Failing to Read the Room

Like most bloggers I get my fair share of emails pitching advertising, paid content and guest posts. Normally I junk them as fast as they arrive, but one caught my eye today. Its opening paragraph, designed to prevent me applying my usual whack-a-mole approach, ran as follows:

….before you decide to stop reading, let me assure you that we don’t dabble in pornographic content of any kind, and therefore won’t make any indecent proposals.

Wow. Did they misread the room. I guess it worked, because I did keep reading to find out who’d be stupid enough to send a sexual explicit blog that kind of opening. They even ended up with their own post, albeit without any kind of link or name. Personally I’d love to get a few indecent proposals. I think my life has been sadly lacking in them.

In honor of my new puritanical email friends, I’ll close with an entirely non-pornographic image. This is a simple head shot, with no naughty naked bodies in view. Just a very nice lady whispering sweet nothings into her beau’s ear. Nothing indecent about that.

This is of course from the Divine Bitches site.

More communication is never a bad thing

This Frisky interview with Joanna Angel annoyed me. Her stated goal of creating toys more appealing to kinky dabblers is a good one. But then we get to her advice for beginners, which contains the following…

Some people make it out like you really need to plan this shit out and really discuss it, like, I don’t know, do you really need a safe word with your partner? It seems like everything has to be so formal.

To which I’d say “Yes Joanna. If you’re going to bind, gag and beat someone, which is what your toys are designed for, you’d better fucking discuss it first. And when you’re just beginning to explore kink, that’s absolutely the time you need a safeword.”

Ironically, given her claim, I rarely feel the need to agree a safeword when playing with professionals. They know how to read me and can tell the different between “No (but do it some more)” and “No (my back is playing up and I’m reaching my limit).” Playing with a novice, who might be unsure exactly how hard she can push, and doesn’t have the technique to smoothly escalate intensity, is exactly the time you need a clear communication channel. It’s reassuring to both parties if there’s a magic emergency button always available to push.

This rather beautiful image comes from a tweet by mrunderheel. Despite his gag, they look like they’re in a happy space for communication. I love her smile and the marks on his body. Sadly I don’t have an original attribution for it. Amusingly, when I do a reverse image search on Google, the only thing it suggests is that a related search term is ‘fun’ and then it gives me the Merriam-Webster definition for ‘fun’. It’s both very wrong and very right all at the same time.

Bondage Therapy in Seattle

Bondage virtuoso Elise Graves has been in Seattle for the last few days. Primarily she was here to shoot for House of Gord, but she did reserve time for a couple of private sessions, and I was lucky enough to score one of them. A lovely mix of whipping, electrical play and bondage was the result. We didn’t get pictures, but fortunately for me, she did shoot them in her other session, as shown here.  I’m not sure who the other Seattle submissive is, but my thanks to him for these shots. He appears to be doing a better job of handling the rope suspension than I did.

Rope isn’t normally my favored bondage medium. I realized today that a big part of that is the time it often takes. When I’ve limited time to play, and I’m paying by the hour, I somewhat resent burning a lot of the session getting into and out of bondage. The process can be enjoyable, but not as enjoyable as what comes afterward. Fortunately, with an expert like Elise, that becomes far less of an issue. I’ve played with a lot of word class dommes, but I think she’s the fastest rigger I’ve ever experienced. She very quickly pulled together well balanced positions, with just the right degree of stress.

Elise’s smile in this image is very indicative of the way she plays. There was a lot of happy positive energy in our scene today. This image is from her Bondage Liberate site. I found it via her twitter feed.

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.

Medical Sadism

Well I’m on the topic of professional dommes producing great kinky imagery, let me give a shout out to Mistrix Sade, and in particular this medical themed post. It has some lovely imagery that takes medical play and adds a slightly unsettling undertone of horror and mad science. I think it’s another good example of taking familiar tropes and making them work afresh.

Mistrix Sade is a NYC based pro-domme. Information on scheduling sessions with her can be found here.

Absence of Activity

Sorry for the posting gap. I picked up some bug over the weekend and have spent the last few days curled up under a blanket. I haven’t felt like I could do much of anything, other than watch bad television and sleep. Hopefully, normally service should be resumed from this point on.

Talking of guys unable to do much of anything, here’s one in a similar bind. Although I guess if looking stylish counts, he’s definitely managing to pull that off.

This is from the instagram of kinkbaku (also on twitter). It’s not exactly femdom, but if you like images of bound men, then it’s worth checking out.

Dumb and Dumber

I’ve blogged about the stupidity of consent apps previously. The idea that you can swipe right to rubber stamp consent on a sexual encounter is a dangerous one. Firstly, it undermines the idea that consent is ongoing and always open to renegotiation or withdrawal. An agreement at minute one tells you nothing about what happened at minutes two through sixty. Secondly, an incapacitated or unwilling person could always be coerced to use the app, setting up a possible defense for an attacker.  On the flip-side, no jury is going to take the lack of a digitally signed consent as useful piece of evidence. After all, not using an app in the heat of the moment is standard behavior for 99.99% of people. So they clarify nothing, while working against potential victims and for potential attackers.

Of course there is no stupid technical solution that can’t somehow be made more stupid. Software people are inventive like that. In this case some Dutch tech-bro’s have managed to take the broken consent app concept and marry it with the latest tech craze – blockchain. For those that haven’t heard of this before, blockchain is the technical basis for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Personally, I’m a cynic on the current cryptocurrency craze, whilst still admiring the design of some of the underlying technology. However, in this particular case, it makes no sense. A decentralized design is logical when you want to avoid a single point of attack that governments and thieves can target to take control. Not so much when you’re tracking two people ticking a consent box. I can’t see the Russian hackers taking a break from social media and our elections to go after consent apps.

When it comes to negotiating consent, it’s always important to do it before the gag goes in. You can always renegotiate at anytime, but sometimes are definitely easier than others.

I’m afraid I’ve no source for this image.

Updated: Thanks to an eagle eyed reader I can attribute this to the artist xxxx52 who has a patreon site.

Drool

Mistress Sidonia has put together a very comprehensive list of gag types, spread across a pair of posts here and here. It’s a handy reference for anyone looking for new toys or techniques to try, as well as those who like to go through lists ticking off what they’ve tried to date.

One thing that always amuses me about gags is how many dommes love the drool they produce. There may be some dommes out there who don’t care about gag drool, but if there are, I’ve never met them. I’ve seen plenty of dommes complaining about submissives slobbering over their feet or dribbling onto their outfits, but somehow gag drool is never an issue. It’s either hot, funny, cute or all of the above.

This image is by Joachim Baldauf for Paper Planes magazine.