There are many well intentioned discussions at the moment about professional associations for riggers and / or models. Many terrible people love to join professional associations because it lends them the seeming of legitimacy without much actual effort in contrast to those that build their own reputation by actually achieving something. Professional associations have their uses for concrete definable professions with real qualifications that can be subjectively determined. i.e. there's a reason why these exist commonly for trades. Also many associations exist to represent their members in some way. If so who runs it and how is it going to be paid for? Or do you want or the kind that only exist to provide information and a nexus of communication for members? Do people mean something like the General Medical Council that can strike of Doctors so they can't practice. If so how do you enforce this? Eventually associations with bad members are devalued and become worthless regardless of any good works due to bad members. People stop trusting it. So you just have to stop bad people joining right? Well how? This has sprung up in the wake of revelations about some well known presenters. So you wouldn't let them in your association right? Why not? Until recently they had as far as many were concerned good reputations. Their turning out to not be the kind of people you'd have wanted associated with your professional association wasn't necessarily predictable. So now you're going to expel them right? How? You're going to have a tribunal with witnesses and a trusted panel of adjudicators who are senior professionals. How do you determine who they should be? Even if you do this and it all works [...]
Filed firmly under the category of really? Again? Had to send some takedown notices again on one site because someone had copped our images, modified them to remove the mark and posted it up on their profile. I issued the usual DMCA takedown and that image was removed. That's pretty much the unfortunate business as usual. What was odd was the message I received from the guy after. What a sad man. Nothing better to do than grassing people up for something that doesn't affect you at all. I liked the pic, never said it was mine. No life. Derp right? What a sad man I must be not letting him just rip off stuff without consequences, nothing better to do than report an idiot that doesn't understand copyright and thinks they're entitled to rip off anything they fancy just because they 'liked the pic'. And how could I possibly think that him ripping off my work, removing even the mark that could have led people back to my work and posting it horribly degraded could possibly affect me? Just ridiculous of me. It was nice of him to admit that he had no rights to the image though. I don't imagine that was his intent but possibly not the sharpest tool in the box. So lastly, 'no life'. Well here's my problem with that. I do very much have a life. A very large part of that life this person so amusingly assumes that I don't have very obviously involves tying up lots of beautiful women. Part of it even included creating these images that the guy liked so much that he flatteringly posted them with the creators identification edited off. I have so many [...]
There isn't one! The problem is in people being dickheads. I'll elaborate on that a bit... When people take pictures at events where pictures are not allowed; that's a problem. When people make calls in quiet spaces; that's a problem. When people do anything that they agreed not to do at an event, even without a cellphone; that's a problem. None of these are cellphone problems, but all of them are dickhead problems! Dickhead problems are behavioural problems. Some behavioural problems are due to personality and intellectual problems. To put that last comment into somewhat more prosaic terms. Some people are entitled, self regarding and stupid enough to think "Yeh, but that doesn't apply to me right?". Yes to you! Especially and particularly to you because you are an entitled, self regarding idiot with no regard for the restrictions that you yourself voluntarily agreed to but also with no regard to the rights and perfectly justified expectations of others in the space. Those people have every reasonable expectation that everyone else will give equal regard to those rules and restrictions. People bang on about banning cellphones, confiscating them, deleting media etc. Ban dickheads instead.
Hi whoever you are. What would I say to you if you were new to the scene and I was speaking to you directly? The main thing I'd say to you is that the scene is really full of great people, but it's also full of not so great people. So what you should do is subject everything that everyone says to you to a reality and sense check and even if it passes that, also subject it to a 'Does insert your name here agree with this, and is this for(him/her delete as appropriate)' test. You could answer yes one day and no another in 12 months subject to more experience. Your experience will build and you will discover things about yourself and what you like over time. I always say the same thing. Subject everyone's advice to critical analysis... Including mine. Don't let anyone overpower your good sense. Regardless of your D/S sub dom, top bottom inclinations or desires. Some people will attempt to impose their will or guide you in underhand ways. Some will attempt to 'help' you or 'mentor' you by showing you 'how it's done' or some such. That isn't mentoring. Real mentors are your friends who are concerned with you and not with having their names on other profiles like a status symbol. They give you good advice even if it's hard advice and don't use it as a pretext for another agenda. I don't wish to say things that are discouraging of frightening. But I don't want you to have an avoidable disaster. Please take care of yourself and for sanity's sake keep the bullshit detector on. I don't know what's going to be right for you I really don't. [...]
You need experience to be a good teacher. I'm not saying that it takes decades to get that experience but it does take some time and application. People often argue this need... actually people without experience often argue this need. They usually stop arguing it after acquiring experience. Especially when that experience is acquired the hard way. The real problem is that only experience really teaches you how valuable your experience is. Before you have it it's hard to imagine what it gives you. Unfortunately it is often only when people have the experience of coming undone and learning the hard way that they realise that actually experience does inform our actions at all levels, especially when passing on knowledge to others. It teaches us what was crucial and what was not. It allows us to recognise and head off developing problems that are otherwise noticed too late. Experience allows us to make judgements that are based not just on book learned facts. It develops our ability to balance many factors though practice. Inexperience and overconfidence can lead to the attitude that all this crap that experienced people are coming out with is just unreasonable. They're only saying that because... (insert today's justification here). It's unfair to try to stop them, who are manifestly an exception to the normal process of learning and maturity! It's a problem I have with some kinds of peer workshop teaching. The guy who learned something yesterday is teaching it today. Weirdly people don't seem to think that this could lead to problems. I think that peer learning can be great when people already have very good basics and are therefore able to recognise problems for themselves. When beginners are [...]
