Boots and all (#Kinktober Day 24)

Close-up of a pair of Corcoran jump boots worn by someone (wearer not pictured)

Content note: This post has descriptions of boot licking in the context of erotic D/S play.

The first time I curl up on the ground, my hot forehead leaning into the cool leather of her heavy boots, I know this is where I belong. At her feet, one of my hands cupping the heel of her boot like I sometimes cup her neck in a caress (in that exquisite place by her shirt collar where hair is fading into skin), the other hand loosely tucked underneath my body on the hard ground.

There’s no heated passion, no burning humiliation, just a deep sense of being in the right place. Of being right, exactly as I am.

This is not about ownership or exclusivity. I don’t belong to her, but I have no doubt I belong in this moment, created and shared with her. We have no claim on each other’s heart, but I know I have a place in hers as she has one in mine. And we have this.

She reaches down, pets my head with a warm hand, softly tells me I look very pretty down there. Down here, where I’m at peace. Where I don’t worry whether I’m doing everything right, whether I could, should be better than I am. Where I just am, and where that’s enough. Where that’s more than just enough. Where I never want to leave.

The welt of her sole presses up into my brow, my nose nestled along the curve of the boot. My field of vision is filled with blurry black leather, matte rows of stitching, perfect shiny roundness meeting hard-edged rubber, the floor gray in the background. My nostrils fill with the scent of leather and a faint note of sharpness from the shoe polish I’ve rubbed into it the day before, and my lips fall open. Something shifts. My exhale caresses her boot, my inhale draws in more of its delicious smell. My vulva is expanding along with my lungs, waking up, getting alert like a brain reacting to the first hit of coffee aroma in the morning air. Calm and contentment flip over into hunger, intensity heats up within me, between us.

My lips open a bit wider, I angle my head as if leaning towards her mouth for a slow-motion kiss. The corner of my mouth softly makes contact with the leather, and I sigh. She groans. I hadn’t realized she’s still watching me. I shiver, stay right where I am, and add an ounce of weight to my presence, just enough so she can feel it. She bends forward in her chair, leans down to me, grabs my neck, hard. I stiffen under her hand, let out a small whimper of want. “You want to lick it, don’t you?”

I don’t look up at her, just give a small, breathless nod.

“Say it.”

I close my eyes, momentarily overcome with embarrassment for the force of my desire. Swallow my shame and whisper, “Yes, sir.”

“‘Yes, sir’ what?” She wants more than that. I know. I just wanted her to say it.

And now I have to say it. I take a fortifying breath. “Yes, sir, I want to lick your boot.” My voice is still small and a bit unsteady. I swallow again. “Please, sir.” No more hiding. Here, this is all of my desire, all of its urgency, all of my hope that you’ll want this, too. Asking for it makes me want it even more, as if hearing myself say what I want only makes me fully recognize the fierceness of my hunger.

“Do it.” Her voice rough with the emotion of this command. She gives my neck a final clench, then takes her hand away. I know she’s watching me now, can feel her gaze on my skin.

I feel very exposed. Very vulnerable. And very drawn to all the delicious leather in front of me that is filled by her. I touch my lips to the leather again, reconnecting with where I had been. I nuzzle my head at her boot, finding the right angle, inhaling her scent. Take a deep breath and then lick a bold, wet, wide stripe across the toe to the outside, making sure she can see my tongue as she feels it pressing into her foot. She groans, hisses, “Oh, fuck!” and that is all the satisfaction I need. There’s no hiding for her now, either. To me, she is as naked in her desire as I am in mine before her, even though she is fully dressed and I’m barely wearing anything anymore.

I draw my tongue back into my mouth, swallow the hint of street dust I’ve just licked off her boot, wet my lips so they will glide across the leather more smoothly, then lick her boot again, again, again, caressing all the curves and edges with my lips and tongue, tilting my head, draping myself around her so I can reach everywhere, following the shape of the leather in one long, long kiss. Her boots are not a barrier between us, they are a body part of hers. And I make sure she feels that I can feel it. We both know this is an act of pure sex, for both of us, and it doesn’t matter at all whether anyone else can see that, too.

“You look so fucking hot down there.” Her voice floats down to me, grabbing me in a rough caress.

I smile, thank you, sir, and keep licking. My breath gets harder and harder, moans float across the leather along with my tongue. My one hand is clinging onto the back of her foot, anchoring me in her, my other hand is splayed out, fingers pressing into the ground, arm muscles taut with the tension building in me, my whole body. I’m very, very turned on by now, from nothing but my tongue on her boot and her reactions to that, which I can sense more than I can see any of them. This alone might get me off, but I don’t really care whether I come or not at this point because all I care about right now is that she knows just how much I want her, exactly as she is.

Boots and all.


Image source: 1 (I love this photo of a pair of worn-in Corcoran jump boots a lot (the colors!), except for that scuff on the toe that I want to polish away very, very badly…)

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Getting to the point (#Kinktober Day 09)

Close-up of a sewing needle stuck through a layer of threads on a roll of sewing thread

Content note: This post contains detailed descriptions of getting pierced and doing needle play, and talks about blood in an erotic context. The interpersonal dynamics shown here are quite messy at times, because that is what they were.

