Living in a post 50 Shades world

50ShadesofGreyCoverArtIn 2011, three unassuming fan fiction books were published, and before long the world had collectively lost its mind.

 

By 2012, over 20 million copies of the books had been sold and the mainstream world was suddenly aware of kink in a brand new way.  BDSM was being discussed and debated on every morning show and in every late night monologue.  Kink had become part of the mainstream cultural vernacular in a way that couldn’t be ignored.

At that point I had been a professional dominatrix for more than 10 years, based in Boston, a city that was culturally buttoned up, yet harbored a large underground population of kinksters. Though I was mostly retired (to focus on my educational project KinkAcademy.com), I still had a strong affiliation with professional domination; it has loomed large as part of my personal identity.

In my pre-50-shades life,  when I would attend a party or BBQ, and the conversation would inevitably turn to “what do you do for a living,” I would respond with “I’m a kink educator and professional dominatrix!”  No matter how much the conversation had been humming along up until that point, no matter how tittilated the more vanilla folks at the party would be (and truth be told: the more vanilla they were, the more tittilated they would be), they would quickly find an excuse to turn away from the conversation. At least that was before the kinky books that rocked the world showed up on the scene.

But oh, how living in a post-50 Shades world has altered this exchange. As someone who’s life included “full immersion perversion” (aka my career was centered around BDSM and so were my personal relationships), I’m in a position to have to talk about kink much more than the average private player. But now when I share my career history (I’ve been retired for nearly 5 years), instead of dismay and confusion, I’m met with enthusiasm.  Inevitably someone invokes Christian and Anastasia…

“Oh! You mean like in 50 Shades of Grey?”

“Are those books.. you know.. Real?”

“You must like…. What did you think of…. Was your experience just like…”

This now universal response brings up mixed feelings for me. These books caused quite an uproar in the kinky community, with bloggers denouncing it as dangerous and the worst thing to happen to BDSM since Paddleboro. Kinksters I know would huff and puff when the books would come up at events, and the eye-rolls couldn’t get any harder. The BDSM Community as a whole were at best unimpressed with all the “lookie-loos” the books were bringing to local dungeons and kinky events.

But from the get-go, I couldn’t help but see the benefit to these books.

There are plenty of kinksters who have a distinct interest in keeping the BDSM world on the edge of society; they prefer it to retain its underground, ‘dangerous’ vibe. These kinksters are most attracted to the taboo aspect of kink, the deviance of being a “pervert” in the more traditional sense of the word. Frankly they’re pissed that mainstream culture is intruding on their private playspace.

But there are also many who, like me, see how kink being more understood in the mainstream world could create a lot of positives. For example, there are too many people deep in custody battles, where kinky activity is used to discredit one of the parents.  There are those who suffer from intense fear that accompanies the risk of being outed as a leather-lover.  The fact that a good number of people no longer have to hide their head in shame and fear, or suffer the consequences of ignorance, is a good thing for which – I have to say it – we can thank the 50-shades phenomenon.

In 2016, we live in a Post-50-Shades world. I for one am grateful we do.

Now that I’m moving more into the mainstream world, and expanding my speaking career, it’s become an especially big help for your average citizen to have some kind of a reference point for my past, even if that reference requires a bit of.. unpacking. When the book is brought up, it gives me an opportunity to share a more well-informed perspective. I point out that the books are intended as erotica, similarly to long-published Harlequin novels. That a Harlequin romance with a storyline about pirates and sailing the open seas is just as useful as a how-to guide for taking the helm of a galleon as 50 Shades is an instruction manual for kink.

In fact, my first large mainstream event presentation was at SXSW 2013 titled “The 50 Shades Phenomenon;”  it was well attended and well received. This was the largest opportunity I had to talk to an audience that wasn’t intrinsically kink-focused, and start to share what the BDSM world has taught me outside of the bedroom.

I’ve learned about setting and enforcing personal boundaries, both emotional and physical, and my communication skills in general have skyrocketed. I’ve learned to tap into confidence and inner power in order to achieve what I want in life. It’s helped me be more self-aware and more disciplined. And it’s allowed me to have incredibly creative relationships and experiences.

