Thursday, December 23, 2010

The 12 Days of Christmas - BDSM Style

Credit to the SydesJokes website for this kinky holiday rendition. Let's celebrate Xmas with joyous song:

On the 1st day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
A Small Feather Pillow for my knees.

On the 2nd day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.

On the 4th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.

On the 5th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.

On the 6th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
6 Tubes of KY,
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.

On the 7th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
7 Crops a Swinging,
6 Tubes of KY,
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.


On the 8th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
8 Floggers Flogging,
7 Crops a Swinging,
6 Tubes of KY,
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.


On the 9th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
9 Candles Dripping,
8 Floggers Flogging,
7 Crops a Swinging,
6 Tubes of KY,
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.


On the 10th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
10 Scenes a Whipping,
9 Candles Dripping,
8 Floggers Flogging,
7 Crops a Swinging,
6 Tubes of KY,
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees


On the 11th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
11 Pairs of Stockings,
10 Scenes a Whipping,
9 Candles Dripping,
8 Floggers Flogging,
7 Crops a Swinging,
6 Tubes of KY,
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
a Small Feather Pillow for my knees.


On the 12th day of Christmas, my MASTER gave to me...
12 Orgasms Screaming,
11 Pairs of Stockings,
10 Scenes a Whipping,
9 Candles Dripping,
8 Floggers Flogging,
7 Crops a Swinging,
6 Tubes of KY,
FIVE ANAL BEADS...,
4 Ball Gags,
3 Blindfolds,
2 Nipple Clamps and
1 Small Feather Pillow for my knees.

Happy Holidays! Stay busy!

Safe, sane and consensual
Michelle

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wednesday Whips: The Original Mistress

Take a look at this video with footage from a 1910 Danish film called "Afgrunden" or "The Abyss" in English. The original Mistress. Her rope work has a lot to be desired, but she sure can move her hips. Very inspirational I must say. Puts one in the mood to Vamp. Have you found any old photos or footage or artifacts that scream fetish or BDSM? I'd love to post some if you send links or jpegs (mapolaris@gmail.com). Safe, sane and consensual

Michelle

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Toys: A Horse is a Horse


The more I look into the history of BDSM, the more I long to write an historical novel set in the world of kink and fetish. Today’s toy: The Berkeley Horse, or Chevalet.


As the story goes, in 1828 Theresa Berkeley either made or had made a device to aide her in flogging the gentleman who requested her services. The chevalet was adjustable so the man on it might be brought to any angle, and a woman could sit beneath it and fondle his “embolon” while flogging his backside.

A woman after my own heart!

According to Leatherpedia.org, “In one surviving letter, a customer hearing about the Berkley Horse proffered Theresa Berkeley this pricing for her services: ‘a pound sterling for the first blood drawn, two pounds sterling if the blood runs down to my heels, three pounds sterling if my heels are bathed in blood, four pounds sterling if the blood reaches the floor, and five pounds sterling if you succeed in making me lose consciousness.’”

I don’t think I’d care to go so far as bring blood, but I really love the idea that a woman was so giving, so concerned with the needs of others that she went so far as to design such an apparatus. And made so much money off it. Not to mention how many men she satisfied. A true philanthropist, wasn’t she?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Fetish Friday: Fetish Awareness, or Things You Can't Unsee

I blame the stage version of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”. I was in a semi-pro production of this musical several years ago, and the theme was updated to concentrate heavily on fetish wear and practices. We had a pony boy in the chorus, with his lovely leather-clad Mistress. Riff and Magenta were collared slaves. I may or may not have portrayed a ruler-wielding schoolteacher. That sort of thing. The dance numbers were…entertaining. 
Anyway, in the course of that show the entire cast did a lot of research into the world of fetishes (we even took a field trip!), and learned many fascinating things. This was before I’d embarked on my current career of smut-writing, so it was a real eye-opener for me. But once I got past my initial shock, of course I was intrigued by it all. Not just the D/s part, which wasn’t entirely new to me even then, but the whole panoply of sexual fetishes. The variety, the sheer mind-boggling creativity. That was several years ago, and I've learned so much since then, but I still credit that show with providing me a turning point in how I viewed human sexuality.
The downside? Once seen, it cannot be unseen. Once you’re aware that some people like to do freaky things with eels, for instance, it’s nigh impossible to see a bunch of eels (a “bind” of eels, I think it’s called) without thinking about that. And wondering, not for the first time, why certain cultures seem to have so many and such extreme affinities for that sort of thing (I’m looking at you, Japan…and Germany, don’t think you’re flying under my radar, either). If I see somebody dressed in head-to-toe leather these days, I make some baseline assumptions I simply didn't used to make. And I am no longer able to view, with innocent unawareness, anyone wearing a full-body animal costume of any kind.  
Usually this all happens where it started - on the internet. So usually it’s not a problem in the "real" world. But yesterday I found myself standing in the gift shop at the local fine art museum, commenting to the cashier that the newly arrived collection of jewelry (made out of little bits of rubber piping in black, gray and red) looked a whole lot like fetish wear. She agreed, and more to the point she knew instantly what I meant and didn’t bat an eye at my remark. My sister, standing next to me, was a lot less sanguine about my cheerful discussion of fetish-themed jewelry. Although it was my sister who proceeded to point out that the collection also included purses  (some of which, gosh, I’d think any latex-loving fetishista would be thrilled to have because they were pretty cute).  
It may not usually be a problem, but it certainly is an unavoidable fact that now I'm aware of this stuff, I can't ever be un-aware of it again. I can’t unsee all the sundry things I’ve seen people doing with rubber hoses (or, sadly, eels). Nor can I completely isolate that knowledge from my experience of the world around me. And I have to admit it does change, even skew, my perception of everyday objects at times. Sometimes it makes me wonder just how “vanilla” the world around me really is. I mean that sure was an awfully high concentration of rubber piping for a non-industrial application. 
Sorta made me sad I’m allergic to latex.
But I wouldn’t mind being allergic to eels.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Controlling Interest --contracted by EC

