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Consent, Kink and Community

♦ I mentioned recently that I’d been to the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair and had a few qualms with the compering of the event. Now (especially as the compère himself left a comment and seems like a really nice guy), I don’t want to badmouth what must be a very hard job that I likely couldn’t do, but I want to set out what it was I had a problem with and why.

Because (although I didn’t like his style anyway) it isn’t about personal taste, though it may be about personal ethics. It’s about something which I feel has big implications for the kink community and the people, whether part of that community or not, who were there. And because, though not everyone may agree with me, hopefully raising these qualms might get people to examine these issues.

The compère had what seemed like a pretty tough job to get the crowd going (I myself am practically allergic to audience participation), but I wasn’t that impressed. I mentioned “cheap “saucy” humour, being patronising, and displaying a seeming ignorance of informed consent” in my earlier post and it seems I even cleverly put them in order of importance too!

Though I didn’t like the humour and tone, that’s just my taste. Just because I don’t really like the “Phwoar! I love a bit of cock!” sort of attitude to sex, doesn’t mean much (though I do wonder to what extent the “saucy postcard” mentality might hold back wider acceptance of sexuality, but that’s a topic for another time) and no-one need pander to me more than anyone else. I also personally don’t think than audience really needs to be told to applaud when a woman takes her clothes off. Isn’t that second nature? But again, it’s likely a rhetorical trick that just didn’t land well with me.

No, it’s the consent stuff that really bothers me.

The early parts involved saying hello to people you didn’t know next to you and paying them a forced compliment (already too un-British for me). The problems, though, started with getting everyone to stand up (I was hovering near the seating area at the time) and turn to face to their right. Then the compère instructed the audience to give the person in front of them a small spank. Now, from my poor vantage point (and the fact I was quite busy cringing), I couldn’t tell you how many people did this, but that’s not the point. Did anyone know what they were getting into when they stood up?

Look, I’m not trying to sound the prude here. Nothing wrong with spanking, nothing wrong with public spanking. I like both myself (and got a twinge just writing the latter). But none of these people consented (or rather communicated consent: for all I know they were fine with it, but consent has to be communicated somehow) to even being touched, let alone being spanked. As I said to Crush at the time, my response to the person behind me would have been “You fucking touch me…”.

Later (by this time my friends and I were at a table), we were told that each table should get someone up onto it on hands and knees. No-one at our table, even the hardened kinksters, were having any of it and it’s at least good to see that, general cajoling to everyone aside, when only about three tables produced participants, no issue was made of it. We were then told that the aim was to spank the volunteers as a table and whichever table produced the most moaning (oh, so hard to fake) would get a prize.  Again, none of the volunteers OR the people supposed to spank them knew this when they were called to be involved. Sure, I suspect no fuss would have been made of anyone backing out, but that’s not really how healthy consent works.

Now, this might not seem like a lot to get angry about, but consent is paramount in all things, especially in the realm of kink. And consent isn’t just volunteering. No. To be true consent, consent must be informed. To be good kink, kink must be negotiated. It doesn’t have to be long and involved and stuffy, but people (whether being done to or doing to or both) should know what they’re getting into, boundaries should be made clear and consent should be given enthusiastically with clear ways to withdraw that consent (such as safe words).

A hypothetical person in that line of unknowing spankees had no way in the circumstances to be informed, give enthusiastic consent to what could be a complete stranger, or indeed withdraw that consent in the time between the instruction and the incoming spank. Am I the only one that thinks this dodgy?

Not only this, but this was a mixed fetish and non-fetish event. They carefully made sure to split the fetish stalls off from the alternative/burlesque ones, so some concern for the muggles must have been in the planning somewhere. But there was no mention of any fetish play, no matter how light and innocent, in the programme of events as far as I saw. Surely it’s people’s right to decide what they see and don’t see?

What sort of message are we giving off to non-kinksters, who thanks to bad press and bad books might have a warped idea of BDSM anyway, of public play among complete strangers with no communication and no consent? These spaces are a perhaps rare opportunity for our kinky community to speak for itself to people who might otherwise not get to hear us (and to teach good kink practice), shouldn’t we be a little more careful about how we use that voice?