Since I’ve been retired from the professional world for the last five years, my ability to branch out has expanded tremendously and I can’t help but credit the Fifty Shades series with helping to make that possible.

So while the obsession with the series itself has died down temporarily, the conversation about BDSM have changed forever. And I have no doubt that as the second and third movies are released there will be even more opportunities to educate the public about how awesome kink is, which can only lead to more public understanding, which likely leads to a safer world for the kink-identified, and ultimately for all manner of sexual identity & expression.

 

*Vanilla is a term some kinksters use to describe non-kinky people. It’s used in the same context as ‘muggle’ for Harry Potter fans, or civilians for military enthusiasts.

6 Steps to a More Fulfilling Sex Life

blindfold couple 1 smallThese ideas are meant to be simple(ish) and free (of financial need). But that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy or that it isn’t going to take any investment. It will be an investment of time, and you may find that doing the simplest thing may be more difficult that you first imagined. But the rewards of your effort will be gratifying both physically and emotionally as you discover more pleasure than you may have thought you could experience.

  1. Evaluate Your Needs Honestly – It’s practically impossible to get what you want if you don’t even know what you want. So taking the time to really sit down with yourself (and/or your partner) and exploring what your desires and needs are will be the first step to finding more satisfaction and getting more pleasure out of your sexual life. Write out your needs, don’t just list them in your head. Seeing the words on paper makes them more real and more realistic to go after.
  1. Fine Tune Your Communication – You may already be able to talk about some of your sexual needs, or perhaps neither of you ever talk about it at all, but either way, whatever you’re doing now isn’t working for you. So rather than just telling you to communicate, I’m suggesting that you innovate the way you communicate. Find new and alternative ways to express your needs that will inspire deeper revelations about yourself. Use emails, or a notebook as a way to communicate without being face to face
  1. Stay Connected – Finding ways to stay connected sexually during life’s busy schedule is super important. Not just chatting about what you did that day, or complaining about some annoying co-worker, but connecting on a specifically sexual level. Inspiring sensuality in yourself and in your partner is one of the best ways to turn around a bad day or make a good day even better! Use physical touch, take a few minutes to make out in the middle of the day, or even squeeze in a quickie!
  1. Structure Adds Spontaneity – With the way that modern life is set up we are faced with a sad conundrum. Do we “schedule” our sex lives until it becomes just another task on our to-do lists? Or do we wait for “passion” to strike and discover that at 1am when you both fall into bed there just isn’t any more energy to make that sexual spark actually happen. I say that there is a happy medium that can set you up for successful sexual adventures both with respect to busy schedules and the needs for spontaneity. Commit to at least one night a week for a date night (or even once a month) or have a ‘Sexy Sunday’ to explore your dominant and submissive selves.
  1. Explore New Activities – We all have a list of long-time favorites, but it’s a good way to keep things fresh by finding other activities you might enjoy together. Take it one at a time so neither of you feels overwhelmed and you can each see exactly how you feel about the new activity before adding it to your repertoire. Perhaps you might incorporate more verbal play than usual, or during a bondage session give role-play a try.
  1. Commit to Improving Your Sexual Well-Being – Just like creating any new habit, you have to make the commitment to yourself (and your partner) to follow through on your sexual adventure. That you won’t get down on yourself when you aren’t a ‘perfect lover’ but that you continue to try your best every day. Know that with a healthy sexual identity, confidence and happiness in other aspects of your life will improve as well.

The progression of a professional pervert….

rocks in water smallI’ve always been rather sexually adventurous, so when many people ask me out I got into this profession I explain that it was a rather simple stepping stone process.

I remember when I first started stripping and I found it to be empowering rather than degrading. My self-confidence grew, my assertiveness grew stronger and I found myself more *in* my body than ever before.

