A Double Dose

I’m fortunate that most of the feedback I receive for this blog is positive and appreciative. That said, there is one singular and common complaint that I find regularly jamming up my inbox. It generally follows the form of – ‘I love your witty writing and insight into kink. But why can’t we have more of it? One blog just isn’t enough! Can you please give us more of paltego?’

I find these kind of complaints somewhat annoying, but I also hate to disappoint anyone. So for this group of totally genuine and not at all imaginary people,  I give you a lengthy interview with me on the blog of the fabulous Miss Ava Zhang.

In all seriousness, it was an interesting and enjoyable process to think through the questions Miss Zhang posed, as well as pleasure to hear her feedback. While I have this site as my personal soapbox, I try and keep posts here short and to the point. Writing in more detail forced me to clarify my thoughts and do a degree of self-analysis. That’s probably an exercise I could do with repeating more often.

Miss Zhang is based in NYC, but also tours regularly. I’ve not been lucky enough to session with her (yet!), but based on my interactions for this interview, I think she’d be an amazing person to know and submit to.

I love the blend of elegance, composure and just a touch of fetish in this shot. It’s from Miss Zhang’s gallery page.

Beware Hijackers

This is, for the moment at least, my last mainstream and political themed post. I promise that normal service of more explicit femdom topics will be resumed shortly. We thank you for your patience.

Writing yesterday’s post, featuring Ross Douthat subverting #MeToo for his own political agenda, reminded me of this New Yorker article from last year on sex and consent. I didn’t link to it when it was published because I thought it was problematic in some areas, but its underlying point is a sound one. It argues that while consent is a fundamental issue, the definition is often fought over. By way of example, it highlights the two sides in the feminist sex debate of the 70’s and 80’s…

One side argued that no consensual act should be punishable by either law or social sanction. The other side focussed on the limits of consent, arguing that consent was sometimes—or even most often—not entirely freely given, and that some things, like injury sustained during S & M sex, could not be the object of consent.

#MeToo has put the subject of consent front and center in the mainstream debate on sex. As kinksters we should be glad about that. It’s a topic we’re well versed in. Unfortunately, operating in the spirit of never letting a crisis go to waste, political movements will inevitably try to subvert that discussion to their own ends. Mr Douthat is only the start of that.

One approach is to narrow the qualifications for consent so as to make it meaningless. Assert that any power imbalance renders consent meaningless. Given the endless variations of power through society – gender, race, wealth, culture, class – that quickly puts 99% of relationships outside the consensual boundary.

The other approach is to claim that consent can only be given by people of a sound mind, and that certain activities by definition indicate an unsound mind. This is the perfect catch-22. You’re free to do whatever you want, but if you agree to consent to BDSM, then you must be crazy, and therefore can’t consent.

If you want an active example of this kind of mentality in action, just look to the laws on sex work in Sweden. Sex work there is treated as a pathology that’s impossible to consent to. For example, Eva-Marree, an outspoken sex worker, lost her children because the system claimed she lacked insight and didn’t realize what she was doing was a form of self-harm. Consensual sex work was ruled to invalidate her ability to consent. Her children were placed with her ex, who then stabbed her to death when she went to visit them.

Consent is clearly a critical issue, but we need to be wary of people trying to redefine it or hijack it for their own political purposes. When a concept becomes powerful, it’s inevitable fuckheads will appear to try and exploit it.

This is Claire Adams and Eurosex shooting for kink.com. They’re clearly both crazy and need to be stopped for their own sake.

More Mainstream Porn stupidity

While I’m on the subject of stupidity and porn, as I was just a couple of posts ago, I should tip my hat in the direction of the NY Times. They’ve had a couple of recent articles that would fit under that umbrella.

To be fair to the first one – What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn – it’s hard to tell if the problem stems from the article itself or the porn education classes it’s reporting on. Possibly a little of both. It feels terribly dated, and that impression isn’t helped by the pictures that look like they’re taken from 80’s VHS tapes. Sexuality and pornography are incredibly complicated and interesting topics. Deconstructing porn and understanding how/why people use it and make it should be a fascinating area to dive into. Instead this turned it into ‘Porn isn’t real and can be bad, m-kay?’

