21
Oct
16

Invis-ability…

It’s been a few weeks since I posted to the blog…been following up on the tune up I mentioned several weeks ago…working on redeveloping my distress tolerance skills. So far, so good…being more in the moment, breathing better, better mindfulness; I am calmer and recognizing better those things over which I have no control…not letting them bother me…yay for DBT!

So, the next series of blog posts are going to be about things that are rather invisible to our naked eye, but OH SO REAL A CONCERN for those who live with that invisible “thing”. I am calling it a “thing” because most people would call these things disabilities. That implies that a person is somehow not ‘normal’. What I want to dispel, as I tried to do in the last two series of posts about depression and BDSM, is that having something physically different about you does not make you not normal…IT MAKES YOU DIFFERENT and DIFFERENT IS NOT BAD. Different needs to be understood and appreciated.

The next several posts will each focus on one invis-ability. There is so much I still don’t know about some of the things I plan to discuss so it will be a learning journey for me as well as you.

What???

Did you hear something???

Me neither…better investigate……

07
Oct
16

Finally…a friendship question!

This has been an interesting series of posts….my intent was to educate, to help people understand a topic that is always maligned and is often misunderstood. Even using the term BDSM or kink is an anathema to many. I wanted my readers to learn something about a topic that is pretty foreign to most (including me), to learn that people who participate in BDSM activities aren’t sick, or the devil, or deranged, or out to get you. I wanted to kind of remind people that what they choose to do, with each other, in the privacy of their own lives is nobody’s business but theirs. If they choose to play in public, again, THEIR choice and not one that they should be hung out to dry over. As I said in the first post…kinksters are you and me and your relatives and your neighbors.

I hope I was able to share enough about the lifestyle that you did get that message. And, if you want to learn more, there are many LEGITIMATE places to go to learn, where you won’t be embarrassed to meet people and ask questions. They won’t bite.

What I did NOT expect, was to lose friendships over posting these informational pieces. Yes, I made friends with a number of people in the kink community and to protect them from how horrible people can be, there was NEVER going to be a point where I was going to identify anyone…and I haven’t. My kink friends will forever remain anonymous to you…as it should be. I was surprised, however, to be unfriended by some people who took HUGE OFFENSE at the topic of my discussion. It is their right, of course, to decide that my friendship was no longer warranted, but, it saddened me that their judgementalism was the basis of the friendship loss. It’s one thing if I personally attack you and make you angry…but, to decide that discussing a topic like BDSM in the open is so horrible an offense…well then, I guess we really weren’t friends at all!

Many thanks to those of you who read and commented. It’s time to put this one to bed and move on to the next topic.

06
Oct
16

Toys R Us

This absolutely made me laugh….for nearly every kink type toy out there, one can go into a hardware store, game store, kitchen store, toy store, any store and find what my friends call….

are you ready?

pervertibles

They explained to me that one does not need to spend hundreds of dollars on many of the items used during play activities. I mean, there are lots of legitimate dealers who make and sell many of the ‘toys’ used. Again, if you don’t believe me, just Google it…you will be astounded!

I digress….You don’t need to spend big money if you have the slightest ability to think flexibly/creatively…all you need do is walk through the aisles of many stores and you will find very close facsimiles…the PERVERTIBLES, that cost so much less and, according to those who know, work just about equally well.

Many of the pervertibles are used for impact or sensory play type activities. Spanking, flogging, tickling, massaging, stroking, scratching, smacking, pinching can all be accomplished using everyday items. Can’t picture it? Let me help you…in the left column are the ‘official’ items, the right column has your everyday household items

 

And that is just the quick stuff I came up with for this post. There really is an unlimited number of products one can find to stimulate the senses.

To think, just a couple years ago I had literally NOT A CLUE about any of this…it has been a fun journey learning about the BDSM lifestyle and meeting the wonderful people who are a part of this seriously misunderstood group.

Next up….closing out this blog segment with some Final Thoughts

03
Oct
16

Please, Sir: can I have some more?