She is a friend and long-term unrequited crush of mine and has a penchant for pushing needles through other people’s flesh, followed by a barbell or ball-closure ring. Making out with her is not an option since she “doesn’t see me that way,” but piercing is an intimacy she is willing to share with me.

She does my navel first. I go to her place, her room in a shared apartment, in a house that has seen better days. She sits me down in a worn-out armchair, then sets out her equipment around me. She kneels before me, between my spread legs, comfortably takes charge. Puts on gloves, sprays disinfectant, makes dots for orientation, hands me a mirror to check. Yes. Clamps my skin in a pair of medical forceps, uncomfortable but not painful. Sits back on her haunches, smiles up at me, gives me a moment. Still yes. Tells me to breathe, then pushes the needle through, into my moan. I’m not even sure it hurt, but it’s definitely intense. A bit more fiddling, almost like an aftermath, and the ring is where I want it. We both grin, collaborators in this act of self-determination. I can’t imagine doing any of this with a stranger, in a shop. We’ve built this trust in each other over years, and you can’t replace that with an exchange of expertise and money.

It is all very romantic to me.

***

Of course I come back for more.

Something about her makes me want to push my boundaries, face my fears, so I give her my mouth next. It doesn’t get any closer to kissing than this. Same house, same room, same chair, but this time she sits right in front of me, at eye level. I’m nervous, even though I know what to expect in terms of the mechanics. But this is my face, my mouth; so close to my breath, my voice. This is half on the inside, and that makes a difference. It really doesn’t get any closer to kissing than this. I trust her, though, implicitly. I wouldn’t be sitting in this chair if I didn’t. So she does it again. Gloves, disinfectant, dot, mirror. A ritual of consent. I do. Clamps, grin, breath, push, moan. I feel a little awkward because she’s still holding onto the forceps attached to my lip, stuck through with a needle, and I’m afraid I might drool. A reassuring smile appears on her face, so close to mine, and I let go of my worry. She captures another bead inside a ring inside my flesh. I’m giggly with pride and endorphins after, and she looks at me as if I just gave her a gift.

***

I find my first self-identified butch lover, and everything is different after that. She knows who she is, and suddenly I know who I am. Sex finally makes sense, and I’m rapidly shedding shame and shyness.

I’m not quite ready to do anything that explicitly is what I think is BDSM then, but I am ready to let her pierce my nipple because getting another piece of permanent jewelry offers just enough plausible deniability. We do a lot of things that offer just enough plausible deniability, even though the complete lack of innocence oozes through every conversation we have about them. Before she comes over, I make sure to put ice cubes into the freezer because she has told me we can apply them beforehand to numb the pain a little. This feels like an important part of the whole thing. She arrives, we chat for a bit, start making out (as we do), then interrupt ourselves. We have a plan to follow. I sit down on the carpet in my room, my back resting against my bed frame. She goes through her version of the ritual: gloves, disinfectant, dots, forceps. The pain of that clamp on my nipple is intense, and I need a moment to adjust. I only remember the ice cubes when she already holds the shiny needle between her fingertips, her eyes glinting with a hint of malicious pleasure. Within a split second, I decide not to say anything — everything is right the way it is, even if it’s not what we originally planned. I nod at her to go ahead and she does, her sharp metal piercing through my sensitive flesh. It hurts, but it’s also good in a way I don’t have words for, so I just moan again. I secretly like the soft pulse in my aching nipple when she fucks me afterwards, and I come hard on her hand, the same hand that has hurt me before. When I mention the forgotten ice later, she looks at me as if I’m really hardcore. I’m not, but I like that she thinks I am.

***

I am at one of my first BDSM play parties. In one of the rooms, a bare-breasted butch sits in a medical chair, relaxing into the padded back and armrests. She is surrounded by other women, some of them high femme, others more androgynous, all of them wielding small, sharp bits of steel, moving around her, weaving her into an invisible web of power and connection. Rivulets of blood are running down her chest and arms; she’s laughing. I stand in the doorway, watching them for a long while, speechless with awe, profoundly touched. I never cross the threshold into that room because I instinctively know that would be too much, too close. I cannot interfere with their magic, cannot disrupt the intensity between them.

After that, I keep thinking of blood with a yearning that goes beyond any words I have to describe it.

***

I know I’m going to to something about this yearning, eventually. I just have to find the right person, the right time, the right place.

***

Everything in me says it’s him. He is already making some of my longest-held dreams come true, and I’m quite infatuated with him. He also has eyes that light up with sparks when he talks about piercing others. So I ask him to do this with me, and he accepts. We go into the room, sit with the others, listen, watch, learn. The first drop of blood (not mine) appears, and my cunt and heart clench at how intensely erotic it is. I feel like my whole history resonates in this moment.