The real stupidity comes with Ross Douthat’s column ‘Let’s Ban Porn‘. I might not agree with the title’s sentiment, but it’s a defensible one from a particular moral viewpoint. The stupidity comes when he tries to tie it to the #MeToo movement. Apparently widespread pornography has led to a lot of men who think it’s OK to sexually assault women because they’ve seen it in porn. It’s wrapped in a lot of bullshit and accompanied by much fact free hand waving, but that’s the heart of his point.

A slightly more fact based observer might note that men have being doing this shit for decades before the internet was invented. The key enablers appear to have been men in positions of power, with companies and social structures that covered for them, and a society that actively punished people for speaking up about assault. There have been some truly piss poor excuses offered by some of the men called out, but I haven’t seen any stoop so low as to blame internet porn. I’m sure they would if they thought they could get away with it.

A man trying to re-purpose #MeToo from a story about women speaking up about sexual assault into a way to push your personal politics is pretty obnoxious. And blaming internet porn for some men’s terrible behavior is a stupid as blaming comic books, rap music, movies or videogames for violence in society. Oh wait…

I guess if Ross Douthat was right, then publishing this kind of filthy pornography would actually be contributing to future sexual assaults. I guess it’s therefore a good job he’s got his head up his ass.

Updated: Thanks to a helpful comment, I can attribute this to Goddess Serena, a UK based pro-domme.

Tackling the Dangerous Issues

I try and keep the politics fairly light around here. I don’t want to put people off with a rant or alienate readers who don’t share my views. Yet, I think we might have now reached a point in the US where the politicians are so stupid, it almost doesn’t matter what side you’re on. Pretty much anyone can point and laugh at them.

After the recent tragic Florida school shooting, The Florida House of Representatives leapt swiftly into action  – by declaring pornography a public health risk. This was immediately after they’d declined to debate gun control. Note that it wasn’t that they declined gun control, but they declined to even debate it. I’d hope we can all agree, not matter where you stand on gun control or on the political spectrum, just from a PR perspective this is incredibly stupid. How can people by smart enough to get elected, but dumb enough not to recognize how bad this sequence of decisions would look? I have strong opinions on the issues, but I oddly find it more depressing that the politicians can’t even by smart about managing their image, which is 90% of the job of being a politician.

Then Florida Senator Marco Rubio came out and basically said that bad guys will get guns whatever the laws say. Essentially there’s no point legislating control, because people will always find a way around. So when it comes to pornography – something that can be made by anyone, endlessly copied, easily encrypted, transmitted freely across borders and stored in the cloud – legislation about its risks is clearly necessary. When it comes to guns – things that are hard to make, not copyable, difficult to ship across borders and can’t be stored in a million different ways – well there’s no point legislating control of those. Again, I don’t think it matters where you stand on the actual issues here, but the cognitive dissonance involved is incredibly. I’m amazed Marco’s head doesn’t explode from holding such contradictory positions simultaneously.

I’ll leave you with some more of that public health hazard. If you feel that this has put you at risk, then I guess you should contact your senator.

I’m afraid I don’t have a source for this.

Updated: Thanks to a helpful comment I can now attribute this to the 5-inch-and-more tumblr.

Legal Matters

I had to employ the services of a lawyer recently. It wasn’t a major legal entanglement. Just papers I wanted reviewed before I filed them. Her fee for the work was $250 per hour. Oddly enough, that’s around the average fee per hour for a pro-domme in Seattle. That fact got me thinking about the contrast between the work. Actually, if I’m honest, the fact she was attractive, forceful and wearing knee high brown leather boots got my mind initially moving in a certain direction. The hourly rate just sealed the deal.