I’d certainly love to know your thoughts on this, kinky or not. ♦

Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair

♦ Last Saturday I, plus Crush and Alt, decided to pop over to Bristol (it’s been too long!) for the Heresy n Heelz Alternative and Burlesque Fair, which also covers fetish and steampunk stuffs. We found our way there, helped in part by my sense of direction, in part by big orange posters on the Bristol Bierkellar and in in part by the staff clearly knowing how to spot one of their own and waving us inside.

There was a bar in front of some seating and a main stage with fetish stalls on the far side of the stage and alternative/burlesque stalls on the near side. I liked that set-up as it meant people who came more for the vanilla side, didn’t have to see collars and cocks if they didn’t want to. I did want to, of course, but we decided to look at the closer stalls first.

There was a lot more variety than I expected: from top hats and dresses to jewellery and knick-knacks. One stall in particular, Madams Pinups, seemed made for me and I happily bought a sexy lady tie and a couple of art prints whilst only just managing not to pick up sexy dishcloths at the same time. Sexy dishcloths! I also bought gothic jewellery from The Dark Attic, a metallic papier maché skull from Jesta Streets and a lovely rockabilly dress.

I was of a mind to pick up a men’s shirt from Rafflesia Designs too. They had one with a lovely subtly-coloured sexy mermaid design, but I baulked at the absolutely extortionate price. Frankly, I just don’t care how much you try to tell me it’s handmade, I’m not paying £60 for one shirt. Such a shame.

My favourite stall of the day, though I didn’t buy anything from it because I’ve no idea where I’d wear it was Beautiful Brastards. Just look at how awesome this is:

Beautiful Brastards

I have to say that for me the fetish side of the stalls was a little personally disappointing. There was a flogger stall, but only one of the floggers interested me and in the end I decided I already have too many I don’t play with enough. One stall sold cheap little colourful candles for wax play, so I bought a blue one to try out. Another sold sex toys and the sorts of kink toys you can get on sex toy sites anyway. And for cheaper.

The only particular stalls of interest fetish-wise were one selling new violet wands, of which Alt bought one that I’m probably going to end up throttling him for (take note, police officers!), and a stall of various discounted kink things. I tried on one of those lovely metal ring collars there, but sadly it was a little too small to fit properly.

I go to fetish fairs not for Fetish Fantasy and LELO, but for handmade kink and small-business smut. It was just a bit lacking.

But the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair wasn’t just stalls, oh no. There were performances too. The two pole dancers were gravity-defying and the burlesque was, on the whole, splendid, if a little devoid of actual stripping. That’s not to say the dancers didn’t, to put it crudely, “get enough out”, but more that they generally started not wearing very much to begin with! I’m used to my burlesque routines going from full outfit to a breeze and a whisper rather than starting fairly skimpy in the first place.

Havana Hurricane’s act was good, but a little generic for my liking. I’m more easily impressed by burlesque with a strong theme, so the other two acts were amazing. First Lou Leigh Blue performed an act called Dystopia.

Lou Leigh Blue - Dystopia

Photo by Fenris Oswin.

You can’t see it here, but there’s a silver BAFTAs-like mask on the back of her head and she at first only “faces” the audience with this, making for a creepy eroticism. It was, in essence, a fan dance with billowing silver wings instead of fans, but I absolutely loved the classic sci-fi look and sound of the performance. Plus, sexy.

Then there was a performance from Angelique Dominique, whose routine looked like this:

Her sexy Blade Runner routine as Pris was very sensual and used sound from the film itself. Again, another piece with an original idea and, I have to say, wonderful geek appeal.

Thankfully, all the acts were very good as the compère was completely abysmal. You could see he was trying to get the crowd more vocal, but sadly his methods consisted of cheap “saucy” humour, being patronising, and displaying a seeming ignorance of informed consent. These sections were, I think, so potentially damaging to the kink scene in terms of impression (given it was a mixed kinky/non-kinky event) and to the concept of consent, that I plan to write a rant. So keep your eyes peeled for that one.