When it is time, we choose the corner where the sunlight falls through the window onto my naked arm as I sit on a table there. He puts on gloves, disinfects my skin. Just looks at my arm for a while, ponders. Pulls apart the wrapper, holds the cap of the hypodermic needle in his fingers. Strokes me with his other hand, palm fading to fingertips, feeling for the right spot, then settles into a firm grip. By then, everything but him and me is a fuzzy blur, the other people in the room faded to a background hum. As he finally pushes the needle into, then through my skin, my only thought is, finally. Arousal blooms through me, a long, deep exhale. I sink into subspace almost instantly, can feel myself opening up to this and everything else he may want to give me. I didn’t plan this, but I’m not surprised, and I’m not resisting this wave pulling me under. I can deal with the consequences of my feelings later. Right now, all I want is every little bit of this moment. Another needle. My eyes close and my head falls back as I breathe out; a response, an invitation. Yes. More. Please. His thigh glows heat into mine, my whole body attuned to him, even though he barely touches me. I never want this to end. There is so much that could be in the space between us. I drift into a moment of doubt, suddenly not sure if I’m imagining things, if he even wants me to be where I am. I gather myself, pull up from the depths a bit, then open my eyes to show him how I feel about this, about him; to silently ask, Do you want this? Do you want me? In response, his finger pushes my softness into the narrow line of unrelenting steel running through it, the one he put there. Dull pain radiates into my brain, pools heat between my legs. Oh god. Fuck yes. He watches me while I absorb the intensity, my spine softly undulating in pain and desire. Then he adds the third needle, sharply pushing through me a final time; I groan in delighted pain. I want to kiss him, badly. So badly. The ache of my yearning for him is delicious, and I don’t even want any immediate fulfilling of it. He once again presses his thumb into the places of my skin that are stretched across the needles, more, more of the same, and I keep melting. He keeps watching me. I realize I could probably come from this. But this is neither the time nor the place for that, so I swallow the urge to try. Right now, it’s enough to know I could. His eyes sparkle in sadistic glee, and I purr. Eventually, he gently tells me he’s going to take out the needles now, that we have to start wrapping this up. I’m surprised how sad I am at the thought, even though I know it’s a good decision. I ask him to make me bleed as he removes the tiny blades from my flesh, and he does.

A single drop of red, red blood trickles down my arm. I could cry with the beauty of all of this, and I don’t need any jewelry to stay behind to remind me that I really am a fucking romantic.


This is a catch-up post for a #Kinktober prompt I skipped before. The original prompt for this day was “branding,” but since I don’t have anything to say about that from either experience or observation, I chose to write about my early encounters with piercing and needle play as a different activity that also involves deliberately breaking the skin (and that may leave permanent marks). And it sometimes comes with bonus blood!

Obligatory disclaimer: I’m not responsible (or liable) for any of your choices. Do your own research and make your own risk assessment if you ever consider doing anything like this. My own information-gathering, decision-making, and consent-establishing process may not be entirely written into this story, but I knew exactly what I my risks were at all times.


Image source: 1

BDSM? Sex? Both? Neither?: An overview of possibilities

BDSM + sex

Content note: This blog post contains a wide variety of one-sentence-long examples of various kinds of BDSM play, of different sexual acts, and of combinations of the two. It also mentions both polyamory/non-monogamy and sex work, equally briefly. And it has very short references to depression and unspecified trauma. If you need more specific info, please try searching this post or let me know what you need a note for so I can tell you whether it appears in here and add more detailed notes in the future.

I promised you kinky nerdery, so here we go…

Inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter yesterday, and the vague annoyance and alienation I tend to feel when “everyone” “always” seems to automatically combine BDSM with sex in their imaginations,[1] I decided it was time to write about the connection (or lack thereof) between BDSM and sex and make a post that shows the many different ways the two can be combined — or not! I even drew a bunch of diagrams for all my fellow visual thinkers! (Note for people using screen-readers: The alt-text image descriptions are very short, but I will explain the idea of every illustration in the text below the respective image.)

A few remarks about my language use first, so you all know what I’m talking about (yay, definitions!):

  • I use BDSM and kink interchangeably. In this text, either of these words means everything that happens consensually and contains elements of bondage, domination/submission (D/S), sadism/masochism (S/M), role play, fetishes, and related activities and dynamics that focus on restraints, power differences, pain, alternate personas, or uncommon sources of pleasure.
  • I use sex as an umbrella term for everything that happens consensually and involves at least one person’s genitals and/or that is meant to create sexual arousal.[2] These activities include the stimulation and/or penetration of all kinds of genitals and/or anuses (assholes) with someone’s mouth, tongue, teeth, fingers, hands, toys/objects, flesh-and-blood and/or silicone cocks. Or, if you like these more confusing terms: manual sex, oral sex, anal sex, and vaginal sex.[3] For the purposes of this post, I’m assuming that sex involves at least two people, even when they’re not in the same room (so phone sex and online sex with direct interaction counts, but being alone and jerking off while watching porn doesn’t).[4]
  • I use the term top to refer to everyone who identifies or plays as a dominant, sadist, owner, d-type, mistress, daddy, handler, etc. — that is, for the person(s) running the show and/or giving the stimulation. Likewise, I use the word bottom to refer to everyone who identifies or plays as a masochist, submissive, pet, little, servant, s-type, property, etc. — that is, for the person(s) following the other’s direction and/or receiving the stimulation. Please identify with whatever bits speak to you in my little example snippets below, adapt the ones you like so they fit the language you use, and assume that all the other examples are talking about people who simply aren’t you.[5]

I would also like to note that the different versions of combining (or not combining) BDSM and sex I explain below can apply to different people, or they can apply to the same person at different times in their life. This post is not meant to create fixed identity categories, but intends to offer a way to understand and describe different and changeable patterns of behavior. The concepts below can be used to either describe how things are for someone right now, or how they would like things to be in the future (or how they were in the past). Some of them can also be used to describe a single sexy or kinky interaction. They are ordered in a way that lets me build on previous ones as I go through the list. I have absolutely no data about how common each of these versions are. I just know that they are all equally valid and okay.