When I got into Professional Domination I was 22 and thought it was a blast. It was a way to express my “mean streak” safely and consensually AND get paid for it! Voila! The perfect job. I used to call myself “kinky for cash” because even though I was really good at Domination I still didn’t think (or admit) that I actually was really in to it. All of my sessions, from the very beginning came from a place of authenticity, so when I say kinky for cash I don’t mean to say that I wasn’t genuinely enthusiastic. But I saw it as more of a fun game and a way to earn a good living rather than anything else.

I remember the first time I thought to myself, “Wow, I really am a pervert”. I was in the passenger side seat of a friends car, and looking out the window I saw a women in professional attire including long crease pants, striding down the street. She looked strong and determined which is a look and attitude I’ve always appreciated in women. But then I saw a flash of her high heel as she took a step and the lengthy pants rose up to reveal just a glimpse of the stiletto. I was instantly horny. Which frankly, took me by surprise. That’s when I realized that it was not just a ‘fun job for awhile’ it was something I was really interested in and enjoyed.

Right now I call myself the “theoretical pervert” because I’m working so hard trying to help others explore their kink I don’t have the time or energy to express mine. But that’s something I’m willing to sacrifice for awhile to reach my goals. I can remember being 22 years old and standing on the sidewalk after a session, talking to my mother saying “Mom, it’s not like I’m going to do this forever” and now, 10+ years later, which certainly isn’t forever but it is a damn long time! I have found that sexuality, and most specifically kinky sexuality is a calling for me. Being an educator, being a Pro Domme, being a kinky coach… I’ve had the opportunity to help guide and inspire kinky development and I am completely honored by that.

“Why Kink?”

Girl with magnifying glass“Why Kink?”

I hear this question from a wide variety of people. After we’ve discussed what I do for a living, there is an inevitable pause, and the “But why would someone want to be kinky?”

There are so many answers to that question that I thought it would be perfect to list a bunch of possible answers. These will be written from my perspective but I hope that readers will join in to share their experiences and opinions.

Why Kink?
It breaks up the monotony of life and of sexual experiences. It allows you to be sexually creative in a life affirming way with yourself or with your partner.

Why Kink?
It’s an effective and fun way to create opportunities for intimacy. To build trust together, and in each other. To create a world just for yourselves.

Why Kink?
It’s incredibly versatile! There are so many activities, and ways to structure your relationship, and levels you can play at that it becomes a Rubik’s cube of sexy possibilities! Find the formula that works for you!

Why Kink?
We experience all kinds of intense sensations and emotional situations through-out our life. There are times when we feel out of control. Through the consensual dynamic of Dominance and submission we can make choices and create boundaries about what kind of power we want to give up, or feel in control of. We can make a decision about what sensations our bodies will feel as traditional or un-traditional as our desires might be.

Why Kink?
It’s fun! As we get older it’s easy to lose our sense of play and kinky sex (or what I sometimes call “theatre of the libido”) can re-ignite our sense of fun in a very adult way. It’s entertaining to role-play & get outside of ourselves in some way. Wearing sexy clothes, using interesting sexual toys and while being able to laugh together is something all adults might benefit from.

Why Kink?
For many people kinky sex is the only sex they enjoy. Whether it’s a fetish for feet or a desire to be tied up, or the powerful rush of being Dominant with a consenting, submitting partner. I believe that “kink” can be a sexual orientation the same as straight or gay or bisexual. For those that identify as kinky, and have known/felt kinky their whole lives.

Why Kink?
In many ways kink can be taboo, and it’s human nature to want to explore the taboo. It’s like eating a cookie out of a forbidden cookie jar.
So these are just some of the reasons that came to my mind. What’s your answer to “Why do people enjoy kink?”

Fess’ Up When You Fuck Up

Frustrated and angry woman screamingLast year I was too attached to the outcome of a scene/performance and I acted in a way that I’m not terribly proud of. Of course it’s difficult to admit to mistakes, especially when perfectionism is something of struggle, but I think it’s important to talk about times when things don’t go as planned. It’s the best way to make sure that unsafe behavior doesn’t happen again. It’s human to make mistakes, it’s enlightened to try and learn from them.

