I recently wrote a short article on being new to the scene. In all honesty it got a lot more of a reaction that I'd been expecting. It was really just about sense and taking care of yourself as a newcomer to the scene.This is by no means comprehensive but it does include a few of the more obvious warning signs off the top of my head. Attempting to isolate you from information. Attempting to isolate you from your friends. Attempting to prevent you from talking to experienced people within the scene. Ignoring limits. Being told that you can't have limits. Being told that slave contracts are legaly binding. Telling you that theirs is the only true way. Extravagant and unrealistic claims of experience. Stories changing and becomeing more exagerated. An attitude that there's nothing for them to learn. In a way it's a little depressing. I've been into kink for more than 20 years now and I can remember people talking about predators when I first found the local scene. The advice I can give and the signs to identify the predatory time are little changed in all that time. From since before the internet (if you can believe there was such a time) the cycles of human behaviour have remained much the same.
I think that the majority of, shall we say, unfortunate incidents that happen in the kink scene occur when the unethical manage to meet the unprepared! When either I or my partner meet someone new into kink our instinct is to point them at useful and informative resources, try to answer questions and to give them some space to learn and find their feet. Others don't want them to learn. Or find their feet. They want to take advantage of the new persons ignorance. Normally I try quite hard to post in a logical manner, however sometimes I 'blog angry' when something happens to especially tick me off. In the interests of full disclosure, the kind of person that exploits others inexperience and take advantage of that tick me off. Posturing ass holes tick me off. Scummy, manipulative fucktards... tick me off! The most ticking thing is that... well they're pathetic. If they didn't prey on the vulnerable they'd be SOL they have nothing that would actually attract someone to them, they're totally unlovable and worthless. They would, of course be utterly pitiable if it wasn't for the fact that they hurt people. Prey on the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of others, of course they go after the vulnerable because they are fundamentally weak people who cannot cope with people who aren't vulnerable. When I say 'weak' I mean of course that they're cowards. Morally, intellectually and emotionally. After all people who are healthy aren't afraid of people who are strong, or of knowledge or of people having different opinions or of the independence of mind of their partners, don't need to seek out weakness. Their need to prey on the weakness of others only highlights [...]
A friend of ours posted an article about her experiences on finding the kink world. It's bravely written and very worthwhile reading so I wanted as many people as possible to see it. I reproduce her article here with her permission The post I thought I’d never write; Shame, Silence and Ethics in BDSM By _Sunday_ Grab a coffee..this one’s going to be lengthy. I'm sitting here today about to write a post I never thought I would have the guts to write. I've thought about it over the years, but for many reasons which will become clear decided against it. Over the past couple of days my account on Fetlife has been very busy. My inbox has been flooded with messages, my previous post has had many comments (sorry for not replying to all of them) and I've felt quite overwhelmed with what has been going on both in public and behind the scenes. When I wrote that post on Saturday I was pissed. I was angry and I couldn't help but put myself into the shoes of all the women that the post that sparked all this referred to. I didn't take any personal insult from it myself but I was fucking cross on behalf of other people. I've never wanted to write up my personal story, I never intended to and even yesterday morning I felt that to do so would leave me open to accusations of having a personal axe to grind. I didn't want that, I didn't want my message to be written off as one from an angry bitter ex, I didn't want to give this person that card to attempt to play with, because truly that is not how I feel. But the last couple of day’s events have taken over to the extent where I've had [...]