Overall, though, it was a very fun day with good friends and great swag, even though my kinky side was a little disappointed and deprived. Would I recommend the Bristol Alternative and Burlesque Fair? As long as you’re not expecting too much and you can stand the compère, I probably would. I may even go again myself. ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Saturday, Part 2

♦ After a busy morning, lunch was quickly eaten with friends old and new, tweets were duly caught up on and retweeted and then it was on to the afternoon. Much as I think the speakers are fantastic, there was no way I was going to the talk about sex and spirituality. As an atheist and as someone who tries to be rational, spirituality of any kind is just not something that applies to me. Even the closest I’ve got to writing about a sexual and spiritual experience was definitely not a spiritual experience.

Instead I headed over to the Photography workshop, which was being run by Molly after the original speaker had come up against urgent family problems. I have to say, I was very impressed by Molly’s ability to pull a very good session out of thin air!  Of course, when you know that much about your topic I suppose all you have to do is tell people it, but if you’d told me it had been planned all along, I wouldn’t have been surprised.

We got to see the impressive Lightroom program at work (I’m really going to have to get it), we learnt that essential self-photography items like tripods and triggers needn’t be expensive and I learnt perhaps my most valuable technical tip of the weekend: don’t upload photos bigger than 900 x 600 to WordPress and just use the WordPress photo percentages to resize them. Photos that big aren’t needed (for screen use, anyway) and using that method can make your site very slow indeed. It was sort of obvious once DomSigns said it, but it’d never occurred to me before and I do that all the time. Looks like I’m going to be going back through all my photos to resize them properly (and add watermarks) soon!

At the end of the session, Molly mentioned her photo idea of getting a bunch of attendees in a row, back to the camera and bare-arsed. The room figured now was as good a time as any to do it! I so, so, so nearly joined in, but nervousness just won out. It was a tough decision, on the one hand it would be an awesome, bond-forming and empowering thing to be part of and I’d get a great picture with me in for my efforts. On the other hand, I was shy and nervous and I felt it was a rare occasion that my arse looks good on camera. I didn’t want to hate the shot. Getting my bum out in a room full of people seemed scary but also thrilling, but there were so many people already volunteering and I took so long deciding that I chickened out despite geting myself 95% of the way to going “Fuck it!” and joining in.

It was probably a good decision, though, as I’d have had to have spent ages awkwardly easing up my tights way after everyone else had already re-robed and plus the final picture shows a lot more possibly-identifying clothes, body shape and back of head than I’d really be comfy with. Next year, though, if the opportunity arises, fuck it, I’m in. Someone make me if necessary.

The next session was a big toss up: do I indulge my tinkerer side and go for tech talk or my creative side and go for tension and conflict in erotica? Well, in the end I’d been to plenty of techy ones in previous years and conflict in writing is really something I’d like to get a better handle on, so I headed to Mirren Baxter and Judith Watts‘s Building tension: conflict and consent in erotic fiction.

I’m so glad I did, as it turned out to be my favourite session of the whole weekend. At first it was a little hard to see where the speakers were going. We were asked to list all of the reasons we could think of that someone, whether from this reality or another, might have sex. Here’s what we as a group got (click to embiggen):

Eroticon Conflict and Consent Reasons 1Eroticon Conflict and Consent Reasons 2

I managed almost twenty myself and felt like I’d pretty much exhausted the options, so it was amazing to see another 30 or so ideas pop out of other people’s heads.

The bulk of erotica, we were told, tends to unfortunately focus on only the first two of these reasons: love and lust. How boring! Here’s where the session started to turn, for me, revolutionary and yet so simple. Pick something else. Anything else! Any of these other reasons to have sex is much more interesting than love or lust in terms of narrative and any of these other reasons comes prepacked with conflict, whether it’s against the self, another character, society or nature. Just try it and you’ll agree. This is the wonderful method I learned for this session: pick a reason for a character to have sex, ask yourself “What type of conflict can arise from that reason? What stands in this character’s way?”. Boom, instant conflict, instant tension, instant narrative.