A line from ‘Oliver’ but so very appropriate for our topic too ;-D

Another very interesting part of the BDSM lifestyle is the various types of relationships people have with one another. There are labels or descriptors for these relationships that are pretty standard in the BDSM literature. My experience with my friends has shown me that the relationships  don’t always resemble the definitions given and like any other human relationship, there are variations within each theme. The idea of ‘power exchange’ is a part of these relationships. And the idea of SSC- Safe, Sane, Consensual is also paramount.

The terms kind of define the individual in the position of control or power. Here are some examples and by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Dom/Domme(D/D)-Sub: in this relationship the man (Dom) or woman (Domme) is in the power position and the Sub (Submissive) is the individual who is willingly ‘under the control’ of the Dom/Domme. From my understanding and observation, this relationship is not typically a 24/7 one, but rather one that occurs when the two consenting adults are communicating, playing, interacting in some way. For a simple example, the D/D may want the s to dress or behave a particular way for a specified period of time. The types of potential interactions are unlimited and the people in the relationship have agreed upon the parameters. It is possible to have a D/s distance relationship (a few of my friends are in this type of relationship).  This relationship is not necessarily limited to two people. A polyamorous family may be led by a D/D and the others in the family may be in the s role, or a play partner, or some other role.
  • Top/Bottom/Switch – again, these terms relate to the individual who is in control of the scene being played out. The Top is typically the person leading the activity, the Bottom is the person receiving the action in the activity. When a person is a Switch, it means that they like to be in both positions depending on the activity, who the play partner is, or any other possible parameter of an agreed upon meeting of two people. The people who identify themselves as a Top/Bottom/Switch seem to do so only for the purposes of play. Once the scene is done, so is their particular role.
  • Daddy/Little/Middle – my friends who identify themselves with one of these terms have a particular mindset during play with their partners. I have a friend who is female but identifies in some play activities as a Daddy, providing emotional support and sometimes discipline to the partner. Friends who identify as Middles like to do things, dress, or behave like young adolescents during play activities. Those identifying as Littles behave like younger children. Both men and women can identify as Middles or Littles. Be assured that during their non-play life, they are just as adult as you and I.

In addition to designated or self-identified roles, there are a whole variety of scenes that can occur during BDSM interactions. There is cosplay (think costume), roleplay (Peter Pan and Tinkerbell anyone?), pony play (yep, just like it sounds), or age play. Again, not an exhaustive list…just a sample. These scenes can be extremely detailed in the organization, setting, clothing, script, or very spontaneous; the key is that they meet the needs of the participants.

There are MANY other kinds of relationships, descriptive labels, and scenes. I just wanted to touch on a few in this post. As I mentioned previously, a really excellent source of information is a website called Fetlife. It has an extremely comprehensive listing of all things BDSM. In order to access it, you must become a member. For a quick reference requiring no membership, pop over here to peruse an alphabetical listing of BDSM related terminology.

So what else is there to talk about?

TOYS…up next!

 

 

02
Oct
16

Intro to Kink

Over the course of the last three years, I’ve had so many conversations with people who identify themselves as kinksters or a participant in the BDSM lifestyle. Through those many conversations, I have learned to understand and be respectful of the choices that they make in regard to their lifestyle.

There are some principles basic to ALL forms of BDSM play or interaction; the most important I think is CONSENT. All parties involved MUST GIVE CONSENT, INFORMED CONSENT before any activity occurs. In other words, one should not in any way engage in any type of BDSM activity unless he and/or she explicitly states that they completely understand what they are going to be doing and approve of that activity. In addition to consent, there also needs to be SAFE WORDS selected that are used to stop the activity immediately in the event that it becomes too much for a participant to handle. Seriously, RED is a safe word that is used. And, after practically every single ‘play’ activity is a time for aftercare…a time to calm down and talk about the experience. Everyone I talked to said that all three of these elements is very important to having a positive experience.

I wondered about the idea of consent between married couples, and please believe me when I tell you that there are TONS of married couples who are part of the community. Even they give consent and have safe words; it is that important and fundamental to the lifestyle.

Gosh, so much to talk about.

Let’s talk a little bit about fetishes. I kind of like this definition (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/fetish)-A fetish is defined as:

… an extremely strong devotion to something. There are sexual fetishes and nonsexual fetishes: both are obsessive interests.