This week, I had the good news that my editor liked my contribution to the 1-800-DOM-help series and offered me a contract for Controlling Interest. Here's a blurb to whet your interest!


*****


Mozelle “Mouse” Vincent inherits money, a club, and her boss' son as a business partner when society leader, Regine Stuart dies. Torin Stuart knows what his late mother's wishes were for his exclusive BDSM club, Erotically Bound, but he's pissed that he’s forced to trust Mouse—especially when her inherently submissive nature arouses the sexual Dominant in him.

After baring all in a heated, intense scene with Tor, Mouse realizes that they still have to work together. However, Tor challenges any business suggestion Mouse makes. When she wants to offer education classes, Tor dares her to organize the class and participate—as a submissive.

To his chagrin, Mouse agrees, but he can’t stand the thought of any other Dom touching her. Suddenly there’s far more at stake than controlling interest in their club…because love is the ultimate prize in their power exchange.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What to Wear

A few years ago, when I was invited to spend an evening with a Domme in a New York dungeon to learn some techniques, I was thrilled. But my excitement was tinged with concern. What should I wear? The idea of dressing up in a bustier and fuck-me high heels was both titilating and off-putting. My husband sometimes teases me that I’m a prim New England girl at heart. He’s not wrong in many ways. It’s hard for me to let go in public, to not feel silly. I knew I would feel self-conscious wearing something really provocative, and I’m also not sure that kink play for me is play in the sense of dressing for a part. I ultimately settled on all black business casual. I certainly stood out among the women there. But here’s the thing, I also got a lot of attention. Now maybe it was because I was a new face in the crowd. Or, maybe because I did stand out with the incongruity of a woman wearing street clothes while wielding various instruments of pain – the ordinary paired with the extraordinary. I don’t know.

What I wonder is how integral is clothing to kink? It’s certainly part of the stereotype that non-kinksters use to portray the lifestyle. All of the women (but not all of the men) that I saw that night in New York were dressed for the part. There is certainly a sense of power and control when someone is clothed and the other naked and some kink, like pony play, demands a costume. For the typical Domme, though, is wearing leather and sexy clothese a way for the woman to feel more attractive or a way for her to get into the swing of things (sort to speak). Am I the only one who wonders about this at all?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Whips: Male Chastity

One flavor of kink that rarely shows up in erotic romance stories is male chastity. Male chastity can be a great motivator for a gentleman's attentiveness to his partner. This practice usually encompasses a woman enclosing a man's genitals in a cagelike device (of which there are a plethora of types) to prevent stimulation and erection, keeping him locked away often for long periods of time to keep him on edge in his orgasm denial. Teasing him is, of course, encouraged. The female partner holds the key to the lock on the chastity devices. The details of the arrangement between the partners vary to their tastes, because if it isn't what floats their particular boat, why bother. There's never any one way to be kinky. Many couples choose this chastity lifestyle, and it is not limited to those who identify as part of the BDSM scene. I've read a number of blogs written both from the woman's and man's perspective in these ventures. Here are a few links if you want to take a look:

http://www.malechastityblog.com/

http://denyingthumper.com/

http://www.cagechronicles.com/

http://vanillaedge.wordpress.com/

and a general link that acts as a warehouse for the variety of chastity blogs out there:

http://keyheld.blogspot.com/

But there's a reason, I believe, male chastity rarely shows up in BDSM or kinky erotic romance. In most cases the sexual and emotional pay offs of the characters in an erotic romance are tied up in their eventual sexual consummation. The metaphoric power (and very real gritty pleasure) of the orgasm is something a reader expects between the lovers at some point. And a novel or novella or short story that takes place during a limited period of time may not be able to reflect the sexiness of fantasies about long term orgasm denial.

There are a number of kinky topics that are usually discouraged by the publishers of erotic romance in BDSM stories. These include water sports or scat play, bestiality (not shape shifting stuff guys), rape in the non-consensual, non-fantasy role-play meaning, and sexual scenarios involving children. I never see enema play, gender play or pony or doggy play featured in the primary relationships in BDSM romance stories. (Maybe as some background stuff involving non-primary characters) Neither is there much verbal humiliation used by Dom's of their sub's in these books. There is other erotic literature out there that do include these topics, but perhaps its more fair saying these subjects don't crop up (not talking about crops used in discipline scenes) in mainstream erotic romance publishing houses. Now that sounds funny. Mainstream erotic romance? I'm not just talking vanilla stories here, because stories like the ones in our series are anything but vanilla. But the wonderful customers at Ellora's Cave may read the fetish and kinky stuff without it being part of their own sexual identity. And certain aspects of a D/s lifestyle appeal more to them than others. Certain fantasies do not fit the expectations of the mainly female readerships' love affair with alpha males (even if these males are sexual submissives).

