutal Facesitting. Those are not two words that really belong together. And does anyone here look like they’re being brutalized? Give the dictionary definition of ‘savagely violent’ I would say not. I can’t see savagely violent cunnilingus being a winning technique for anyone.

Image from Brutal Facesitting

The thrill-clit cult

The title sounds like something from a Russ Meyer movie, but it’s actually from a Gawker article on a practice known as Orgasm Meditation (OM). It’s not femdom at all, but I thought it’d be interesting to my readers. After all, they’re from a community that tends to focus on orgasm frequency, either limiting male ones or promoting female ones. Plus, I can actually tie the whole thing back to BDSM indirectly.

The OM practice is summarized as…

The woman removes the clothing from her lower half, and only from that half. The partner—the stroker, typically a man—remains fully dressed. The lights stay on. Over the course of 15 minutes, timed, the partner rubs the upper left quadrant of the woman’s clitoris, and she surrenders to involuntary sensation.

The ‘interesting’ bit is that partner in this case doesn’t refer to a romantic connection. It could be someone you just met. Someone you’re working with. A friend. It’s sold as type of meditation, a way to bond and a way to feel good about yourself. The driving force behind it is a company called One Taste, which comes off in the article as a cross between a cult, a commune, a therapy provider, a tech start-up and a sex club. Much as I like the idea of more orgasms in the world, I can’t say the article inspired me to get involved with them.

The connection I can make back to BDSM is that they relate the benefits of OM to the release of oxytocin. That’s a hormone that’s often associated with subspace and the high that comes from an intense BDSM scene. Both OM and BDSM are ways to hack the brain to deliver it. A psychiatrist in the article claims that the only things that can match OM for triggering oxytocin release are childbirth or breastfeeding. I wonder if she ever studied bondage, whipping and ball spanking? Probably not.

Oral sex and nipple torture

This image of a couple bonding in their own particular way comes from Mean Dungeon. I found it on the Geek Domme tumblr. It seems to combine two excellent ways to generate oxytocin – pain for him and an orgasm for her.

Inadvisable advice

Today’s post features an advice column and an inquiry about becoming a dominatrix. It’s kind of an odd letter, with what sounds like a sudden jump from BDSM newbie to professional domination, but I’m going to give the writer the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s been heavily edited. I’m feeling less forgiving about the advice which has two particularly bad statements in it.

…you won’t be good at dominating another person unless you know what it feels like to be on the receiving end. Have you ever been a partner’s true submissive, consenting to bondage, gagging, whipping and verbal abuse? …. You will understand why they do it if you’ve experienced the scope of it.

I would have thought it obvious that BDSM isn’t symmetric. Unless a person is wired to be submissive or masochistic they’re not going to get anything from being on the receiving end. If you’re not into pain and corporal play, then getting whipped isn’t going to be instructive, it’s just going to hurt. That’s not to say a top can’t experiment with sensations and try out some toys, but that’s about understanding the physics and biology of the situation. Not being someone’s ‘true submissive’ (whatever the hell that means). Oddly nobody ever tells submissives that they need to try dominating someone before they can really understand how to play.

You’re effectively creating a complete power exchange. You are stripping a human being of their autonomy, dignity and free will — and physically abusing them on top of it.

This comment annoyed me even more than the first. I certainly do not lose my autonomy or free will when I play. I might temporarily cede control and give up some power, but I always the retain the ability to make my own informed decisions. Submitting does not make someone less than human. And while some types of play deliberately mess with dignity, a lot do not. Personally I’m pretty proud of my scenes and how they’re conducted.

What I think the columnist should have said is – go learn from pro-dommes already out there. Read their blogs. Scan their forums. Go to their conferences. See if you can apprentice with one in your area. By all accounts it’s a tricky job with many pitfalls. Better to learn those from someone else than repeat them all yourself.

Mistress Absolute

The image is of Mistress Absolute, a London based pro-domme. According to this article she shares my thoughts on starting out as a submissive.

There’s a school of thought that says you should start out submissive before you become dominant,” the dominatrix says as students begin to arrive. “That if you don’t know what it feels like, how can you do it to someone else? I don’t follow that thought. I don’t have a set of balls, but I torture balls.”

Ripping and zipping

I got to do some zippering tonight with Lydia. There was also some bondage, electrical play and scratching, but as I sit here admiring my marks, it’s the zippering that has left the biggest impression. Either I’m getting wimpier or the clips are getting tighter, because ouch. I think I made some interesting noises during the scene, but absolutely nothing that’s going to win me the stoic masochist of the year award.

In honor of our play, here’s a great action shot of some flying cord and clothespins. This is one of the very few images I’ve seen that capture a zipper coming off. I love that you can still see the skin reacting to it. This is Deviant Kade with Lorelei Lee for Men In Pain. You can see a wide angle shot of Lorelei about to pull the cord right here.

Zipper in mid-pull

More shortness of breath

I’m continuing the breathplay theme. This image features Lady Sophia Black and I stumbled across it on Mistress Eleise de Lacy’s twitter feed.