There are literally thousands of fetishes, sexual and nonsexual. I found it extremely interesting that people with fetishes respond to that fetish in a great variety of ways, not all of which are what we would consider sexual! I spoke to many people whose fetishes simply made them feel better, calmed them, gave them an internal sense of peace, or perhaps gave them an internal sense of control. The thing that made it a fetish was that it was a real integral part of that person. They truly could not separate themselves from their fetish…it was a part of who they are and in so many cases, each person could unequivocally say that they had ALWAYS felt that way about their fetish from childhood or their teen years.

One of the fetishes so many people enjoy is spanking. I cannot even begin to tell you how many books have been written on how to spank properly! There are several types of spanking that serve different purposes…who knew?! I read two books about spanking. Consensual Spanking by Jules Markham is considered a classic book in providing explicit information regarding the various types of spanking and the how tos-dos and don’ts. It was well written, easy to read, and did give excellent information. The other book I read is Sex with Shakespeare:Here’s Much to Do with Pain, but More with Love by Jillian Keenan. I will never think about Shakespeare the same way again after reading this book! This author shared her life experiences as a person with a spanking fetish who studied Shakespeare (really, for her thesis!) through a kink lens. What was actually more compelling than the pretty nifty kink paradigms she found in all of Shakespeare’s work, was her very well written description of what it is like for HER to be a person who simply cannot live without being spanked and the fact that she had her spanking fetish from the absolute earliest memories she had. She did not develop the fetish because of anything anyone did to her as a child; it was always there and always something that she physically craved. Again, her need was not a sexual gratification one…she physically needed to be spanked. It made her feel balanced, better, whole.

I know…it is kind of hard to wrap your head around that, but, please, don’t close your own mind to the possibility that this is something that is very very NORMAL for some people. It is a personal idiosyncrasy (we ALL have them), it is not something to fear or be weirded out about. The people I know with all kinds of fetishes  are no different from you and me.

Related to the spanking genre are other impact types of kink activities, some of which may or may not be a fetish. Flogging, for example, is also an impact (striking) activity that MANY people really enjoy. The variety of floggers is astounding. They are made of many different materials, they are various lengths, they provide all different sorts of  sting from a sharp sting to a dull soft thud.

Spanking and flogging were two things I was really curious about. I couldn’t picture in my mind how someone would want to be whacked like that and that it could feel good! So, after a few munches and many conversations with some folks who were becoming friends, I was invited to attend a private party JUST TO WATCH. Let me interject here that within the kink community, they are like any other social group. There are large ‘play’ parties that are sponsored by the local group where a variety of play equipment is provided, food is provided, safety monitors are present, a quiet space for aftercare is available, and people register and pay a fee to attend. At a private party, only those specifically invited are able to attend. Depending on the person hosting the party, there is a variety of equipment available, there are often several different play spaces available, there is always a quiet place for aftercare, and there is a place for food and talk.

I went to the party, excited and yet nervous. Just like with the munch, I had no frame of reference and had no idea what to expect. One thing that was different was that I actually knew several of the people at the party so I wasn’t going in blind…at least not completely blind! There was delicious food and a great area to just sit back and chat…people don’t play the entire time, after all! There were ‘centers’ set up with different types of equipment. Now THIS was going to be a major learning experience for me. Oh. My. God…all this stuff I had read about in 50 Shades or heard talked about in various conversations…yikes…there it all was! A St. Andrew’s Cross, a spanking bench, a lacing table just to name a few. I will admit, it was a tad unnerving seeing all this stuff up close and personal after having read about them.

There were massage tables set up (strictly massage!), there was an area out back for fire cupping (actually also a form of alternative medicine) and other set ups for other types of equipment or play. I stayed inside because I really wanted to watch the spanking and flogging activities.

WOW…

It was fascinating watching the individuals being spanked or flogged get into their headspace and so thoroughly enjoy the impacts being applied. In the spanking area, hands, paddles, and belts were used. On the St. Andrew’s cross, all sorts of floggers were used from the thuddy soft types of materials to the thin dragontail type whip. Seriously, I just sat and watched, thinking…how do they know when they had enough? How does their partner doing the spanking and flogging know when enough is enough?! So, after the scenes were finished and the parties had time for aftercare, I asked.

This is where I learned quite a lot about the physiological connection between pleasure and pain. There was a PhD neuroscientist at the party who does major research in the area of the pleasure-pain connection.