Reader tastes expand as time goes on. So maybe there's hope for creative use of long term male chastity as a story element in the future. I'll think about how to tackle that hurdle. But what other kinky topics seem a poor fit for BDSM erotic romance as it stands? Ideas?

Safe, sane and consensual or RACK, take your pick.


Michelle

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Of Kink and Housework

In researching the submissive lifestyle, I am amazed at how often the subject of housework comes up. Perhaps it’s my aversion to doing it that makes the term jump out at me, but stumbling across blog after blog with links and tips and entire sub-sections (no pun intended) devoted to keeping up with the dust and clutter surprises me. Admittedly, I’m not in the lifestyle and tend to focus on the sexual aspects of a D/s relationship. Yet it also makes me wonder if I could ever meet someone who’d make me want to have a floor clean enough to eat off.




The experts suggest that a man doing the housework gets more sex because his wife feels how much he appreciated her. Another study suggests that couples who spend more time on housework have more sex, regardless of who is cleaning. Do you find housework or the lack thereof affecting your sex life?



Even in vanilla role play, the naughty French Maid appears. An online search for feather dusters brought up a store link, and below the duster photo were suggestions of what you might also need. The Shock Therapy Electro Sex Kit sounds like exactly what I’d need to be willing to don a frilly apron and pull out the vacuum before sex!

With the holidays approaching and gift buying/making taking up more of our time, maybe we should look at what the subs seem to understand. A clean house is a dirty house! Instead of buying your partner another tie or sexy negligee, look into a gift certificate for a house cleaning service. Or make a personalized coupon book to include a week without chores, or a dishwashing-free night. Statistics say your sex-life will thank you.

You're welcome.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Fetish Friday: Liberate Me!

Okay, confession time about a personal would-be fetish of my own. Style be damned, I want to furnish my entire bedroom in Liberator Shapes. This will never happen, of course, in part because I have inquisitive children and it’s hard enough to keep them from playing with my yoga ball. It is all too easy to picture walking into my living room and seeing the kids using the sex ramps to make a fort! 

But practicality (and expense) aside, what is not to love about these things? I mean just look at them:


They come in a variety of colors. 


They come in all sorts of interesting shapes...  


and sizes. 


There are even some sneaky options, like shapes that fold into different combinations (that nifty red ramp pictured at the very top is called the “Flip Ramp,” and it folds into a cube the size of an ottoman - and you can even get a faux leather slip cover to disguise it further…if I ever were to get a Liberator shape, that would probably be the one). 

But perhaps the best thing about Liberator shapes is that they come with a full range designed to facilitate the kinky stuff - Black Label!

Yay! Kink is fun!

Oh my gosh! Just look how happy and cheerful these people are! You can tell they are absolutely thrilled that their sex ramps come with all those convenient attachment points! The cuffs are sold separately, I believe (the cuffs come in various fun colors, too). And also the flogger (anybody else notice that she doesn’t seem to have left any marks at all on that ass? No wonder he’s still smiling. She needs to get to work). 

Sadly, there is no Black Label version of the Flip Ramp, but most of the other shapes do come in both Vanilla and Kink flavors. And you can buy conversion kits to put Black Label covers on previously purchased shapes. Those folks just think of everything. 

And this is nice: Special pricing for military families (you could use your shapes to build a fort while living at a fort, perhaps). I sort of love this.

But wait, there’s more! Lest you think your imagination unequal to the challenges presented by these foam-filled wonder-platforms of love, the thoughtful people at the Liberator company have created a whole series of instructional videos. Okay, some are instructional and some are just very informative free soft porn. But I think they all fall into the “educational” category. If by “educational” you mean “learning fun and interesting new sex positions that are available only to those with Liberator shapes!” Needless to say, all these videos are so very Not Safe For Work or Kids

Oh, Liberator shapes. How I wish I could afford you. But at least your website is extensive and entertaining. Sometimes, hilariously so! 

And yeah, if I did have these things, my husband and I would SO also build forts with them. How could we resist? I’m sure that’s really what George Clooney had in mind with his*.

He's thinking about how much this fort is gonna rock!
*Okay, I admit that although I haven’t seen Burn After Reading, I know just enough about it to know that the George Clooney character was only using that ramp for its intended purpose. Boo. Why not do BOTH? 

[all pictures are from the Liberator website, liberator.com, which assures us that the models are all over the age of 18. Except, of course, for the one of George Clooney from the movie Burn After Reading, by Working Title Films/Focus Features (2008). And we know he's over 18].


Thursday, December 2, 2010

Digital Reader Penetration Accelerates - Titles can make or break...

Digital Reader Penetration Accelerates

Interesting article about the growth of the digital market, but that was SO not where my mind went when I read the title. Am I the only one with a dirty mind here?  Probably not.