OK so not just bondage related here. This is unfortunately the kind of thing that just applies to anyone new to kink. When you're new predators will try to prey upon you. They honestly will! When you are new is when you most need to be careful. Plenty of people will promise you anything, say anything, they will lie... to get into your pants. These same people will talk about honesty, they will talk about honour, they will 'talk' with great conviction. No not everyone you meet will be a predator, not everyone will be conniving and manipulative. Not everyone will lie to you. Not everyone, but some will. They will pick on you specifically because you don't have experience, the particular vital experience that would allow you to know that you're dealing with a predator, that's why they go for you, because they know you aren't equipped with a fully functional bullshit detector yet. People who have met these scene predators often look back at the bullshit they were once fed and wonder how they could have eaten it, how could it not have made them throw up at the time? How could they not smell it? It is because of those people that you must be careful. The temptation to dive headlong into a new world is massive, the temptation to believe it when someone tells you exactly what you want to hear. You must, without destroying your faith in humanity be wary, you must defend yourself. And you defend yourself with sense, with caution and with learning and with finding out about people before taking the breaks off and diving into the deep end. If that sounds a bit of a buzz kill it [...]
It often seems to me that people read what they want to read. Certainly this doesn't apply to everyone but for some it seems that no matter how carefully you try to phrase things, they have a view of the world; and sometimes of you, that seems to act as some kind of distorting lens that bends a picture that they don't understand or don't agree with into a shape that fits their preconceptions. How can I get people to read what I actually wrote and not their own prejudice? How can I get them to respond with thought? How while we're at it can I get them to understand that stating my thoughts isn't necessarily implying that yours are invalid? Often this seems to turn what they see into a high contrast black and white picture that they can view very simplistically. How can I get them to understand that sometimes there are shades of grey, what I think for one particular instance is not necessarily something to be applied indiscriminately across the whole of life and every circumstance regardless of other factors. How can I get some people to understand that what applies to one circumstance I may discuss doesn't necessarily apply to another circumstance without this being a contradiction? I'd like some people to try to remember that I'm not you! I don't have to agree with you, or pander to your personal beliefs. Keeping this all in mind I'd like people to get past the automatic prejudices, triggers, conclusion jumping etc. that leads them to most irrational and illogical responses. If you're going to read something with prejudice, with preconception, with your mind made up before you begin reading, then what's the point? How do I get people to read [...]
There have been some posts recently on the subject of qualified or competent teachers, codes of conduct etc. Will there ever be an accepted code of conduct for bondage teachers? A qualification? I really don't know. There are some recognised methods taught, notably Osada Ryu which is taught in Japan, Australia and Europe. This is a method from a single teacher, will it spread, become widely accepted? I don't know. It has things to be said for it, it has accredited teachers, you can I think be assured of quality, but then it isn't for everyone. Will bondage ever head down the route of having specified, defined systems? Again I don't know. Are defined methods even desirable? I think both yes and no. Useful for giving people the tools to do good bondage, essential safety knowledge etc. but beyond a certain point of competence perhaps not really conducive to creativity. Then again some people love bondage but are not creative and would benefit greatly from defined, well constructed bondage education. What I do know is that the practical reality of things is that outside of the very small minority people learn from people who are not in any way qualified as bondage teachers. Outside of the confines of single source systems (with one root teacher which are self governing) there are to the best of my knowledge no qualifications as such for teaching bondage. No boards of ratification or governing bodies. Should there be codes of conduct and governing bodies? That is a question that has answers and arguments from both sides. It is also not a question that I intend to consider here! So what is this article about? Once again it's about something that so many [...]
A friend today made a very good point about when he found things most likely to go wrong in rope bondage. And I absolutely agree with him on this. Often its when you're doing the routine things, the small things, the things you've done a thousand times before. It's in those moments when you're running on automatic pilot rather than when you're working on something on the edge where you're focused and paying complete attention. You should be able to do some parts of your bondage completely without thought, you should know what you're doing so well. The mistakes in things you have done a thousand times before happen not because you don't know how to do it but because you are not focused. It is absence from the moment. It is something unregarded and considered unimportant. All things in rope bondage are important, from the first detail, especially from the first detail. Those brings me to the main point of this article. The need to be present in the moment. Now there is an apparent dichotomy in the concepts that you should know what you're doing so well that you can do it without conscious thought and the idea that you must be present and focused in the moment. This dichotomy is however only apparent. There is a very big difference between having practised things so well that you can do them automatically i.e. that you have developed muscle memory for an action and by contrast, simply not paying attention to what you're doing. When you are focused in the moment you are paying attention to all things including those things that you do automatically.