Alright, let’s start with the diagrams!

#1: BDSM and sex are completely separate

BDSM + sex 1 - separate

In this case, BDSM and sex are completely separate activities for the person. They exclusively have vanilla sex (that is, sex without any element of BDSM) and they do BDSM, but never with any elements of sex. For example, they may enjoy doing rope bondage (shibari) for the artistic or meditative aspects and not because it turns them on. Or perhaps they love giving or receiving floggings that are more like a deep-tissue massage or a painful ordeal than a source of sexual arousal. Or maybe they are a pro-dom(me) or pro-sub who is entirely vanilla in their private life, and who doesn’t offer any genital stimulation during the time they spend with their clients.[6] Or they might be a person who is in a vanilla relationship with one person and practices their BDSM with other people, but only without genital contact. Or they may just find it hard to combine BDSM and sex in the same scene and prefer to engage in these activities separately. In short: They both do BDSM and have sex, but never combine the two.

This person may spend the same amount of time or energy doing BDSM and sex, or they may do more of one than the other, as indicated by the differently-sized circles in the diagrams.

#2: BDSM and sex overlap partly (and to different degrees)

Venn diagram that shows BDSM and sex as partly overlapping (explanation in text)

For other people, BDSM and sex partly overlap. Like the person above, they do BDSM without sex and have (vanilla) sex without BDSM, but they also combine BDSM and sex sometimes. They may be into alternating spanking and wiggling around a butt plug in someone’s ass. Or they may like to follow a warm-up flogging with an intermission of clit-sucking and then move on to the caning crescendo of their scene. Or they may enjoy having any kind of sex while one partner is tied up or blindfolded. Or they may like framing any kind of sex as a service interaction or as a power exchange. Perhaps they also have different partners (and/or clients) for vanilla sex, BDSM without sex, and a combination of the two. Or maybe they only have vanilla sex (and BDSM without noisy impact play) at home because of the kids/pets/neighbors, but really like to go to a play party where they have enough room to swing their bullwhip or where they can find an appreciative audience for a nice paddling-and-fingering scene.

As before, they may spend about the same amount of time or energy on BDSM and sex, or they may do more of one than the other (again indicated by the differently-sized circles in the illustration).

Venn diagram that shows BDSM and sex as partly overlapping to different degrees (explanation in text)

The amount of overlap area can also vary. Maybe that person combines BDSM and sex almost every time and only sometimes has either vanilla sex or BDSM without sex (left column). Or they may only very rarely do a combination of BDSM and sex and keep the two separate most of the time (right column).

#3: There is no sex outside of BDSM

Venn diagram that shows sex as completely contained within BDSM (explanation in text)

The next possibility is a person who never has sex outside of BDSM, so no vanilla sex at all. This person always combines sex with BDSM but may also engage in BDSM without genital stimulation or an aim towards arousal/orgasm. For example, they may be into serving tea to their top or into receiving foot massages from their bottom, but none of them gets turned on by that activity. Or they may be into a round of friendly, non-sexual needle-play between friends. At other times, they may enjoy being mercilessly sucked off by their top while wearing a whole bag of clothespins clamped all over their body. Or they may be into being obediently fisted by their submissive while telling them exactly how and praising them for their skill. Or they may like to masturbate for their top’s viewing pleasure and be called lots of dirty, humiliating names by them. Or perhaps they’re sex workers who do BDSM without sex with their clients and BDSM in combination with sex with their private partners. Or they are a polyamorous person who only has one partner they share both kink and sex with and additional BDSM play partners with whom they don’t engage in genital play or play that focuses on sexual arousal.

As you can see by the relations between the differently-sized circles above, there may be very little BDSM that doesn’t contain an element of sex, or about half of it,[7] or quite a lot.

#4: There is no BDSM outside of sex

Venn diagram that shows BDSM as completely contained within sex (explanation in text)

This also works the other way round. This version would be a person who only does BDSM as a part of their sex, but who also has vanilla sex without any BDSM elements. This could be a person who sometimes/about half of the time/often likes their sex to be entirely vanilla, but who also enjoys adding elements of BDSM from time to time. Maybe they always get so turned on by being intensely hurt or intensely hurting someone that they just have to have sex right after, preferably with some poking of the fresh bruises. Maybe they are the proverbial “spicy-vanilla” owners of a pair of fake-fur handcuffs who are trying a bit of kink with their sex for the first time.[8] Maybe they like to get out the costumes and dress up for some role play sex (just once a year for Halloween or pretty much every Thursday) and are happily vanilla the rest of the time. Or maybe they have both vanilla and kinky partners and have sex with all of them (and no BDSM without sex).

As in the previous version, the amount of BDSM contained in the general amount of sex can vary from a lot, to about half of it, to just a little (as indicated by the differently-sized circles).

#5: BDSM and sex overlap completely

Venn diagram that shows BDSM and sex as completely overlapping (explanation in text)

For other people, BDSM and sex may be completely overlapping. Whenever they have sex, it has BDSM elements to it, and whenever they have sex, it has aspects of BDSM. They never engage in vanilla sex and never do BDSM without any sexual elements. Please see above for more specific examples of ways to combine BDSM and sex.