I happened to be cruising the Publisher's Weekly blog today and saw this article which was released on Monday and I'm really surprised I didn't see any commentary (snarky or otherwise) on some of the blogs I frequent. Now, I know this is an article from Publisher's Weekly so it's not likely to be about sex. But I tell ya, that's where my brain went, which shows just how vital an appropriate and catchy title can be.

The title of this article is certainly without peer because it's good and bad at the same time. But in a professional capacity, did they really want everyone to think about sex FIRST? I'm guessing no. Hell to the no!

So what makes a good title? Something that stays in your brain. That's important. And a word or phrase which is somewhat descriptive of the story. There's nothing worse than reading a story and getting to the end only to ask yourself what the heck the title had to do with the story. I hate those kinds of titles. When writing erotic romance, I've been told titles need to be kind of sexy. However, some titles that aren't explicitly sexy really do work well.

For example, Needing Harte and Commanding Acquisitions aren't overly sexual titles but damn, they are hot stories. They do fit what the stories are about - BDSM relationships with couples who are falling in love.  Great job at naming your stories ladies!

So... do you have any pet peeves about book titles? Any favorite titles? Just wondering how that digital reader penetration is going...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Commanding Acquistions - Trailer

It has been a few weeks since Commanding Acquisitions has come out, and so far the response has been very flattering. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on the story. Simon and Gavin pass along their thanks as well.

Since it's come out, I've moved on to writing another story, but the boys haven't been too far from my mind. In fact, I did up a book trailer for them!

Though not BDSM related, I thought I'd take a few minutes to talk about how I did the trailer. It was stupid easy to pull one together using a free program call Photostory 3. The program itself is for PC users only (sorry Mac folks!) and has royalty free music included for use. The only thing you need to get are royalty free images to incorporate.

I ended up using my cover and a few pictures from a site I signed up for. The end result took me about ten minutes to build and I'm pretty happy with it.

I hope you enjoy!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Scene Interrupted

Last Wednesday before going to bed to face what I knew to be a hectic Thanksgiving, I whispered into my husband’s ear a plan for Friday night. I had worked out a scene while baking pies, something new, something exciting, something that needed time to play out well. I whispered because we were still downstairs. I was heading to bed, but he stays up later and I couldn’t wait to share it with him. I also couldn’t let the kids hear what I was saying. Anyway, I knew he needed some fun to look forward to as we were having most of my family over, and they tend to rub him a little raw. Sex, or the promise of it, is always an excellent way to distract a man. Unfortunately, half way through dinner, my throat started hurting and by Friday, I was flat on my back with whatever virus had felled my children the week before. No play for us! I’m still kind of sniffling and coughing over my keyboard.

My husband always teases me about being a planner. In every aspect of our lives, I like to plot and plan for the next few days, weeks, months, years. It keeps me centered and focused, and I think this tendency serves me particularly well when it comes to sex. While vanilla sex can be done more spontaneously (and can be quite a treat after a long day), I’ve always believed that kink needs to be thought out. We need props and scenes and let’s face it, if we’re not careful, someone can get hurt or at least feel a little worse for the wear. What with careers and kids, time is at a premium anyway for most couples. I think the kinky couple has it that much harder. Is there a way to be both spontaneous and kinky? Maybe it’s me, the control freak planner, that has trouble just jumping in. I’d love to hear from others. I’d love to find a way to be more flexible. I’m just not sure it’s possible.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Whips: When a Whip Isn't Just a Whip

I am a big believer in motivation. We need it to embrace change, always a difficult struggle. A whip is quite a motivating force, and the universe knows I need as many motivating forces in my life as I can get. Although I'll pass on being on the receiving end of this one. But lucky woman I am, I received a lovely single-tail whip as a gift for publishing my first story, Bound Odyssey, last fall. I found it wrapped around a vase of flowers. So romantic. What I haven't received since then is the training to use it, and it would be irresponsible to try that puppy out without learning. Truthfully, dropping in on a seminar is not in my immediate plans. But that doesn't mean the whip has no role to play.

Never underestimate the use of a prop, either in a story or in a real life scene. My whip is useful for many purposes. If I did go ahead and learn basics, the sound itself, the crack of the tail, would elicit fear and excitement on its own. The visual cue of it, the sleek sinuous braid, instills tension. All of this is predicated on the activity of the most important sexual organ humans possess. The brain. The meaning of the whip is as important as its bite. A well crafted script about what I might do with the instrument could achieve a satisfying effect. Although I could just use the grip as a gag with a sub biting down on the leather. I don't need much expertise for that.

As writers we are experts at using props. Since the real item is never present in a reader's living room where she's curled up with a book, the description of naughty play items is always an erotic tease of the mind. That's one of the roles erotic romance plays altogether, to tease the mind and all of those attached parts.

So what's the most creative prop you've used or read about or wrote about in a sexy scene? Real life or fiction. Hey, it doesn't even have to be in a kinky situation, although that's good too. Did it motivate the characters? Is using a prop sometimes even preferable to a physical experience? I'd like to say yes. What do you think?

Michelle

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Praises to my Critique Partner

Me & Paris at RT 2010
And now for something completely different....