Going into Iron Slut (run by the oh so fabulous Reid Mihalko) I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting into. Most of the other people who had participated in it before that I knew were sex performers, while as I am someone who expresses sex through kink. I wanted to make sure that the audience understood (and would still be satisfied) even if I didn’t perform a radical sex act on stage.

Trying to think of a way to “wow” the crowd while respecting my own boundaries, I came up with the idea to use a newly acquired (well, still acquiring) skill of double single tail whips while popping a couple of balloons off a rubber banded dick. Like a kinky circus act. Fantastically fun idea, however it arrived a tad to late for me to actually practice before heading to the event.

I’m confident in my whipping skills, though the double aspect is rather new. I assumed that I would be able to figure it out on the spot (I tend to be fairly good at that).

However, the lack of preparation resulted in a less than desirable performance. Popping the balloons became my entire focus, rather than engaging the audience (who had paid to come to an educational experience). Then at the end, popping those balloons became paramount, even above safety. I was determined to pop that second balloon. My swings started to get wilder and with more force behind them. I did the exact thing that I always warn against in my classes, which is swing from the shoulder for the mere strength of it. Because when you do that, your aim suffers. The human person that I was playing with faded into the background of my mind, and my need to pop the balloon (and therefore complete the task I had set for my performance) was all that was in my focus. As a result, a few stray strikes hit his skin in places that I would usually go to great lengths to avoid.

I’m grateful that I was playing with a really wonderful bottom, someone I’ve known for almost a decade and who trusted my skills. I am grateful that he stood like a rock while I attacked that defiant balloon, and I’m grateful that the audience safeworded on me to help shake me out of the need of completion. I most especially grateful that he was not actually ‘hurt’ in any way due to my mistaken mindset.

I take the safety of the submissives that I play with very seriously. But I am human, and even though I’ve been doing this full time, for a very long time, I still make mistakes. Ultimately it was not an overly dangerous mistake and the lightly marked bottom felt entirely fine about it. But it was an important reminder for me not to EVER lose focus on the person that I’m playing with, even when there’s a performance aspect of it. And the lesson I hope to share, whether you act out your fantasies at public dungeons or in the privacy of your own homes. Dominants & Tops need to always be vigilant to be worthy of the trust that is placed in us. Don’t get so attached to the outcome of a scene that you lose track of the journey and of the safety of those that are a part of our fantasies and experiences.

Don’t judge a Book by it’s Cover

book burningThere have been many occasions that people have shown surprise when they find out I am a professional dominatrix.

“But you seem so nice!” they say, or “I couldn’t imagine you being that mean, you’re so happy.”

These statements always make me laugh, and gives me an opportunity to explain that there are many ways of doing this job, and that the most clichéd and often presented in the media isn’t the one that I subscribe to.

I enjoy the affection I feel for my clients and submissives. I don’t think that it makes me any less dominant, or professional. In fact, quite the opposite. The fact that I care so deeply about those that I play with is exactly what allows me to be so good at what I do. The emotions and sensations that are explored in domination sessions are incredibly intimate and intense. I want to create a space where the people I play with can feel free to let themselves go, and that requires trust. It’s hard to push real boundaries when there isn’t trust.

It’s hard to delve deeply into genuine submission when the person submitting doesn’t trust the person taking control.

It’s only on the surface that BDSM and kink activities may seem uncaring, or cruel. In nuanced hands, these physical and mental games take both players into themselves, and into the way they interact with the other.

Having concern for the others well being is a major factor in separating consensual behavior from abuse. I may be whipping my submissive into a frenzy, or engaging in extreme verbal embarrassment play, but that does NOT mean that I don’t care about the person being subjected to the experience.

One of my favorite things that people says about me when my work comes up, is that I seem like such a a “nice girl” and then they shakes their head in obvious confusion about why I have chosen this career and personal path. And my response is always the same. This is a way to be nice to certain people. To give them the opportunity to live their fantasies in a healthy and safe environment. To take “bad” actions, and turn them into “good” ones.