And that is what I absolutely loved about the session. So simple, but so inspiring, such a new way of looking at how to create a narrative. And so creative. That room was abuzz with energy, you could tell. I was so impressed that I went straight down to the Eroticon bookstore and picked up their Mirren and Judith’s book Get Started in Writing Erotic Fiction (also available for Kindle), because frankly if the rest of the book has even anything like that in it, it’ll be worth it.

Finally for the day, we headed in to watch A Place of Power – the exquisite grace of deep surrender, a demonstration of ecstatic BDSM by London Faerie and his partner Marti. I won’t go into too much as my clarity of detail fades the further from it I get and as I feel you really had to be there for it to have the same meaning. Faerie and Marti, though, are captivating, both as individuals and as couples. And their play together was beautiful to watch. Although I understood the significance of the head-shaving, it didn’t really resonate with me and left me a little cold, but the rest of the session certainly connected. I find myself jealous of their wonderful skill and connection in BDSM! The majority of the session was breathtaking, beautiful and even made me a little shy in places. I dearly wished I’d got a chance to talk to them after the day ended, but they were rightly very popular and I was feeling a little too nervous to approach. Next time!

Speaking of next time, do “tune in” then to hear a little about Saturday night and a lot about Sunday’s great sessions! ♦

Very Short Stories – Prometheus

♦ You may remember I posted something recently about Very Short Stories, the idea of writing flash fiction that fits on one side of an ordinary Post-It note. I shared my first attempt, too, a bit of a silly-but-sexy piece inspired by coffee (but not written whilst drinking it).

Heck, it’s even caught on a little bit, with bloggers keen to try their own versions and with some, like my friend Innocent Loverboy, having finished their Very Short Stories already. If anyone else has done one, just let me know! I’d love to read it and to let people know about it here.

In any case, I thought it was high time I did another. Again, I’m showing you both the actual Post-It and then giving a transcription for accessibility purposes…

image

“You stumbled into my Friday night a repentant Prometheus, bringing fire back to my belly. You left the bar with my number and a taxi fare. By Monday you could mould me like clay, breathing life into my cock at a whisper from your lips. Thursday evening saw the perfect retribution, as I chained you spread-eagled to my bed. Your liver untouched, I gorged myself on your cunt.”

Again, not a perfect tale, but again un-edited (except a word or two as I was still writing) and teeny-tiny. This one is a mere 55 words compared to the previous 62. My prompt, if you hadn’t already guessed, was the name Prometheus. Although I was inspired by finding the name out of context, I love the myth and soon ideas and analogies came racing to mind.

I’m quite pleased, though I wonder if I might be trying to do too much in too small a space (that may sort of be the concept, I suppose) and it’s certainly good to try some straight-up erotica rather than last time’s playful pretend porn.

What do you think of it? ♦

Bite – A Conversation

“Wait, did you bite me?” I said, noticing for the first time.

It was a good few hours after we’d spent the morning together, naked and bucking. Chance had finally lead my gaze to a mirror, the glories of short hair had kept me from purposefully seeking one.

We were in a lift, going up.

“Um, yes…” He said, as if I’d asked whether fish had scales. He blinked at me.

“Really?” I said, incredulously.

There was a rather large and livid bruise on my neck at exactly the point I like best to be bitten. It was unsubtle. It leered at me. I’m surprised it wasn’t wolf-whistling and calling me “babe”.

“Yes!” He asserted. Clearly, I’d hit my head or been cloned.

“Really?”

“Yes! Really!”

“When?” I asked. I could remember the sex. I thought I could remember it pretty well, in fact. Skin on skin, slapping flesh, the intrusion of his cock, the vacuum when it left me. Gasps. Groans. A distinct wet patch and a damp towel.

Apparently, I was hazy on some parts.

“How on Earth did I not notice?” My voice was high in disbelief.

“I don’t know. Maybe you were enjoying yourself too much?” He said, a little smug.