I can't let this day pass without bowing down in praise to my critique partner, Paris Brandon. She has a new EC release, Cross My Heart, coming out on December 17 - check it out. I have to tell you, this tiny little lady packs a hell of a wallup and she writes good too.

 So when I finished Controlling Interest, my story for the 1-800-DOM-help series it was almost 5000 words too long. My friends, that's a LOT of words. I went to Paris and screamed...HELP! She answered as only a true friend and excellent crit partner can. She told me to calm down and put my butt in the chair cause we could do this. Thank you friend! I needed that. Then she read through the story and took out her red pencil (actually her highlight to red ink thing - we were working on the computer after all). Then she helped me find characters I could take out or minimize. Unnecessary words. Entire scenes I could remove.

Last night I finished going through her edits and got the length right. Today I sent it off to my editor along with my revised synopsis. I could NEVER have managed this without your help, Paris. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Writers, if you don't have a tough little Italian woman to kick your ass, I pity you. And I encourage you to FIND ONE! They are worth their weight in gold. Hell, their worth MY weight in gold (since she's kinda tiny).  Love ya lady!

So, please... If you want to praise your crit partner in the comments today, please do. They deserve it. They also deserve chocolate. LOTS of chocolate. Grin...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ethical Paradigms In The BDSM Community: Safe, Sane Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

Guest post By Deborah Isadora Wade, MSW

We are delighted to have Deborah Isadora Wade, MSW here with us at 1-800-Dom-help!
Deborah Isadora Wade is a fiery, flawed and fabulous femme. She has been part of the Leather community for over ten years. A proud member of Alameda County Leather Corps, she is Ms. Alameda County Leather 2009. For two years she was Secretary of The Exiles: San Francisco. She is a member Mama’s Family as Mama’s Dragondancer. Retiring from social work in 1999, she was a college instructor at the University of Minnesota and The Women's Theological Institute. She was awarded a National Community Service Medal, presented by Eli Wiesel and President Clinton, for her work in building collaborations and her 30 years of work with homeless families, domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. She was a columnist for Lavender Press (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Of A Like Mind. She is Co-Author of Partners in Change: Building Collaboration, a book on moving organizations from networking to full collaborative ventures. Deborah infrequently (related to her elder status and semi-retirement) writes for Leatherati. Deborah loves anything that sparkles, social gatherings, dancing, and organizing. She may have a wee shoe fetish, umm collection.

Today she is sharing the differences between SSC and RACK.



SSC: Safe Sane Consensual
When I entered the BDSM community over ten years ago, the community had been working a long time to bring ethical behavior into its paradigm. I was taught the mantra, “Safe, Sane, and Consensual”, the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” of the BDSM community. According to David Stein, who developed the phrase, SSC was intended to be a minimum standard for ethical BDSM. It was meant to establish a distinction between play and the perception of sadomasochism as an abusive behavior.

Safe
Safe meant I took care not to harm anyone, to not spread sexually transmitted diseases and to educate myself on both techniques and personal growth. What areas on the body can be hit without harming someone? How do I keep someone’s mental and physical self safe? How do I provide care after play? Safe words and signals were developed. I was taught the basic safety of “Yellow” meaning slow down or pause and “Red” meaning stop that activity or scene. Learning about safe applications of toys is vital for keeping me and my play partner(s) emotionally, physically and mentally protected.

Sane
Trust is a vital principle when it comes to letting someone hurt me because I like it, or to submit to me by exchanging a power dynamic. Sane is about self control. Sane is about self knowledge. It is about never losing awareness of yourself, your body and your stability. It is more than just trusting your Dominant or submissive (D/s); it is about trusting yourself, knowing your limits and boundaries. Sane is about boundaries. Sane is realizing what your needs are, what your rules are, what your “no’s” are and where you draw your personal line in the sand. Sane also respects consent.

Consensual
The move to consent happens when individuals want to play together in certain ways, within set parameters and with agreed upon toys. Both SSC and RACK have consent as their foundation. I negotiate a lot when I consent to play or dominate someone. “Are you interested in playing with me?” when asked politely may be respectfully answered with a “Yes” or “Let’s talk” or a “No, I am really not here to play tonight.” Whatever my answer, it is valued. I need to hear out loud that “Yes, you may (fill in the blank).” Consent for D/s may be in the form of service or play. Consent for some is Master/slave (M/s) and the person chooses to be owned. Consent is because you want to play; you want to be tied up, teased with a feather or a flogger and brought to sexual fulfillment. Consent means knowledge. Consent means approval. Consent means permission to play with me within these limits and boundaries we have agreed upon.


RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink

Safe, Sane and Consensual worked. As in all communities, we evaluated and looked at our own behavior and practices to develop a more comprehensive and realistic paradigm for ourselves. I don’t see SSC and RACK as a contrast but more as a deepening of the understanding and importance of our play. Some see RACK beliefs as closer to their practices and more realistic. Nothing is truly safe and the risk is an essential part of the buzz. Risk is lowered by skill development but it is still risk. So in 1999, Gary Switch proposed the term RACK.