#6: BDSM only, no sex

Venn diagram that shows only BDSM, no sex (explanation in text)

In the next case, the person does BDSM, but engages in no sexual acts whatsoever (with or without kink). They may be temporarily or permanently sexually celibate (by choice or by circumstance) but still enjoy giving or receiving pain or service or like playing with power exchange, with one or multiple partners (and/or clients). They may just not have any libido (sex drive), due to medication or age or depression or unknown causes, and may therefore skip all the sex stuff but be absolutely into bootblacking, boot worship and trampling. Or perhaps they are asexual and experience no sexual attraction (and also have no other reasons for participating in sex) and that is why they prefer to focus on expanding their skills in giving an excellent full-body massage, or in making pretty patterns out of dozens of needles on their bottom’s backs. Maybe they just don’t like sharing sex with anyone for any other reason and save all their sexual activity for solo fun, but they have a steady rope bondage buddy or a knack for meeting cuties at play parties for pick-up BDSM scenes without sexual elements.

#7: Sex only, no BDSM

Venn diagram that shows only sex, no BDSM (explanation in text)

If it is the other way around, and they only have sex but no BDSM, we have found ourselves what is often known as a vanilla person. Maybe they just haven’t discovered their kinky interests, yet, or they are still working up their courage to make their BDSM fantasies a reality. They may be BDSM-celibate for now or forever (by choice or by circumstance) and only engage in sexual acts without any kink elements with their partner(s) and/or clients. Or they may just not be attracted to playing with pain or power dynamics and also feel absolutely no urge to ever play around with a strand of rope or three.

#8: Neither BDSM nor sex

Venn diagram that shows neither BDSM, nor sex (explanation in text)

And of course it’s also possible to engage in neither BDSM nor any kind of sex. Maybe this is a full-on celibacy (by choice or by circumstance, temporary or permanent). Maybe they’re too depressed to care about either of these things or so sick or traumatized that they spend all of their energy on simply surviving until the next day. Or maybe they just spend all their time doing other delightful and/or important things (doing social justice activism? writing code for their newest project? reading or writing erotic novels or fanfiction? sailing across the Atlantic? caring for a newborn? perfecting their challah recipe? repairing their house?), and are perfectly happy just the way they are.

And with this I have reached the last of my diagrams!

Of course none of the examples for activities I gave are exclusive to the concept below which they are mentioned. They are also not the only examples that are possible to illustrate said concept. I tried to cover a wide range and many angles throughout the post, but I’m sure I’ve still missed things — please add a comment if you think of anything that is important to you.

I hope me picking apart the possible relations between BDSM and sex is useful for you to understand where you’ve been, where you are right now, and where you may go in the future in these areas. Or maybe you’ve stayed the same all your life (also interesting!)? Perhaps this post also helps you have a better idea of the way other people live their kink and their sex (or either, or neither) in different ways from you.

Finally: If anything I said is unclear, please don’t hesitate to ask and I’ll do my best to clarify (or simplify). Or perhaps you have thoughts of your own to add to mine? The comments and my contact form are open!


Notes

[1]  To see what I mean, just scroll through the #Kinktober hashtag on Twitter or Tumblr and count the images that do and don’t depict genital sex — or even just look at how many obviously genital-involving activities are part of the #Kinktober prompt list I’m using (6 out of 31 = almost 20%) when that is explicitly a kink-centered project.

[2]  For the purpose of this post, it just matters that there is a line between BDSM and sex somewhere. It’s fine if it’s not in the same place for everyone. And it’s also fine if there are cases where BDSM and sex melt into each other, for example when a caning is given with the explicit intent of causing an orgasm in the top or bottom but no one’s genitals are directly touched. (I have diagrams for those cases, too.)

That said, if you have strong feelings about what is sex and what isn’t, you can take this post either way: If you define sex as everything that involves genital stimulation for at least one person involved, the concepts still work. If you define sex as everything that leads to sexual arousal and perhaps orgasm for at least one person involved, the concept also works. And if you define sex as everything that either involves genital stimulation or that leads to sexual arousal and perhaps orgasm for at least one person involved, the concept works, too. If, however, you define sex solely as a flesh-and-blood cock penetrating a flesh-and-blood vagina, I strongly recommend that you examine the anti-gay sentiment implicit in this definition. In that case, you’re still welcome to stay around and learn, but you need to be aware that I’m writing this entire blog based on a different understanding of human sexuality, so you may have to question a lot of your assumptions before things make sense to you.

[3]  Because really, is rimming anal sex or oral sex or both? If I stimulate a clit with a vibrator I hold in my hand, is that still “manual” sex? What if I rub a vulva (the outside parts — outer lips, inner lips, clit) with a cock but it never enters the vagina (the inside part)? That can’t possibly be “vaginal sex,” right? What about all the different ways someone can rub their genitals on someone else’s non-genital body parts or all the ways we can rub their genitals with body parts that are not our hands? Do we even have a widely-known umbrella term for all of that? And what if our genitals or those of our partners don’t neatly fit into the “either it’s a dick or it’s a clit” binary, never mind the rest of what’s there “down there”? Can you see why I find these “manual/ oral/ anal/ vaginal sex” categories so confusing?!