“Maybe I was. Wow. That is… It must’ve been really good for me not to notice something like that!”

The bite mark would clearly have taken more than a good few moments of nibbling and sucking and gripping. It would have hurt, but in a good way. His teeth must have been at my throat as I moaned ecstatically. Perhaps I felt only his cock driving into me.

“Wasn’t it?”

“It was.” I grinned, still internally gawping.

Intent – a poem about mindsets

Intent is everything
The simple balance between anger and arousal
A slap
The one in the heat of rage, the other the heat of passion
Intent, the decider between reassuring and raunchy
When it comes to a squeeze of the thigh
A moan
Pleasure? Pain? Intent decides
A finger passes over pussy lips
The action has occurred a hundred times
It’s the intent that makes the shiver
Mind over matter, my dear
And matter it does
I flicked the switch
I changed my intent
And, intending now to receive pleasure, pleasure came to me
The light brush became a solvent trail on fire
Nerves sang
Mind raced
From the mundane to the glorious
All with intent

I wrote this short erotic poem in one of the few gaps in my currently very hectic life! It’s about how the mental and the physical interact and how making up your mind one way or another is often the only thing between something meh and something amazing. It’s based on a real experience from recently. With handcuffs. And a blindfold. And it was wonderful. 

I hope you enjoy the poem! Let me know what you think? How important is the mental mindset over how good the physical act feels?

Fleisch – Erotic Body Horror

♦ I’m still here. I’m not going away, don’t worry. Hopefully, this post is a return to more regular posting and normal service. I’ve been busy, then stressed and anxious, then busy again. Geek life and geek me have gotten in the way of blog writing and blog me. It’s a phenomenally busy time of year. But I’m not disappearing. And now for a normal post…

I’ve said before that I think it can be a little too easy sometimes to arouse by a photo. I’ve tried to mix horror and eroticism together before too. It’s easy to be intimate when you’re showing intimate parts of yourself. It’s easy to arouse when all you’re doing is trying to arouse.

This week for Sinful Sunday, I am, of course, trying to arouse you, but I’m not just trying to arouse you…

Fleisch  - erotic body horror

As usual, click the image for a bigger version, if you’d like. In any case, this is what I consider erotic body horror. Hopefully, it’s eerie,creepy and yet still a little sexual and tantalising. Erotic, but not necessarily in a comfortable way. In fact, it should be a bit uncomfortable.

It draws on fetish elements (like the chains and the veiny posture collar and chastity-like device), elements of medical/sickness fetish (the leg brace, the inability to walk) and forniphilia (human furniture) as well as just straight-up weirdness like the flesh coloured eyes, the lack of nipples and the strange formation of her body.

I won’t go as far as to say I hope you like it, but I hope it affects you, at least. I’d love to know your thoughts on it and how it makes you feel. Are you aroused? Are you scared? Does it leave you cold? Is there room for body horror and eroticism to share a space and intermingle? ♦

SinfulSunday

Felt Tips

Of Silver, Sin and School Desks in Felt Tips

♦ I probably should have written this post when Felt Tips originally came out in December, but I really wanted to wait for the paperback version so I could have something to hold in my hands and take slightly self-important pictures of. But nonetheless, hey, look! A book! And that’s my name in it!

So, you’ll hopefully know I’ve been published before (in Hungry for Love and Take Your Partner) and now I’ve gone and done it again! Hooray!

The book is Felt Tips by the wonderful Tiffany Reisz and, as I say, it was originally out at the end of last year in eBook format. And now the paperback has been released and my copy just arrived in the post, which makes me feel all shiny. Felt Tips is the world’s first and only collection of “Office-supply Erotica”. Porn with pens. Erotica about erasers. Sex with… staplers? Ouch.

Here’s a teeny snippet:

“Please,” I said and before I knew it I could feel the pencil-clamps pinching down, first on my left nipple, then my right. They were astonishingly tight for something so… Blue Peter. I felt electrified.