Again, WHO KNEW?

In the brain there is a direct connection between the areas that perceive and respond chemically to both pain and pleasure. At a certain point, when pain is being felt, there is a chemical jump in the receptors and the person begins to feel pleasure from the sensations. This has to do with adrenaline, endorphins, and something called oxytocins.

It is all kind of complicated but years of research by neuroscientists have found links in the brain associated with all sorts of touch. Do a search if you want to know more!

But, I digress. The point being that the folks who so very much enjoy the sensations they get from their impact play or other sensory play (like using TENS units for stimulation, something called a violet wand, all manner of vibrators and vibration devices) ultimately get pleasure from the pain. As far as how much is enough? Everyone told me that they know from previous experience how much they can take…both the giver and the receiver. Sometimes they want to push their limits and that target is discussed BEFORE they start the scene; this might be when the safe word is especially important. The giver MUST stop as soon as the receiver uses the designated word. At that point, both parties have learned what the new limit is for giving and receiving.

All in all, attending the party did a great deal to educate me about a variety of aspects of the BDSM experience. It absolutely helped me understand the importance of consent, safe words, aftercare, scene etiquette, and it allowed me to see what some of the lifestyle was all about.

Obviously there is MUCH MUCH more to the basics of kink. My purpose in this post was just to give you a sense of some of what I wanted to know more about and understand better.

Next post,  relationships.

 

27
Sep
16

Begin in the beginning

I read the 50 Shades series during a week at the beach and talked about the books with my hubby. We talked about things in the movies, other books, and things on TV that were related in one way or another and then out of the blue I said…”I wonder if there is a kink site in Pittsburgh! I think I’ll Google it!”

Oh, the power of Google. OF COURSE there is a group in Pittsburgh! I sat there, kind of dumbfounded, and looked at my hubby and said, “I gotta check this out!”  He looked at me, laughed, kind of did the ‘oh, there you go again look’ and said, “Go for it.”

So, I did. I researched the local group and that led me to a larger umbrella group that is worldwide called Fetlife. Now, there are a number of other groups out there I subsequently learned, but, from all that I was reading, it seemed that Fetlife was the group most favored for a number of reasons, safety being at the top.

Well, the local group’s website was filled with all sorts of wonderful information about the group itself, its history, and the manner in which one might become involved.  It was also  fairly easy to be in touch with the leaders of the group and they very clearly indicated that they were open to answering any questions that anyone might have. You know me….questions GALORE!

I learned that every month, most of the groups around the world have open meetings called Munches. The purpose of the Munch is strictly socialization, come eat and talk. Come meet some people in the group and ask your questions. Seriously? Just walk into one of the very public and popular restaurants in Pittsburgh and walk right into the room reserved for the group for the evening and have a chat!  Hmmmmm, I sent an email message to one of the group leaders and expressed my interest also stating that I was actually rather nervous at the prospect of meeting this group of people. I carried ALL of the preconceptions that I believe most people have about the entire BDSM thing. I got a pretty prompt response assuring me that I was most welcome and that I had nothing to fear. People would be friendly and willing to talk with me and that there was absolutely no attempts at cajoling one to become a member of the group. Interestingly, in Pittsburgh, the group is actually split by age….This Generation is for individuals 35 years and older and Next Generation is for 18-35. Another thing I learned VERY QUICKLY is that under NO CIRCUMSTANCES is anyone under the age of 18 permitted to even attend a Munch, and, on top of that, they absolutely ‘card’ everyone in the younger group to ensure that alcohol is not served to anyone under 21.  They take age restrictions very seriously.

Hmmmmmm. My interest was piqued. I would be in a completely open and public place, there would be no shenanigans going on, I could have some intelligent conversation (hopefully) with some nice people (hopefully) and get my questions answered.  In the interest of full disclosure, my husband was a bit nervous about me checking this all out BUT, he said, go ahead, have a good time, be safe. He knew exactly where I was, how long I would be there, and I had my cell phone.