[4]  This is not to say that solo sex (masturbation) and/or solo BDSM are any less valid than partnered sex and/or BDSM. But this post is long enough as it is, so I decided to not include solo sex/BDSM. That said, while my examples assume the presence of at least one partner, the concepts as such should still work for solo sex and/or BDSM.

[5]  For the record: The person beating someone’s ass or tying someone up could also be a switch, service top, or a submissive sadist, and the recipient of the beating or the one who gets tied up could be another switch, a masochistic dominant, or anyone else who doesn’t neatly fit into either of these categories. The giver of a blowjob can be a top as well as a bottom, and the person receiving the blowjob can be a woman (cis or trans), non-binary person, or man (cis or trans). And so on.

[6]  Some people may dislike my inclusion of sex work in these examples because they don’t consider the activities of sex workers “actual sex” or “actual BDSM” and prefer saving those terms for private activities. I obviously don’t intend to tell anyone how they should define their own lives, but I did want to be clear that my thinking is inclusive of sex workers and sex worker clients. Sex work (including no-sex pro-BDSM) is just a part of the reality of circumstances in which sexual acts and acts of BDSM take place — and this post focuses on consensual activities, not on feelings about them.

[7]  I know the overlap of the example in the middle row here and in the following illustration doesn’t really amount to 50%, so I hope all you math nerds will forgive me for prioritizing the visual “feel” rather than geometrical accuracy here.

[8]  In which case I hope they don’t use their faux-fur handcuffs to actually pull on them with any force because the narrow metal can easily hurt someone’s wrists (and the nerves that run along it). They also tend to break easily because they’re usually produced very cheaply and in an awful quality. A safer alternative (that is still fairly cheap) is a set of wider, adjustable cuffs made out of textile that closes with velcro or buckles. That’s the kind you can actually pull against with a lot less risk of hurting yourself. They also tend to be much more comfortable, which means you can wear them for a longer time.


Image source: pencil; all other graphics and diagrams © kinky & nerdy

What yoga class has taught me about BDSM education: A teaching philosophy of sorts

Photo of a tabby cat stretching between a sidewalk and a car wheel

Today I realized that my approach to teaching BDSM skills and concepts has a lot in common with the things I liked in the weekly drop-in yoga classes I took for a while.[1]

In those classes, there is basic instruction for everyone, no matter if this is the first time they ever get on a mat or if they have done this for a decade already. Breathe. Arrive in the moment. Stay on your own mat; it doesn’t matter what everyone else can or can’t do, measure yourself against yourself. Focus on here, on now.

There usually is a basic version of an asana, a yoga pose, that is taught first. Feet like this, weight there, stretch out from here. It is the raw material from which your version of it is created. Because there are always adaptations, and they are of equal worth. Yoga is meant to adapt to us, to the way we are, right here, right now.

If you have trouble with your knees, do it like this.  If you have a sensitive neck, leave out that bit. If you can’t reach this body part, reach that one. You can do this pose like this, like this, or like this. If you like, you can use a belt, a block, a cushion, a blanket to make it work for you. If you can’t stand, do it sitting down, like this. If this is too much for you today, only take it until here. It’s always okay to take a break. Listen to your body. Stay on your own mat.

If you’d like more of a challenge, try it this way. If you can reliably do this version, try out that one for variety, if you like. If you feel like experimenting, you can try changing this part of the exercise and see which one feels better to you. Listen to your body. Stay on your own mat.

When you start struggling, end the pose or take it back to a less demanding version. Arrogance and overconfidence are likely to get you hurt. There’s always more to learn, for everyone. Find your own range of movement. Take breaks if you need to. Listen to your body. Stay on your own mat.

It is assumed that everybody, every body is different. We are middle-aged and youthful and old, skinny and slender and chubby and fat; we have scars and injuries and constant aches and weak spots and that one muscle that keeps tensing up. We do this for the company, the challenge, the comfort; because our doctor told us, because our friend is here as well, because this is our last hope, because we are just curious, because this is part of our spirituality, because this is a type of sport that works for us. We have all lived a different life before we’ve arrived in this class.

It is assumed that even the same body, the same person will be different every time we get onto the mat. We’re tired, distracted, nervous, recovering from an illness, well-rested, up for a challenge, bubbling with energy, quiet, centered. It’s all okay. We’re all here, now.

We come with different inherent abilities, have made different experiences in and with our bodies, learn at different speeds and in different ways. Some of us spend the best part of the hour battling memories of humiliating experiences in physical education class where we were most definitely not okay the way we were then, the way we maybe still are today. Some of us constantly put ourselves down if we don’t get it “right” on the first try because no one ever told us that getting it “wrong” is a normal part of learning. Some of us need to learn how to learn in the first place because we’ve never been in a situation where we were bad at something, where we had to practice to get better, where we had to work for anything. Some of us feel like we have to be the best at all times or we will be the worst because no one has ever given us permission to be mediocre, just okay, just good enough. Some of us find everything easy and fun and playful, until we acquire an injury, an illness, a disability and have to recreate our yoga practice from scratch, and then everything is just hard and sad and frustrating for a long time. Some of us need to learn how to have compassion for and patience with others in the same class who struggle with things that were always easy for us. Some of us need to learn to leave their complacent comfort zone and take a bit of a risk. Some of us need to learn to stay with our comfort zone. Some of us need to learn to even feel their bodies at all. All of us need to learn to be okay with how we are, right here, right now. All of us need to learn that this is not a competition. There’s always more to learn, for everyone.