Risk Aware
Nothing can be 100% safe. We do not have a robot following us around, waving his arms spouting, “Danger, Will Robinson.” Risk aware means everyone involved is aware of the threat or hazards that may occur. Everyone plays differently. Each of us has our limits and consideration of where the “edge” of our particular play cliff is located. There is no safe or not safe there are only degrees of each. Accidents happen. Needles break. Floggers slip in your hand. Earthquakes shake your bondage bed. Your mother comes to visit and you need to hide the eyehooks. It is all about being risk aware.

Consensual
Consensual encompasses all of the same parameters as the SSC paradigm but with RACK the ethical paradigm consents to and acknowledges the risk inherent in some play.

Kink
I see kink as the overall term for alternative sex in our community. It means twisted for a reason. Kink is living my most deviant and bizarre needs out in a sexual or non-sexual manner. Kink is the overall word I use in community to describe general preferences. If I am kinky, I probably like more than just missionary position in my sexual life. If I am kinky I may like sex in places I might get caught because it heightens the endorphins and makes me wet. If I am kinky I may like to kiss one person while another is at my feet kissing my toes. If I am kinky I may be pushing someone against a wall, tearing off their clothes and running a whip across their shoulders. All are alternative sexual experiences that some see as abnormal or beyond the standard of sexuality as they know it. Kink includes BDSM. Or BDSM includes kink.

So RACK becomes a more realistic expression of being safely aware of my ability to practice self control and consent. We expand our beliefs to realize that all forms of pleasure need ethical paradigms to keep us healthy and from harm. Either way it is more inclusive of all the forms of delightful unexpected sweet release!

Websites to explore for more information:

  • SOJ is a not-for-profit, all volunteer, San Francisco-based education and support organization devoted to the art of safe, consensual and non-exploitative BDSM.
  • Leatherati explores the unique lifestyle of contests and titleholders, travel and events, dining and drinking, entertainment and shopping and of course, news and opinions around the Leather (mostly GLBTQI) community.
  • Informed Consent is the leading website about BDSM in the UK.
  • Black Rose is a support, education, and social group for adults who share these interests.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fetish Friday: Storing the Things that Make us Sweat

With talk of fetishes comes talk of objects, and while your fetish may be for some commonplace item that doesn’t require hiding, you can probably still appreciate the fear of something like this happening: 




Oh, toys. Toys, toys, toys! They are so much fun, and I have spent way too much money on them in the past few years (research, of course!). But once you start adding several different types of toy, multiple flavors of lube, and big coils of rope to the mix, things get a little hard to store. Whether it’s latex garb, whips-n-cuffs, your favorite dildo or that costly e-stim kit, it all takes up space and most of us do not have the luxury of dedicated secure playrooms in our homes. We need storage that gets our sexytime accessories out of the way in a discreet, convenient way so that it is accessible to us but hidden from view - and specifically, for some of us, hidden from the children. Because if there’s one thing I do not want, it’s my six-year-old locating a few of my favorite things and asking me to explain them. Or a relative mistaking any of them for a flashlight if the lights go out at a dinner party. And then asking me to explain them.
Contents: Classified
So I have come up with some practical solutions. A very boring “decorative” miniature wooden trunk that sits on my dresser, filled with little silk bags and other wrappings I’ve acquired to keep all my precious investments safe from dust and the casual glance. It even has a cute little hasp so I can lock it if I feel the need. Oh, and there’s also a box of rope lengths, hiding in plain sight in my closet among the boots (what…doesn’t everybody keep 100-plus feet of nicely conditioned hemp rope in the master bedroom closet?). 
One of these things is not like the others