The hands to the face lack the drama and psychological impact of those to the throat, but they still manage to push my buttons. Particularly in these kind of situations where I can look up at a smiling sadist. You can’t see much of this gentleman’s expression, but that one eye does communicate quite a lot of how he’s feeling.

The black leather gloves are also a nice touch. I talked about the impression they can create in one of my very early posts. I’m not a leather fetishist, but the feel and the smell of them when they’re used like this is very emotive. The fact that they’re functional rather than decorative, workmanlike for the business at hand, makes them a lot more exciting.

Breathplay

Squeeze…but oh so gently

This is an unusual image for me. I like it a lot, but I don’t actually want to recreate it. Normally an image of a hot activity makes me a tiny bit jealous (in a good way) and wistful that I’m not doing that same thing. In this case I love breathplay, and I love the symbolism of something wrapped around the throat, but I don’t want to be on the receiving end. I’m just too nervous about all the delicate tubes in the neck. Any breathplay I do is always based around something spread across the face (a hand, a plastic bag, a wet cloth), not wrapped around the neck.

My squeamish aside, I do enjoy the artistic composition. He’s very open, vulnerable, exposed to her. His body language reinforces the dynamic. She’s compact, controlled. The knee to his chest allows her both to sense his breathing and apply pressure to it. There’s all sorts of good stuff going on.

The photograph was created by James Glendinning (aka slephoto) and entitled Shadow Play. The male model is Andy Virus.

Shadow Play by  James Glendinning

Enter the dominatrix

Apparently there’s a new videogame due out called ‘Enter the dominatrix‘. That’s a really stupid title, but that’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to videogames. In a similar vein, I can’t get too annoyed at the use of a dominatrix as the main villain. Yes, it’s lazy and cliched, but so are most videogames. Given the stereotypical view of a dominatrix – an attractive woman in fetish gear who enjoys hurting people – I’m surprised more games haven’t featured them.

The thing that’s even more annoying than the title and the cliched villain is the plot and accompanying press release…

In order to thwart her nefarious schemes and escape to the real world, the Saints will have to counter her army of gimps and sex-workers…

Sex-workers? Really? I’m supposed to fight off hordes of strippers, escorts, cam girls and sensual touch masseuse? The evil minions in this game are people who offer sexy fun times in return for money? Those are not the kind of people I want to virtually gun down. I get that Nazis, demons and aliens have been over-worked as protagonists at this point, but swapping them out for sex-workers is pretty fucked up.

As a further demonstration of the idiocy of the game developers, they couldn’t even put together a super sexy dominatrix to battle. If you’re going to play to a cliche, at least really go for it with a smoking hot domme, and not someone with a stupid cloak and a penis helmet. There are hundreds of better virtual dommes floating around on the web. Take the one below for example, created by Andrew Hickinbottom. It’s excessively exaggerated, and the ring on the collar is a classic fetish faux paus for a domme, but she still looks a way more interesting character than what the Volition team were paid to come up with.

Maria by Andrew Hickinbottom

Are you verified?

The Sliax site recently rolled out a verification scheme for professional BDSM and Tantra providers. I was at first hopefully that this meant that they were hiring submissives be professional BDSM reviewers. Sort of like the Michelin inspectors, but with one to three whips rather than stars. I’m not saying I would have instantly quit my job to tour the world having crazy kinky fun with fabulously skilled women for money, but if I thought it’d be a positive contribution to the community, I could have been talked into it. What can I say? I’m just the kind of guy who wants to help others.

Unfortunately the scheme turned out to be based more on community involvement and history rather than scratching my kinky itches. Once I’d gotten over my disappointment, it struck me that the idea of ‘BDSM verification’ was problematic in itself. After all how do you verify someone’s BDSM skills? It’s not like checking that your accountant has passed their CPA exam. There’s no single set of skills, or common training courses, or guild of professional dominants. Who defines the standards? Would verified mean someone was safe? Or skilled? Or simply that they owned a whip and hadn’t stolen their photographs from Vogue?

Fortunately, while I was puzzling over this, someone with real experience and knowledge got involved in the discussion – Mistress Matisse. You can follow her progress via tweets here, here, here and here. The end result is that they’re going to change it to simply a ‘BDSM professional’ badge rather than one that says ‘Verified’, which sounds a better idea. From my perspective, I doubt it’ll make any difference to who I session with. I’ll still prefer to do my own research. But I can imagine it being useful for people who don’t spend quite as much time on kinky web sites as I do (i.e. the other 99% of pro-domme clients).

The image below is of Mistress Shae, taken during her class entitled “The Hard Fuck- Embracing and mastering the art of the mind fuck.” Perhaps she should issue a scout style merit badge for it – “Verified Mind Fucker.” That’d certainly be an eye catching thing to sew to the side of a domme’s peaked leather cap.

Mistress Shae - "mommy dearest MF"