***

And there is one teacher (with their own complex backstory and their own current struggles), speaking to everyone in their class. The class consisting of random people who just dropped in out of curiosity, people who will be here once and never return, people who want to get back into this after a health-related time-out, people who have finally worked up the courage to deal with their bodies and all the history stored in them, people who have been here every single week for years, people who will fall in love with doing yoga instantly or slowly or not at all; random people who practice yoga every day at home, people who go to extra yoga workshops and yoga retreats and read books about yoga, people who will never get on a mat outside of this class, people who have acquired exactly the gear that works for them (this mat, these pants, that shirt; this color, that material) after years of trial and error, people who just threw on a band shirt and a pair of sweatpants because that’s what they had; random people who consider this a lifestyle, people who like the movement but can’t relate to anything woo-woo, people who consider this a sport like any other, people who have no idea what yoga will mean to them, what place it will have in their lives, but are curious to see where this takes them.

So the teacher has to adapt. To everyone. They need to explain in words, in technical terms as well as in metaphors and analogies, need to show how it looks and point out the important details, know the places people tend to not pay attention to, need to let people try it out and walk around to offer instruction, motivation, comfort, a challenge. They first have to make sure that no one is hurting their bodies, have to correct the twist of a torso, the placement of a knee, a distribution of weight, suggest a break. Then there is time for variations, further steps, background information. They have to remind everyone that yoga is not a competition, to stay on their own mats. They have to welcome the newbies and recognize the regulars, understand who needs a challenge and who needs an easy success today. They need to remember to ask people before they touch them — and remember who of the regulars already gave them blanket permission to adjust their bodies and who of the regulars prefer a hands-off correction at all times. All of us learn in different ways, and one is not better than the other. So the teacher has to teach in more than just one way.

The teacher also needs to question any assumptions they might make based on looks and other first impressions of their students. Because that super-fat person over there in the ratty old t-shirt and the neon-colored tights may be more experienced and well-balanced than anyone else in the room (including the teacher), and that skinny person with the flowing cotton shirt and the thermos of herbal tea who keeps talking about their amazing trip to India may be nothing but a clueless poser about to hurt themselves badly and alienate everyone else with their casual racism and gender essentialism. They need to be aware of their own biases (and every teacher has some) and be transparent about them so their students can contextualize what they are being taught. They need to be able to say “I don’t know,” and then ideally follow up with, “…but I’ll look it up/ask someone else and get back to you” or “…but you could look/ask for that information there.” They need to keep learning.

The students have to learn to stay on their own mats and to focus on their own minds, bodies, and reasons for being here in the first place. They need to face all the places in them that are stiff and limited for lack of use, uncomfortable for the history they hold, too unstable to safely carry the weight put onto them; that resist change, that open up only on the thirty-seventh try, that want more than they can take without causing damage; that bend beautifully, that stretch further and further, that sink steadily into the ground like an anchor, like roots to grow from, that are light and easy and just a complete joy to hold and move and relax. If the students stick with it long enough, everyone will struggle with something. This is a normal part of learning.

***

My intent behind writing the educational material on this blog is similar to these yoga classes. I’m trying to talk to everyone who shows up, offer something useful for the complete beginner, for the one who has done a bit here and there and now wants more, for the one who has taken a long break and is now carefully coming back, for the person who has been doing this for decades. I try to give you the information you need to avoid injuries and other harm, and to take calculated risks if you like. I try to share ideas for something new, for a different angle, for you to try out and play around with. I may offer a new perspective that you haven’t seen before. I try to be mindful of different backgrounds, different philosophies, different abilities so no one is excluded by default. I hope people learn enough from me to make their own adaptations and fill in the gaps I’ve left. I hope I’m not the only teacher they ever have (in fact, I encourage everyone to check the educational information I give here against the input of other educators and practitioners — after all, I will always have gaps in my knowledge and experience, I may be misinformed myself, or I may simply make an error, as much as I try not to).

That said, not every piece of information, not every example, not every idea in this blog is meant for everyone. I trust all of you to be able to make your own choices about how to engage with my material, to take what feels useful, to adapt what needs adjusting, to leave what isn’t for you. I trust you to figure out which is which for you.

What I offer here won’t be perfect for everyone who comes here. That’s okay. If you find something in this blog that seems way too advanced, scary, disgusting, or weird — or way too boring, cliché, repetitive, or uninspiring to you, please move on to something else because clearly that content is not for you, at least not right now. Find a different post on this blog that speaks to you more. Find a different blog, a different teacher. Write a comment or send me a message that points out or adds the pieces that are missing for you. Come back another time. Skip the educational bits altogether and just read the other parts of the blog. Do what works for you.

And if you don’t understand something I said, please ask for clarification in a comment below the respective article or in a message and I will do my best to answer.[1]

***

If this is too much for you today, only take it until here. It’s always okay to take a break.

If you’d like more of a challenge, try it this way. If you can reliably do this version, try out that one for variety, if you like.