But there is also my fantasy set of potential solutions, the ones I would adopt if my budget were just a wee bit larger. And it is these solutions I want to discuss today. Solutions that were designed specifically for this purpose. 
As you probably know if you have any number of sex-related toys at all, there are some concerns with storing this kind of gear. The environment must be clean, dry and lint-free. Washability is a big plus, cleanability is a must. And ideally each toy must have its own compartment or wrapper - in particular, silicon toys must not be stored in contact with other silicon toys or substances, or the toys can “melt” or degrade. This is not only an aesthetic concern but a safety issue as well, so it is very important to be able to sequester each toy in whatever storage arrangement you use. And it’s nice to have room for toys plus lube, cleaners, and all the other accessories you may have accumulated, so it’s all in one handy place.
Tunti Illuminating Budoir Toybox
If money isn’t an object, there are some great hard-sided lockable cases on the market with adjustable compartments, designed specifically for sex toys. The Tunti Illuminating Budoir Toybox is a nice example. A case like this is discreet - it looks like a camera case or similar - and allows you to store a wide variety of toys in clean, adjustable compartments. It has a shield to protect (potentially) wet contents like lube from spilling on other contents. Tunti’s box is also illuminated when open, a very nice touch for when you’re working in low-light environments. No fear of grabbing the wrong flogger if you’re storing the playthings in one of these! 
Not flashy, but functional & cost-effective
If your needs aren’t quite as extensive, however, there are also a lot of smaller lockable cases out there with varying degrees of adjustability; check out Fruits of Eden for some nice cases in various colors at many different price points. Or go hunting for a hard-sided camera case with adaptable foam dividers. 
Sneaky! I like it! 
If locking isn’t as great a concern as hiding, and portability isn't an issue, one of the most clever ideas out there for a reasonably low cost is the Sneaky Sack. This bag is sneaky indeed - you hang it on a clothes hanger and then hang a shirt or jacket over it, hiding it effectively from all but the most sophisticated seekers. The Sneaky Sack has three large pockets but no other internal compartments, so you may still need to consider some individual bags to separate and organize your toys inside it. Sugar Saks are simple, attractive and pre-treated with an antimicrobial process. Zomi bags (by the Liberator company, about which I hope to blog at length another day) are sturdy, waterproof, zippered and available in a wide variety of colors. These are also great options for travel, or for storing things in a dresser or nightstand drawer.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly way to separate individual toys, of course, you can easily find small zippered makeup bags or - my personal favorite - drawstring fabric gift bags. If you opt for an organza or mesh style, do try to find bags with a fairly tightly woven mesh, nothing that might allow silicon objects to melt each other if the bags are adjacent.  
For some, of course, inquisitive little kid fingers and eyes aren’t the big concern for toy storage - it’s a question of general discretion, not the threat of active prying. Sportsheets (another company that is a blog topic unto itself!) still makes their Hide Your Vibe pillow, which may not hold your entire toy kit but can let you keep a few high-priority items close at hand. One downside to this pillow is that the color choices are limited - and not subtle. You will likely need to find another cover if you want to match your decor, unless your decor involves animal prints or the color pink.  
Not that roomy, but damn it's classy
A fairly new product that is possibly the classiest, most discreet thing I’ve ever seen in the way of sex toy storage is the Toitissue, a sleek wooden box with an inch of camouflaging facial tissue storage in the top and a secret sliding drawer beneath for your toys. Or your stash. Or your cashmere sock full of money. It even has a secret lock! There’s also the standard Toibocks, the company’s original toy storage product, which masquerades as a jewelry box; however, the illusion is not quite as strong as with the tissue dispenser.
I’m sure there are other marvelous options out there, and I would love to hear about them! How do you keep your private playthings private?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Toys: The Birth of Erotic Flogging

I never would have imagined it, but erotic flogging has been documented in the sixth century, B.C., thanks to this painting in the Tomba della Fustigazione in Tarquinia, Italy. Those Etruscans new how to party, didn't they? While time as ruined the "good parts" of the painting, the official description says the woman, in the center, is bent over holding the hips of one man, whose hand is raised to spank her, while a younger man is behind her with one hand on her ass and a switch or cane raised for action.

It reminds me of those days when we were young and first discovering sex. We were certain our parents didn't know about oral sex, much less any rough play like spanking. One description of the Tomba della Fustigazione mentions other paintings depicting musicians, drinking and dancing. And then we have this menage a trois. The mind begins to wander...

The next time you and your partner pick up a flogger or cane, pause for a moment and thank Dionysus/Bacchus for giving us wine and song and some good old BDSM.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Kinky Parent

One of the pleasures of having children is seeing them discover and enjoy things that you already like. It is a powerful form of parent-child bonding. It can be something as simple as coming home and finding your kids watching Monty Python. They’re laughing at the same skits you laughed at when you were young. This happened to me just the other day. The skit was not one I remembered seeing, actually. I think they must have been carefully selected by the U.S. back in the day. The skit involved a blackmail show. Typical Python stuff – they showed a clip of someone up to no good until that someone called and promised to pay. One video showed a proper man going to a woman’s home and the studio phone rang, ending the clip, just as you see the man kneeling and the woman taking up a flogger. Such fun to see people aware of my kink so long ago.

Really, though, what this post is all about is something my oldest child shares with me besides a sense of humor. My daughter is nearly eighteen and she just came out to me not only as a lesbian (which I suspected anyway), but as a Domme, as well. This bit of news blew me away. My husband and I have been very careful to hide our kink from the kids, although we’ve been open about how I’m the boss. When she confessed her bdsm inclinations, I actually got a little weepy. This is nature at work. How else to explain it? And unlike me, she has someone to come to and help guide her through the lifestyle, and tell her that she is okay.

She and I have always been close, but this brings us together at a whole new level. I love it!

Samantha, the proud mom.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

WINNER!

Announcing the winner of the Tote Full of Naughty contest:



Natasha A.



Congratulations Natasha! I'll email you for your contact information to receive the tote.



And thank you everyone for playing. We got a lot of great entries and I hope everyone enjoyed scanning through our websites to learn a little bit about us. We're thrilled to have you here and hope you enjoy our series.