To come up with the story, I played around with some stationery ideas in my head to see what sparked and when I’d settled on the main items used in my story, the idea of a teacher and taking the office out of office supplies really grabbed me. As I told Tiffany, “I know a teacher or two and so I have a bit of an insight into that sort of strange professional repression that can come with it that might beg to be released”. I found it quite compelling and, lo and behold, my first acceptance email came out of it. A little later Felt Tips hit the scene.

Felt Tips book

With over 40 authors contributing and with Tiffany donating a new Original Sinners story, there’s bound to be something for everyone. And since all proceeds go to an organisation that helps struggling schools supply their classrooms, you’ll be doing your heart good as well as your bits! Brits, you can pick up Felt Tips on Amazon UK in eBook here and paperback here. For everyone else, the Amazon US links are here for the eBook and here for the paperback.

Although life has slowed down my fiction writing a little, I’m determined to take the very good advice of several friends and professional acquaintances and just not stop writing. In fact, I’m hoping to have another story published soon, so watch this space! ♦

Mossy Peaks

♦ I originally took this mossy picture using Instagram, but then it turned out that Instagram doesn’t like tits. Or really very much that implies sexuality, though they’ve yet to take down any of my sex toy photos or cleavage shots, which is something.

Anyway, you lot are an audience who I think will appreciate this picture as it’s intended. So, here you are, the mossy peaks of my breasts as shown in my new green lace camisole thingy.

Mossy Peaks - lace and boobs

Green is Crush’s favourite colour, so I had to get this even though I wouldn’t usually pick this sort of mossy khaki green for lingerie. And it’s come in handy, too. I wore it under a khaki jacket and my Bill from Left 4 Dead cosplay beret, with a brown leather skirt. Then I gave Private Crush a lovely bit of military justice for being a bad, bad boy.

It worked rather well! We got along just swimmingly. Do you think you and Sgt Blacksilk would get along? ♦

Wicked Wednesday

Tools of the Trade

♦ Today, Crush and I had a lot of fun. I’m not going to go into a lot of details, I think I might leave those to your imagination. But what I will show you this Sinful Sunday are the tools of the trade I used to inflict such deliciousness on both him and myself. The black handcuffs (very similar to these) were there to restrain him, the key to set him free. The ceramic dildo, the Lovemoiselle Aveline which you can see covered in my slickness here, was used on myself to great effect. It’s such a fantastic dildo and I’m always impressed at the sheer speed with which it gets me off. I teased Crush by using it on myself while all he could do was lie there tied up and pawing at my nipples.

Tools of the Trade: handcuffs and ceramic dildo

I used the Tantus C-ring cock ring (in gorgeous cherry) over his cock, more to pull him about than to really keep him hard and begging as he was already very good at both of those. The Leather Delights soft ballgag was placed gently in his mouth under my full-face hood (not shown), which was used with a blindfold to keep Crush in the dark while I tormented him. As for my very favourite vibrator, the We-Vibe Tango, well, Crush again got to hear me moan and come, both with and without his hungry, lustful input.

Tools of the Trade: ball gag, vibrator and cock ring

I also used various other, not-pictured sensation tools such as a feather stick, a strip of vintage fur, my seven-pinwheel Wartenberg wheel, the edge of a credit card to give him various sensations all over his filthy, sexy body while he was at my mercy. Not only that, but I even managed to give my new Tantus Cush a trial-run to kickstart my testing of it for an upcoming review, so the session was practical as well as just absolutely orgasmically erotic.

I teased him, tortured him, told him what to do, denied him my body, made him beg, made him plead, made him fuck me until I was done. I ordered him around and we both loved it. The tools of the trade pictured here were all immensely helpful in achieving what I wanted, but I think that what really made it all work is that deep inside this sub, there is a dom waiting to get out. And deep inside Crush’s dom heart there is a sub who likes, if not pain and punishment like I do, then being told what to do and not always getting what he wants. The tools of the trade give me, well, the tools, but it’s me that has the power, not my equipment.

What are your favourite tools of the trade? Which do you love most to use on someone or have used on you? Would you feel complete without them? ♦

Sinful Sunday