My legal session was conducted in a standard office. No fancy equipment, sound proofing or leather wrapped furniture required. After I left, I’m pretty certain she didn’t have to spend time rubbing everything with alcohol wipes and autoclaving the pen I used. Nor did she have to invest a highly specialized wardrobe that she can only wear to work or to secret lawyer parties. Touching was limited to a couple of handshakes and, despite a very warm office, I kept all my clothes on.  At no point did she have to deal with a naked me in her personal space. Her only risk was paper cuts and possibly boredom from answering my dumb questions. Safewords weren’t required, and there was no chance of me asking her to undertake a dangerous legal maneuver that could have landed me in hospital and her in jail. I don’t know what her inbox looks like but I doubt it’s full of dick pics, badly written kinky fantasies or guys suggesting if she was a real lifestyle lawyer she’d work for free. Scheduling didn’t involve intricate planning to avoid clients bumping into each other and her firms web site didn’t require dozens of up to date professional photographs of her brandishing a pen and looking stern. Oh, and I could pay with a credit card, because banks don’t mind taking money from lawyers.

I could keep going, but I think my point is made. I’m not going to claim that visiting a professional domme is cheap, but it is good value. You get a hell of a lot for your money. Rates may be charged by the hour, but there’s an awful lot that happens both before and after to make those great moments in a session possible.

This is the actress Julianna Margulies who plays a lawyer in the series Canterbury Law.

Parental Figures

My random thought of the day – originally over a coffee and delicious filled doughnut at my favorite local haunt – was how differently we treat the emotionally loaded words ‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’ in kink.

In M/f relationships there are obviously some people who like to roleplay actual father/daughter relationships. That squeaks some people out, but it’s clearly a thing for others. However, a lot of the use of the term ‘Daddy’ seems to be about a more abstract concept of a loving authoritarian figure rather than an actual relative. Typically when someone talks about wanting a Daddy-Dom or a Daddy/Baby relationship they’re using it as a shorthand for a style of relationship rather than claiming an incest kink. Based on my limited and entirely anecdotal observations, I’d say this second more abstract usage is a lot more prevalent than the first.

In F/m interactions I never see this dual use. The more abstract idea doesn’t exist. Any reference to ‘Mommy’ is always about incest roleplay of the naughty son who needs disciplining, educating or restraining. I don’t see dominant women describe themselves as ‘Mommies’ and pro-dommes always list ‘Mommy’ under their roleplay sections rather than their style of play. Mommy Dom never gets used as a label in the same abstract way Daddy Dom does.

In fact I’ve even seen some dommes on twitter describe themselves as Daddies via expressions like “Who’s your Daddy now?” and “Daddy’s Home!” I get why they’d do this, but it seems somewhat odd for a female dominant to draw on a male archetype to emphasize dominance.

I’m afraid I’ve no conclusion to finish with. Nor do I have a value judgement about the current state of affairs. I just thought it was an interesting observation to share. Why the difference between the two? Or am I wrong in my anecdotal observations?

Artwork is by Barbara O’Toole who often seemed to specialize in the older women – young man genre.

Femdom in the Twitterverse

Domina Victoria Rage has an interesting and thoughtful post up on the culture of twitter around kink and femdom. I’m somewhat of a twitter newbie – only having joined a couple of months back – but I’ve definitely observed the phenomena she comments on. Like her I follow a mix of kinksters of various persuasions and orientations and, as regular blog readers might guess, a fair number of pro-dommes. Most tweets from that group seem to fall into the following categories…

  1. Fun sexy stuff from playing or the planning that goes along with it.
  2. Issues and complaints related to sex work in general or specific client behavior.
  3. Comments and jokes about politics, life, food, etc.
  4. Plugging new photos, site updates, travel plans, etc.
  5. Aggressive marketing leaning on the specific D/s dynamic where submissives are all pathetic losers and worms not fit to be in the presence of the angelic domme. Oh, and send money you beta cuck.

The problems obviously comes from dommes who frequently or exclusively tweet in that final category. It’s also not a new problem. For more years than I’ve been writing this blog people have been complaining about that dynamic (often from femdom porn) polluting the more general femdom environment. However, it seems so much more front and center in twitter than anywhere else I’ve seen. Rather than negotiating and opting into a consensual dynamic, it’s like there’s a constant background hum of humiliation, abuse and fin-domme.