Michelle

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Quick ABCs of BDSM

I can’t remember what it was that first lured me into the world of BDSM. Five years ago I barely even knew it existed. And now? I find it dominates (pardon the pun) both my reading and writing. I think what turned me onto it was reading a beautifully erotic love story in which the lifestyle was the main focus. All I know is I became totally fascinated with it, wanted to write about, but realized how little I knew about it. And as I read email from my readers and talk to people, I realize so many people don’t really understand what it’s all about.
So what is it, really? Good question! It can mean bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D/s), or sadomasochism (S&M) There are more definitions for each of those words than Baskin-Robbins has flavors. In fact, there are as many meanings as there are people trying to tell you what it all means.
Despite a common misunderstanding, this alternate form of sexuality has nothing to do with destructive behavior. A 'D' (dominant, top, sadist, master/mistress) person simply wants to dominate in sex while the "s" (submissive, bottom, masochist, slave) person often wants to be stripped of any initiative. You can be both, or either, switching roles as part of your play or swapping 'sides' over time.
But most commonly it means sex involving Dominance and submission. And the D is always capitalized. Activities range from spanking to bondage to tickling to "flogging" or whipping. The people involved set their own limits. The three most common words are safe, sane and consensual.
But the most important element is trust. Openness and trust, meaning communication, are absolute musts in a BDSM relationship. Bondage covers everything from soft silk scarves in bed to chains. Spanking and whipping are just as common but the degree to which these activities is carried out varies greatly. The imagination and feelings of the partners before and after the punishment are just as important as the spanking or whipping itself.
Experimentation allows each partner to discover the most arousing edge of pleasure/pain. For the submissive acceptance of the D is a sign of absolute faith in that person and it is the very foundation of affection, intimacy and passion. Openness and trust clear the ground for activating your fantasies. This in turn heightens intimacy, passion and ecstasy. The submissive always has a safe word, and when the Dom or Domme pushes the limits beyond that the safe word is a big red light.
A very important aspect of "after-play", which many people don’t realize, is aftercare. Emotions run wild for both partners and that is the time to solidify the trust. It’s a good time for mutual holding and soothing. I can’t stress enough how important talk and communication is, but allow some time to pass for emotions to settle.
So whether you read about it, play at it or adopt the full lifestyle, one last reminder here. The four most important words are trust, safe, sane and consensual. Remember that and you will find pleasure in a brand new erotic world.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Commanding Acquisitions

*does a snoopy dance around the room*

It's out!! I am super excited to let everyone know that Commanding Acquisitions, the second book in the 1-800-DOM-help series is now available from Ellora's Cave.

When we started talking about the series, a lot of ideas were bounced around. At the time, I was working at a conference for my day job, and as we chatted the idea for Commanding Acquisitions popped into my head. I wrote the synopsis on my BlackBerry in between conference sessions and then tore back to my hotel room to get started.

The end result is a story I'm very happy to call my own. :)

I thought I would share with you today our new group prologue, and a short excerpt from Commanding Acquisitions. I hope you enjoy!

The Magic

The magic begins with the appearance of the business card. Sleek black print on a pristine white background—unassuming in its appearance. Those brave enough to call the number will begin a journey that will explore their greatest desires.

Once the call is made, the Operator goes to work. Somehow he knows just what every caller needs, always able to find the answer the caller seeks.

Callers may be directed to Unfettered, a new club in town, one nobody has heard of. It provides a safe haven for all who enter. Members are free to explore their every desire...even those they weren't aware of. Little do they know Unfettered will disappear once those yearnings have eased.

Submissives who don't know how to handle their Dominants. Masters looking for the perfect sub. People who need just a little push to admit vanilla isn't their favorite flavor. The card finds them all.

And once you dial 1-800-DOM-help anything can happen.


Commanding Acquisitions

Simon cocked his head to the side, looking at the man kneeling by his chair out of the corner of his eye. He hadn’t moved. The drink was still being offered, though Simon could see the slight shake in his arms. With a bored sigh, he reached out and took the tumbler.

The familiar, pleasant burn of the scotch made its way down his throat. Damn, that was good. He took another sip and held his glass out. The sub reached for it, taking it neatly from him.

A loud crack was followed by a sob. “One. Thank you, Mistress.”

Simon reached out and took the glass again. He ignored the tiny rush of electricity when his fingers brushed against the sub’s. Fuck, he hadn’t even looked at the man yet and Simon was ready to tie him up.

“Two. Thank you, Mistress.”

He knew he wouldn’t be able to put things off too long. If Simon wasn’t going to play with the boy, then he needed to cut him loose sooner rather than later. It wouldn’t be fair to waste the poor guy’s whole evening.

Crack. “Three. Thank you, Mistress.” Gasp.

“I bet his ass is red now.” Simon said softly. It could be brushed off as him speaking to himself, but he knew the man at his feet would hang on every word.

“Five. Thank you, Mistress.”

“I bet the welts are nice and white. He won’t be able to sit down for hours.” Simon sipped his drink. “I wonder if she’ll fuck him or if she’ll leave him to suffer.”

“Seven. Thank you, Mistress.”

Not wanting to wait any longer, Simon looked over at the man at his feet.

He didn’t appear to be much younger than Simon. He was shirtless, wearing leather pants and his feet were bare. Brown hair fell forward to cover his eyes, which Simon inexplicably wanted to know the color of. His long, lean arms were now resting at his sides, knuckles pressed to the floor. God, he looked like a swimmer or runner. Someone who took the time to exercise and look after himself.

In short, he was gorgeous.

“Nine. Thank you, Mistress.”

The sub at his feet was breathing a bit harder now. Simon liked that he was affected by the scene going on. Not that they would be able to do something like that now—not without setting limits at least.

“Think he’s going to make it? She’s been going pretty rough on him. Answer me.”

“Yes Sir. He will.”