One of the worst blights on any community is those individuals with agendas to push. Generally these are about the person themselves, how they want the world to see things, i.e. their way. And of course about how they would like people to perceive them. But all of that is ultimately about people wanting power in one way or another. To be seen as a 'leader' or some kind of font of wisdom. An 'authority' on some subject. Someone that others look up to. You see the worst examples of this again and again. Generally in subjects where they would like to be seen as experts. Sometimes you see people who are really into a subject, when people disagree with those genuinely interested in the subject for itself rather than as a means to their own end they will debate when challenged. They may realise a mistake or have found a better knowledge. They may take new input with enthusiasm because... they are genuinely interested in the subject and learning more and better information about it is what they're about. The person using any subject as part of their agenda to promote themselves is likely to react in a very different way. I have seen those with agendas try all kind of things when challenged on what they see as their area of expertise. Trying to belittle or ignore the source of conflicting information is the mildest. Trying to discredit the source as a person is probably the worst. Why this behaviour? Because to the person with an agenda to push the subject is not something they actually care about in and of itself, it's just a tool. Something they can use to make themselves [...]
Some time ago I wrote an article about who's in control in a D/s relationship. Out of that arose the question of when someone really doesn't have control. Regardless of your dynamic within a relationship you are both clearly in charge of the relationship itself so you don't ever have a situation where you have no choice about what goes on in the relationship or ultimately if you're in the relationship at all. So when do you really have no control? I think that one of those occasions could be within a scene where once committed you have no choice but to see it through. The analogy I'm going to use for this is skydiving! The reason I'm using skydiving as an example is that it fulfills the same kind of criteria as a scene where you have at least temporarily no choice. You have the choice to jump or not right up till the moment of jumping, if you like a point of no return, quite literally in the case of a parachute jump. Yet once you have committed to the jump, once you're out of our metaphorical aircraft you're skydiving like it or not and you have no choice but to see it through. You cannot change your mind halfway down. Now theoretically, in a scene you 'could' stop it with a safe word etc. or if really in trouble e.g. a medical emergency. It is easy however to see how someone could in a consensual way give up their safe-word for the duration of a specific scene. That's 'could' I'm not saying if it's a good idea or not, I'm just saying that you 'could' very well do that*. A thing that's important to [...]
So.. who do you trust? This is a really serious and difficult question for people who are new to the kink scene. You want to learn, you're excited to explore. But who can you trust to help you and not take advantage of your inexperience? I cannot tell you who you should trust but I can say a few things about taking care of yourself. Don't ever assume you can trust someone just because they're... Well known in the scene Appear to play with a lot of people Seem to say everything you want to hear Have been around for a long time Happen to organise an event Talk loudly about how wonderful they are Not everyone on the scene is a predator, not everyone is abusive, some people are and they make life just that little bit harder and less fun for everyone. It’s essential however, to recognise that they exist and to act accordingly. And that is with a little caution. I’d like to make the point that I’m not saying, don’t ever trust anyone. What I am saying is that IF you’re going to trust someone with your body, emotional or psychological well-being or even just rely on their advice. It IS worth seeing if they’re what they appear to be. Some try to gain instant trust by offering mentorship or protection to people that they've only just met. There are those who can become genuine mentors but they tend to want to know a person reasonably well before taking on a real commitment. Some people are what they appear to be, and getting to know them is a delight and they can be wonderful rewarding people to know. Some people though [...]
Though we are different, and though what we bring to the relationship is different. One's contribution is not less than the other. Though one needs to dominate and one needs to submit. One is nothing without the other and their worth is balanced. As people we are enhanced and lifted each by the other and not by virtue only of our part within our relationship. The way we choose to live does not make one less than the other. However you live, however you run your life, whatever your dynamic, any good relationship must consider the needs of each person not only the fulfilment of one and not the other no matter which way you find your fulfilment, through control or through losing it. This is an equal relationship. It exists because of the needs, desires and love of those within it.
The reason for the title of this post is that one of the most dehumanising things I see is people being defined as things. I say this because... things can be defined, described, they have fixed attributes, you know what they are and can talk about them with confidence knowing what they are and what to expect. Things are defined, people are not things. People aren't like that. They are not things easily defined, they are many things at all times. Labelling them defines them in some ways. Labels, except in the broadest possible sense are misleading. I think I tend to think of people as an ongoing process, one that changes through time, changes with experience, because of experience, develops and changes constantly to a greater or lesser extent. Things are static, people are not things. The words we use to describe people are useful to communicate descriptions, likes, dislikes, tastes, preferences, thoughts, about people so long as we don't think of people as being wholly defined by those words. This is particularly important where some words are 'loaded' with particular associations. This can lead people to associate value with people dependent on these words separate from that individuals worth. Things don't think, people are not things. We all have facets, we cannot be defined by one of them alone, it's important to remember that people are complex and full of contradictions. Logical, emotional, irrational, evolved and primal. We are in some respects prey to instincts, desires and lusts that we have no control over and are the consequence of millennia old evolutionary processes. Yet we can channel these, control them, use them for pleasure, tap the lizard brain leftovers and be our primal [...]