So, I went to my first Munch! I was  a nervous wreck walking in the restaurant, looking around not sure where to go. Would the people be dressed all leather-like or lacy or what?! Would they be walking around getting their freak on? Would they all be full of tats with pink and purple hair? I just had no idea what to expect. I asked a waitress where the group was meeting and she directed me to the meeting area…and

there were lots of people

sitting around tables and at the bar

eating

and talking

smiling and having a lovely time…

COOL!

One of the leaders noticed me looking around and immediately came over to greet me, introduced herself and guided me right over to a small group sitting at the bar. She introduced me to the two couples and then took her leave. The two men and women immediately turned their attention to me and introduced themselves and asked how I came to learn about the group. Easy, comfortable, nice conversation!

I spent the next three hours munching and talking to about 25-30 different people, most were in their 40s and 50s…a few in their 60s and one women was 70! Talk about diverse!!! All nationalities, all ethnicities, all levels of kink engagement from Master/Slave to top/bottom/switch…all kinds of interests/fetishes. YES, I did engage in that conversation because I wanted to know, I was curious to understand and EVERY SINGLE PERSON was open and willing to talk to me and explain their particular ‘thing’. As I said in the first entry on this topic…these interesting people were no different than you and me. I met computer programmers, nurses, accountants, stage and costume designers, college professors (several), a microbiologist, an equine trainer, a neurobiologist, a model, a floral designer, a dancer….we shared pictures of our children and grandchildren!

I was enthralled!  There were so many questions I had and I had found a group of people who genuinely simply wanted me to understand and get my questions answered.

As an aside, though, one wonderful gentleman in particular (who has since become a very good friend)  warned me to be careful. He indicated that there are always unscrupulous pervs in any group and that if I decided to get more involved, then I should find a good friend who I could trust and vet any person who might seem to get too cozy. Excellent words of advice!

So, that was my very first experience in the world of BDSM. I went home, excited to share, and wanting to learn more.

 

25
Sep
16

Let’s Lighten up-let’s talk sex ;-)

Got your attention??

As you may recall, when I said I was going to restart blogging, I indicated that I wanted to talk about things that are, well, not understood. Yes, I started with a serious topic, depression. I think we can agree that it still is largely misunderstood and unnecessarily feared. I hope my sharing helped.

Now, I want to touch on another topic which really is very VERY misunderstood and frequently vilified.

Over the next several weeks, I am going to talk about BDSM.  If you don’t know the acronym, it stands for:

  • BD – Bondage and Discipline
  • DS – Dominance and Submission
  • SM – Sadism and Masochism

Some preliminary thoughts for you.

I am NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, any sort of expert in BDSM.

I am NOT a ‘card carrying’ member of a kink community.

Unlike most of you (I imagine, most of you), I DO have many friends who are card carrying members of a kink community.

Let me start by saying that I became interested and curious about the whole lifestyle after reading, **GASP**,  50 Shades of Grey. (We are not going to do a book review here…it was a crappily written series of books.) I did learn, however, that it was a pretty inaccurate picture of the community of people who do consider themselves to have fetishes, kinks, and other desires that are typically considered slightly askew of the mean.

Those of you who do know me, and know me well, KNOW that I have a desire to LEARN as much as I possibly can about a topic once I become interested in it. I don’t try to become an expert and learn everything…no, I want to learn so that I CAN UNDERSTAND something better.

Here we go…

Kinksters (and many of my friends do call themselves Kinksters) are EVERYONE. Let me say that again…the people who participate in any way and at any one of the many levels of kink are EVERYONE.

They are…lawyers, doctors, psychotherapists, florists, ballet dancers, opera singers, country western singers, teachers, moms and dads, brothers and sisters, grandmas and grandpas, computer programmers, auto mechanics, chefs, guidance counselors, chemists, neurologists, nurses, accountants, cashiers, baristas, burger-flippers, your neighbors….get the picture? They are JUST LIKE YOU AND ME. They are us!

THAT is probably one of the major misconceptions about the lifestyle. In general, people think that there is something seriously wrong, very deviant, or sexually sick about a person who participates in any part of the BDSM lifestyle. Just like in any population of people, there are those who might, indeed, have some very serious issues, BUT, that is simply NOT the case for the vast majority of people who do embrace this lifestyle. At least, this has been my personal experience.

Yes, I am going to share with you my experiences and the things that I learned about the Kink community.

Stay tuned.

 

 




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