Obviously careful curation of who you follow can help limit it, but that’s not really the problem here. I might by mildly annoyed by marketing in the form of abuse, but it’s not going to warp my views on D/s or kink. I worry more about people new to it  and using twitter as a means of exploration. At least with a porn video it’s pretty clear exactly what is. A tweet from a domme seems so much more personal. I think it’d be very easy to form the opinion that humiliation and abuse are a standard way for dommes to interact with submissives, rather than a specific kink to be negotiated and explored within a defined scene. As Domina Victoria eloquently puts it.

…if you’ve encountered some of that negativity online and it’s left a bitter taste in your mouth or put you off of exploring kink – just know, those individuals do not represent the majority. I, and every other reputable Top I’m aware of, share the sentiment that it’s vital to love, cherish and adore your submissive partners and admirers. Domination doesn’t come from a place of indifference, anger or blatant disregard.

This image is of the lovely Victoria Rage herself. If you’re in the Seattle area and wish to schedule a session, her professional page is here.

Subverting Expectations

The joke from last weeks post about the pain of stepping on a lego brick (and Servitor’s smart ass comment) got my thinking about the correlation between the visual and physical experience in kink. More specifically, when the two radically misalign. A single tail looks painful and is painful. Nobody sees one in action and thinks that it’ll probably just be a slight tickle. In contrast, a Lego brick looks like nothing, and yet hurts like hell if you unwittingly step on one. So what kinky activities are the equivalent of the sneaky Lego brick? Or on the flip side, look horrifying but are actually pretty mild? What give the biggest contrast between their visuals and their sensations?

In the ‘looks easy but hurts like hell’ category I’d suggest kneeling on rice on a hard floor. Troy Orleans did that to me a few years back. It didn’t look like much. I assumed it’d be uncomfortable but tolerable. In actuality I was on the point of fainting after a few minutes. I had the whole cold sweat, white skin and tunnel vision thing happening. We had to stop and give me a timeout to recover. Maybe I’ve got particularly bony and sensitive knees, but for me that was the most unexpectedly painful thing I’ve encountered.

On the ‘really not bad as it looks’ I’d suggest play piercing in the cock. Not the head – which definitely does smart – but the skin along the shaft. The visual is very dramatic, and make most guys wince, but the reality (for me) is it’s actually one of the milder spots to pierce. I find areas like the chest, the legs, the belly and the scrotum are all far more painful. Having had my hand sutured to my cock a couple of weeks back, the ones in the cock were a walk in the park compared to the single suture in the hand.

Obviously degrees of pain and visual drama are highly subjective. Any readers have any suggestions of activities that are either much more or much less painful than their visual appearance would lead you to believe?

For an image, given I just mentioned cock piercing, I thought I’d go with Mistress Yuki’s seasonal variation on a butterfly board. From a timing perspective, I probably should have featured this last week. Visually dramatic but, apart from that one needle through the head, I bet it didn’t hurt as much as you’d expect it to.

The Challenge of the New

Writing yesterday’s post on the new experiences I enjoyed with Mistress Cynthia got me thinking about the dynamics of doing new activities. More specifically, doing an old activity for the first time with a new play partner. There are a few different ways to approach this, and one of them niggles me every time it happens. I’m not sure it rises to the level of a pet peeve, but it’s something that I think is worth raising awareness of.

Some dominants don’t care what I’ve done in the past. They just pull out the toys they have in mind to use and get on with doing their thing. Others ask in order to gather information they can use. If it’s a new activity then maybe they’ll build intensity more slowly or check in more often. I’m perfectly happy with either approach. What I find odd is when a domme will be visibly disappointed if they discover the activity they’ve decided on isn’t a new one for me. Sometimes they’ll almost seem to be verging on frustration that they can’t ‘surprise’ me with a particular toy or new experience. I’ve had session where, after this kind of exchanged had repeated 3 or 4 times, I almost wanted to start lying and claiming ignorance, just so we could get out of that repeated negative interaction.