OK so my memory is far from perfect so right here I'm going to apologise to anyone that I've left out by accident in any of my blogs. The published schedule is by now nothing but a vague guide as is my own recollection. It's been DAYS since the actual event and some things loom larger in the memory than others. Combined with the fact that I know for certain I missed some early shows. I've only written about stuff I actually remember seeing. So if I didn't see your show... I will not have written about it and that not writing about it does not comment upon the quality of your performance*. After a late start, followed by lunch and interviews we eventually turned up to the venue slightly late just in time to catch the end of Gradancer and Cherrydoll's performance. This was very different to a lot of the shows and even finished off with cigar play. I wish I could write more about it but sadly I didn't see it all. Peter Slemrian and Adreena followed. Next was Riccardo Wildties and Redsabbath. I had a personal reason for being happy to see this performance, for me it was one of the highlights of the festival. Finally there was Kazami Ranki and Gestalta. This was a very intense show. It may have not started out showing what it would become but the ending on the floor where Gestalta was completely choked out was an intense moment for the festivals performances to end on. Finally This festival has been the very best that I've attended. The attitudes of everyone attending has been the best, the most community minded, the most happy, the greatest camaraderie and the most supportive. Clover expressed [...]
Sunday began with a bondage lesson for a very lovely couple in the teaching van outside the gallery. (Yes I know that might sound a bit odd but it did provide a perfectly serviceable teaching area complete with suspension point). We had a great lesson and I was really very happy with the progress made. I love it when I can feel that I've really given people something that they can use. For Sunday's performances we began with Aliya from Russia doing a self suspension show which was very impressively athletic. Moonlight Shadow followed with a psychedelic feeling show. I can only describe it as a very interesting and different and challenging performance. While it might not have been 'Japanese' style bondage it was very different to every other performance and had an affect on the audience. Next was Hebari and Rabbitbunny. Hebari's usual partner was unfortunately unable to make it to the festival. Rabitbunny again deserves credit for stepping in at the last minute and Hebari for making it though a good show with hardly any chance to practice with a new partner. Andrea Ropes from Italy was another rigger without his usual partner. Nina Russ stepped in for this show. (I have to give her special credit for hard work in bottoming for two shows and topping for one.) The show was another unusual ones, Andrea in full wa-fuku style clothing and Nina in a zentai suit with a paper 'radiation suit' over that. It was an interesting mix of styles. Last on was Bob Ropemarks and Dutch Dame. Again I can only remark on how different the styles of all the performances where. Techno music, industrrial sounds, samples from the film SAW [...]
After the excitement of performing on the Friday night we were ready to just enjoy watching the shows on Saturday. One of the great things about the festival is that you see so many different performers and styles and Saturday saw some of the greatest contrasts. Special mentions must go to Jack the Whipper and Zahara who not only did a great show but showed great humour and maturity dealing with things not going perfectly smoothly. Rabbitbunny and Cherry Doll stepped in at very short notice to perform and deserve credit for getting on stage without a prepared show or knowing each other more than a day. Also Amy Morgan and Scarlot Rose who also had only met the day previously but nevertheless put on a very well put together show. This year was the first that we saw riggers from Russia at the festival. One of the most individual was Vlada and Falco. They were very distinct and had a style very different to the other performers. Falco is a quite remarkable performer and male model, he certainly showed strength skill and grace that was quite unusual. Finally on was Zamile and LX who provided yet another contrast by beginning their act with dance and burlesque striptease. Apparently LX hasn't danced in years. Well it didn't show and the audience really got into it. They really had fun together and their spirit of enjoyment infected the audience and rounded of the night very well finishing on a very positive mood.