When you start struggling, end the pose or take it back to a less demanding version. Find your own range of movement. Take breaks if you need to.

Listen to your body. Stay on your own mat.

There’s always more to learn, for everyone.

And that includes the teacher.


Notes

[1]  Please note that not every yoga class is like this. In fact, not every yoga class I took back then was like this. These are just the parts that worked well for me (and sometimes my ideas for alternatives to the parts that didn’t work for me at all), the parts I took with me as lessons about how to respectfully teach a body-and-mind-related thing to a group of random people who are all very different from each other.

[2]  This is a declaration of my intent, not a legal contract I’m making with anyone. If I can’t do it, or can’t do it quickly, I won’t. This blog is not the most important thing in my life, and even if it was, sometimes other shit just happens and gets in the way. I also reserve the right to shut down/delete, mock, or just ignore questions that seem to be asked in bad faith or that appear to be asked with the sole intent to hurt me or provoke an emotional reaction in me. I may also refuse to answer questions if the answer would compromise my privacy or that of the people who appear in my writing.


Image source: 1

Public acts of pleasure (#Kinktober Day 18)

Surveillance video image depicting two men making out in the bed of a truck (screencap from the music video

Public sex has always been forbidden sex. Sex that has no room elsewhere. Sex that is pushed into secrecy, casualness, a lack of commitment. Sex that is forced into denial. (Nevertheless, we persist.)

No time for life stories, for explanations, for context. Here and now is all that matters.

Gay cruising. Men kissing men, men sucking cocks, men sharing intimate touch with each other, despite all the hateful laws. Parks and parking lots and public bathrooms. Glory holes. Messages scrawled on walls in code, writing ourselves into existence, leaving traces.

Spoken in nods and glances, wordless hands pushing you where he wants you. If you’re not interested, don’t make eye contact. Walk on. The next dark tree may shift into the man you want.

Last night’s intensity still hangs in the air, dense between the shrubs, when you accidentally wander into the area the next day. It’s only then that you see the torn wrappers on the soft floor, used condoms half-covered with leaves, damp tissues melting into the ground. This is sacred space. Don’t tell.

Sex in cars because there is no home open to both of you. Sex in cars because that is the first space that is yours and you can take it wherever you want. Sex in cars because there is unsupervised time between leaving one place and arriving at the other. Drive-in cinemas, gravel roads, taking the scenic route.

Steamed-up windows, tangled limbs, heated kisses, hands under skirts, teenage dreams.

Back alley fucks, behind the gay bar, queer bar, dyke bar. Urgency besides stinking trash cans, daytime shapes dissolving in the dark. One ear always listening for trouble.

Trying to stay silent, so nothing bad will happen. Public sex is never really safe. Not for us.

Knowing something is happening in the bathroom stall next to yours. Stifled moans, gasps breaking out, hard breaths; the sloppy wet noises of kisses and cunts. Your hand between your legs, moving to the sounds of strangers.

Grinding on the dance floor, fingering in a dark corner. Making out at the bar, fucking in the bathroom. Sweat and glitter and the stench of alcohol. Smeared make-up, messed-up hair, ill-adjusted clothes, happy grins as you stumble out, back into the writhing crowd.

The unspoken agreement that this is a legitimate use of the bathroom in a dyke bar, queer bar, gay bar. The community makes room for our sex, since no one else is. When it’s you standing in line, waiting to pee, you may still groan that it’s all taking too long, but you know why. You know this is how we do this. You keep waiting.

Public sex means discomfort. Rough walls leave scratches on our backs, our hands; gear shifts and toilet roll holders bruise our shins and thighs; clothing rips and stains and digs into our flesh as we shove your way in; our bodies painfully bend into these small, re-purposed spaces, creating friction, granting access, making room for us to come together, making room for us to come. Together.

Making out while others are watching. Making out because others are watching.

Low lights, soft surfaces, every sofa, mat, and podium an invitation to get down to it. Bodies moving together, hands grabbing thighs in leather pants, fingers trailing over underwear that deliberately stays on for this. We’re really good at having sex with our clothes on. It’s a reminder that we didn’t always have this space. That we made this happen, for so many of us. We’re really good at eroticizing the inevitable.

Reveling in the freedom to finally take off all your clothes because there is no danger here. Cries of pleasure serving as encouragements for each other, lustful sounds gathering like a wave, crashing through the whole room, much louder than you can ever be at home where the neighbors still disapprove. A collective celebration of how goddamn fucking beautiful we all are when we don’t have to hide our desires anymore but finally get what we want. A soft, wet cunt that opens for us, a tight, greedy ass that draws us in, a firm hand that goes exactly where we like it best; their favorite cock, her lovely, large clit, his squishy chest; her broad thighs painted with our bruises, their four hands all over our freckled skin, his deep purrs of erotic delight.

Crumpled up cover sheets, mats propped up to dry, a whiff of disinfectant. Trash cans full of paper towels, empty lube packets, used condoms, inside-out nitrile gloves. Soft smiles as you tidy up after the party guests have left. It’s always worth it at the end of the night.

Still, I keep wondering: How long before we are violently stopped, again? How far can we take this and still keep each other safe? How much queer pleasure can we get away with, this time? And why is queer public pleasure something we still can’t take for granted?


Image source: 1 (screencap by me)