I’ve tried out a lot of different kinky activities over the last few years. That’s not down to any skill or achievement on my part. I’m just lucky to have had the time and opportunity to do a lot of different session with experienced dommes in well equipped spaces. So it’s pretty rare to find a fairly general activity that’s both inside my limits that I haven’t tried at some point. Yet, in all that time, I’ve never once thought to myself “Oh, we’re doing this shit again. Let’s get through this as fast as possible so we can get to something different.” I’ve had sessions ranging from just OK to awesome, and that difference has never been made by the uniqueness or novelty of the activity. The quality of the experience is always about the dynamic between myself and the domme and our interaction in the moment. The way every scene unfolds is unique, even if some of the building blocks repeat. Or to put it in cruder terms, I’ve jerked off a fair amount over the last decade or three, and I’ve never got bored with that activity, so let’s assume that novelty isn’t the deciding factor in how fun something is.

For any dommes out there, I’d suggest always treating past experience with an activity as a positive. It means the submissive will probably be able to give good feedback during it and will have greater capacity for handling it.

Given the post subject matter I thought it’d be worth trying to pick an image of an activity I’ve not really tried. So here we go – cross dressing. There was a domme 6 or 7 years ago who put me in stockings a few times, but apart from that I’ve been lingerie free. I’m not sure of the source of this vintage picture, but that young guy is carrying that outfit off pretty well.

Who are you? (Continued)

I hadn’t intended to write a series of posts on the intersection of social media and online identities, yet somehow, here we are with a third post. In a previous comment on my first post Ferns raised the issue of transparency and how companies hide the ‘how it works’ aspect. That’s a fascinating topic in itself, and so I wanted to circle back on it.

It’s clearly true that companies should do a better job of notifying users of what data they’re collecting. They don’t want to do that because there are only negative consequences for them. No user is going to say “I love that this huge faceless corporation knows all this stuff about me, but you’re missing out on a lot more private stuff I haven’t shared. Let me help you access that as well.” In reality, given more visibility of the data gathering process, users are only going to want to add constraints, which in turn hurts the companies product and their advertising revenue.

When it comes to the interpretation of the data – for example, why Facebook makes the friend suggestions that it does – then the story is more complicated. Machine learning and particularly deep learning is driving a lot innovation in big tech companies these days. Traditionally a  software developer would analyze a problem and code up an algorithm to solve it. Now that same developer will specify the end result they want (these people are friends, these people are not friends), gather as much input data as they can (user location, hometown, school, posts they liked, etc.) and try and train a system to figure out the end result from the inputs. Typically this involves throwing a huge amount of computational power at the problem (which is why this has only become practical recently) and results in a black box that nobody really understands. Given the right inputs (e.g. data about users) this black box might be able to make excellent predictions about who is friends with who, but it can be difficult to say exactly why it makes any single prediction. So when companies say it’s difficult to share why certain suggestions were made, they might not be lying. They might not know themselves.

As an example of this, let’s consider the original case of the sex worker I talked about in my first post. I should be clear I know nothing about this beyond the public articles and I know nothing about Facebook’s internal algorithms or what data they have. This is speculation designed purely to illustrate the issue. That said, imagine if Facebook had access to the WiFi networks people accessed from their phones over time. Being on the same public network as someone else doesn’t mean much. Even repeatedly seeing the same networks at roughly the same time doesn’t mean much. Maybe you just happen to regularly go coffee at the same time and place as some other random person. But repeatedly being on the same networks at the same time, but in different places over many months would be indicative of a possible relationship. That’s the kind of correlation that a machine learning system could figure out. It’s also the kind of correlation that would occur for a sex worker regularly meeting the same group of clients at different hotels in a city.

Apologies if anyone visited here with the crazy idea of reading posts about femdom. Hopefully I’ll get back on that track in the next day or two. In the meantime I’ll continue my theme of old school anonymity via masquerade style masks. This is the lovely Anne Hathaway, the one bright spot in the otherwise terrible Dark Knight Rises.