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.
References are a valuable tool for keeping you informed, aware and safe when considering playing with others. I cannot recommend getting references enough, although they are often overlooked and not used enough when considering tying with new people. I think that rope tops should vet bottoms and bottoms should vet tops before playing, shooting, and especially performing. I have heard of instances when this system has been abused, confidentiality is broken and people get angry and hurt. This results in a bad feeling and quality of reference. It can lead to scene drama and people being unwilling to give references. It is very simple to avoid this situation and have a great resource for our community. Giving References A good protocol to abide by when you are asked for a reference is to report facts, your own actual experience. Try not to sensationalise things in your head. It can be difficult but try to remain unbiased when giving a reference, separate your feelings from the person and inform the person what your own experience was or what your current knowledge is surrounding that individual. Getting References When asking for a reference, it is important to remember that you are asking for an account of someone’s individual experience with the person in question. They may be the one person to have a positive or negative experience so it is important to get more than one reference. When it comes to rope bondage I recommend gathering as many references as possible from tops and bottoms to build a picture of the person you are considering doing rope with. Potential Questions Negotiation How was negotiation handled? Was it done? Were agreements and limits honoured? Injury Accidental etc. What [...]
The title of this post is concerned with something that people often do not do. And that is actually see people! By that I mean see the actual person, not what they do, what they look like or how they dress. The actual person themselves! As human beings we have many mental short-cuts that enable us to function as human beings quickly and often without too much thinking. Therein lies the problem. For very good but ultimately socially unhelpful reasons we think in stereotypes. In them and us. In this and that. People are more complicated than that. People exist beyond a surface impression, have deeper lives than their appearance and are more than stereotypes. People are highly advanced social primitives. We're thinking animals. We have the ability to intellectually override our instincts if we so choose. The trouble is that sometimes we don't and we make the mistake of thinking that people are actually those superficial impressions. We are all more than what is on show. Sometimes people only want to see the surface, the simple the easily categorised. It makes life simple and saves them from thinking, from difficult moral decisions, from challenging the easy assumption. It's easy for a lot of people for instance to associate some modes of dress with simple definitions. For instance 'slut' with certain manners of dress and the assumption that goes with that as to someone's character, behaviour and ultimately worth as a human being. You don't have to think very hard to realise that there is more to someone than what they're wearing. Sometimes though it seems that many people can't think very hard at all. What about what you do for a living? People make [...]
I see people replying over and over on posts "Oh but there are exceptions" and yet I don't write general posts based on the exceptional. I give it, based on the generality. Exceptions are just that, exceptional. That's why they are called the exceptional, they do not represent the vast majority of cases, people or circumstances. I can't help but think that when people make these arguments for the 'exceptional' they are mentally filing themselves in the exceptional category. You can understand why. Everyone wants to think of themselves as exceptional. In fact it's very common for people to think that they're exceptional.
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 [...]
Recommendations are a difficult and weighty thing. They are loaded with responsibility. Unfortunately it is often the case that recommendations are made based on what turns out to be a limited experience of a person. This is especially unfortunate when the things you have not seen are what you might describe as bad things. Bad things like ego driven dangerous behaviour, like a failure to care about and check in on someone who has been injured. You have a feeling of guilt if a person that you recommended turns out not to have lived up to the trust you placed in them. If they let down the person they have been recommended to, who may never have even met them otherwise, it is not something you can take lightly. When the person hurt is someone you are emotionally attached to, a close friend or play partner for instance, this feeling intensifies. It makes you mistrust your judgement of people. It makes you angry at them for failing to live up to what you might think are reasonable expectations of judgement, skill, trust, responsibility and care. Due to a recent experience which has left deep feelings of disgust toward the behaviour of one individual mistakenly trusted. It's hard to imagine any recommendations being made in the future.
During the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage this year I had one of those 'really' moments when I was told about something doing the rounds in America at the moment. Well, if it's true it's a new level of stupid when it comes to spreading information regarding bondage. A couple of years ago we did a show in Chicago at an event there. In that show there was a single ankle suspension. This suspension resulted in absolutely no injury, the techniques used were ones that originated with Asagi Ageha regarding rope and knot placement. So far as I'm aware nobody has sustained a nerve injury from the way this suspension is tied. Why do I mention nerve injury in regard to this suspension that didn't cause one? Well because I was told during the London Festival this year that the way I did that suspension is being advised against because of the injury Clover sustained during that show! If you just went 'hu?' then you should have. They are advising against that suspension because of an injury she didn't have. Now Clover has had a nerve injury in her foot and it was from an ankle suspension. It wasn't from that suspension, it wasn't tied in that way, didn't have that placement and it wasn't in that show, it wasn't even on that day. Hell, it wasn't in any show. It happened when we were trying a new transition, and it was, according to everyone we've been able to talk to about it not even the fault of that suspension tie. The doctors and surgeons we've talked to to get to the bottom of why it happened have called it a 'fluke [...]
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 [...]