I think there are a lot of times when people over think problems. So I though I'd write a general purpose response to some of these points that reoccur a lot. Imagine pretty much any problem where people are coming up with complicated ways to safeguard against bad behaviour. The kind of bad behaviour? Well generally people being dickheads, not respecting people's boundaries, violating consent, just pushing consent, taking stupid risks when performing, etc. etc. See the problem here is that people are being dickheads! Being a dickhead is not a problem that can be solved with policy, procedure or negotiation classes. No matter how much of this you do dickheads are still dickheads and still do the dickhead things they were going to do anyway. Why? All together now, because they're dickheads. It would be nice to be able to live in a perfect world but just in case you hadn't noticed, we don't! Life has dickheads in it, it just does. I'm going to suggest that the only real way to tackle this is for dickheadedness to be unacceptable and to recognise when it's dickheadedness that you're dealing with. For instance if when someone pulls a dickhead move they protest that they didn't know they were meant to act like a grown up intelligent human with actual agency and morals and the ability to know right from wrong and oh, if only they had known X, Y or Z. And you say yes, you're right there does need to be better guidelines or education on being human or procedures to stop you acting like a sociopath, what you are is complicit in their abdication of personal responsibility. How is it possible do you [...]
Here is some rope minimalism from some time ago. Originally this came up because of someone saying that 6 feet of rope was 'obviously' too short to do any bondage with. So here are a few ties done with a 6 foot length of rope doubled to make it only 3 feet of working length. It's interesting to see what can be done when you place a deliberate restriction on yourself and challenge yourself to be creative within the parameters of that restriction. I was determined that these not be simply for show but that they be obviously practical effective bondage too.
You know I used to say I was a rigger because it was a nice neutral term. But... well people have kind of turned it into a title of sorts and now people start posts with "I'm a rigger!" and it makes me cringe. Not least because I think... You're a rigger (in the titled sense you now mean it) and I think NO you're not, you'd maybe like to think you are but you're someone who maybe once in a while uses rope and it's a far cry from that to someone who can really rig. See if you want to use it like that especially about yourself you'd damn well better be able to do it. And most of you that have latched on to the previously serviceable and unpretentious word and turned it into a title and use it that way are exactly the people that it shouldn't apply to in that way. People seem obsessed with creating titles for themselves. Shut up and do some good rope instead. If you were good you wouldn't need 'titles' for yourself no would you?
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 [...]
I wrote recently a post on Identifying Predatory behaviour. The thing that surprised me was that some people took issue not with what I'd written or the way that I'd written it but with the fact that I described predatory behaviour as... well predatory. Now normally I just sigh and let these comments go but... Here is an example that I'm quoting wholesale. Personally I'd like to see this type of behavior re-branded as 'abusive' rather than 'predatory'. A) because it IS abusive and contains a set of classic warning signs about dangerous/abusive relationships that apply outside the kink setting and only expands upon it within kink. B) there are plenty of folk in the kink community for which being a 'predator' has NOTHING to do with the behaviors listed here and their style is done in the SSC manner we aspire towards. This particular labeling does extreme disservice through being unable to freely talk about and enjoy types of play without having to clear the air of assumed stigmas and warnings from the entire community that don't apply. While there's no with point 'A' argument that yes it is abusive, why not predatory when that is in fact a perfectly good description of what it is? Point 'B' however I do take issue with. My issue with it is frankly, so what? That's their business and I'm not saying that they shouldn't or whatever. It's perfectly plain what I am talking about and what 'predator' means in this context. This final paragraph. I'm going to re-quote it here on its own so we can examine it clearly. This particular labeling does extreme disservice through being unable to freely talk about and enjoy types of play without having to [...]
It's amazing how many people make assumptions based on very limited or in some cases non-existent experience. Even more amazing is their propensity to make sweeping authoritative and wrong statements about the things they know nothing about. With some people even when you show them that they are mistaken somehow they still cannot let go of their preconceptions.What's even more amazing is that people will go out of their way to bring up such things in conversation. Strange isn't it that people pontificate on kinks that the profess no interest in, have no experience of, don't frankly know anything about and yet will make categorical statements about with no basis in experience or even theoretical knowledge. Why are people like this? There are plenty of kinks that aren't for me, some of them I don't know a lot about. I feel absolutely no desire to make statements about them to people interested in that kink based on no knowledge. I feel no need to make negative statements about things I'm not interested in. Yet sometimes the disparaging comments seem almost vicious. It's like some resent others kinks. How can this be? That's not a rhetorical question by the way, I really am puzzled. Why make negative comments about kinks you clam not to be interested in? When I try to think of likely motivations it's hard come up with something credible. Jealousy Spitefulness Just not being nice people Being pathologically resentful of others enjoyment The automatic disparaging of anything that isn't their own kink What can it be? I'm at a loss as to coming up with any charitable reasoning. Are people really this sad, this pathetic?
Many people have argued that BDSM mentors only need life experience, but I think that you have to have BDSM experience too. How can you guide someone else when you have very little experience yourself? Experience is not directly related to age or to being around for a long time. Some people have very small and specific experiences. Some people aren't suited to mentoring despite being round for a very long time. Without experience how can you mentor another? Without having had the experiences yourself how can you advise another. Without being round long enough to not only know a variety of people with skills and knowledge you don't posses but to also know the character of those people before recommending them as someone to have an experience with to someone you're mentoring. A certain maturity is also I believe a desirable quality in someone mentoring. This again only comes with experience and not to everyone. Some people never mature. Some people mature early. This isn't related to age but to personality and again to experience. Someone could be 30 and have been around the scene for 10 years, know lots of people, have lots of varied experiences in play and otherwise, have had good and bad relationships, know manners and club protocols and be ideally placed to help someone or 40 and only just come out with no real idea of the people on the scene, no real experience of play or relationships etc. In this example it is the younger person that would be the most likely to make a good mentor. I was not thinking of people of any specific age when I began this thread. It is simply my observation that [...]
Sometimes you get people arguing on-line and all you can think is.... OMG what do you have in your life that you do this? What I mean is that they often want to project themselves as 'experts' on-line without being able to show any evidence of expertise. They produce nothing original, nothing beautiful, nothing inventive and yet they think an awful lot of themselves. If you look at these people you will see that they are not usually well known for their skill even if they are well known as a 'presence' on-line. They would like to think of themselves as pillars of the community, and benevolent dispensers of knowledge even though it's plain that their motivation is completely self serving. Often they try to make themselves known by arguing with people who are well known, who have achieved things, people who are often in demand as performers or teachers. They like to argue with these people as they somehow think that it puts them on a level with these people. Of course nothing could be further from the truth. They actually make themselves in to jokes, annoying jokes but jokes nonetheless. They are often prodigious on-line posters forever recycling others work in an attempt to seem like the can 'contribute' copying and pasting swathes of others research and knowledge when they could have much more effectively and frankly with much more respect for the originators of that knowledge just linked to the creators website, or as is very often the case Wikipedia. Arguing with these people brings up the law of diminishing returns, the more effort you put into being reasonable with them the less you get back. The real problem is that they're not actually interested in being reasonable, they're [...]