Sunny Days in DC

Jack of All Trades, Master of 3-ish.

Why the Kink World is So Angry About the 50 Shades of Grey Movie, or… “Hey, I Bet A Bunch of People Are Gonna Die.”

The global BDSM scene is heaving a (probably corseted) sigh of frustration as of late. I’ve been in the Scene for just about 10 years, which is long enough for me to be able to say that I absolutely do not speak for everyone. I speak for myself and my experiences. And in my experience, very few people are suddenly aware of sites like Fetlife, or are born knowing that they enjoy rope bondage more than a thuddy flogging. Most of us come (ha!) to the world of kink either through a friend, or through media. Things like websites, movies, literature… when you’re sitting in a movie theater and the sight of a man or a woman tied down to a chair does more for you than for pretty much everyone around you, you tend to be curious as to why. So you look, you communicate with others, and you realize that there is a whole world of people just like you (or worse!), and they like it dirty!

So no, I’m not opposed to a film supposedly about BDSM. I even welcome the discussions about sex, both “vanilla” and kink, about consent, about age, about what is still taboo in our culture, that this film will inevitably bring. What I, and most people I know from the Scene, find most upsetting, is the Disneyfication of who we are and what we do.

And it’s very, very dangerous. Like, fucking LIFE OR DEATH.

Having never actually read 50 Shades of Gray, I’m going to make a few assumptions, but please do let me know if I’m wrong. Based on what I’ve heard, a young virgin falls for an older, wealthy, kinky dude, and he “lures” her into his lifestyle. So, right off the bat, the kinky person is devilish and dark. Ok, fine, sure, I know heaps of people in the Scene who wear mostly black and like to meet younger, less experienced people. But, where’s the talk about consent? What about education? What about CIRCULATION?!

Not exactly clear on what I’m talking about? Well folks, on average, most “riggers” (that would be, people who suspend others by rope or other means) spend HOURS AND HOURS learning how to do it properly. Let me amend that: YEARS. I know people who have spent YEARS learning. Even tying someone to a chair can end badly if that person has circulatory issues. There is preparation, there are ‘back-up plans,’ and yes, there are MOTHERFUCKING SAFETY WORDS.

Guess what folks?? Most of kink is actually REALLY BORING.

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*”Yeah, yeah… pinch the nipples, cut off her clothes. Whatever.”*

But it’s boring for a reason. My husband and I were attending a house party in New York once, and a young, inexperienced man had a girl standing on a chair, hands tied behind her back, and was about to put a loop of rope around her neck.

Raise your hand if you can already spot the problem.

My husband quickly stepped in and showed the young man a different, safer, way of accomplishing the same end goal. But most people haven’t spent HOURS AND HOURS in classes. And by the way, this is all assuming that your kink scene includes sex… which MANY DO NOT. “But hey, that’s really complicated,” says hollywood. “Let’s skip to the fucking.” I applaud your focus, hollywood, but not necessarily your tactics.

So people will go to see this movie, get all hot and bothered, and decide that they want to do a “Rape Play” scene, or maybe they want to meet another kinkster and get into a “Consensual Non-Consent” scene, not knowing how those terms differ, or even what they really mean. So some chick will say she’s “down for consensual non-consent” to some dude she meets online because it’s “totes romantic,” and she’ll end up locked in a metal cage for a week before escaping. And then she’ll go running off to the cops crying ACTUAL assault. And everyone will look surprised and we’ll all wonder WTF just happened. Or worse, people will die. Because this movie, I’m guessing, will show the fun-fun-happy side of kink. It won’t talk about the hours of negotiation, of contracts and detailed discussions that HAVE TO HAPPEN before you even take off a stitch of clothing. Does your partner have asthma? Do they have emotional triggers? Yeah, that’s all shit you need to know before you start beating him or her, making them call you daddy, and shoving a dildo up their ass.

And worse, this girl is a VIRGIN?! How the hell does she know what she wants? Most people in the scene shy away from virgins. They bring drama and confusion. They’re just discovering themselves and have no idea what their limits are. They don’t know how some past trauma will impact a sex-positive scene, because they’ve never had sex. There are the rare exceptions, and I’ve met them; people who are experienced in everything except penetration. Fine. Whatever. These folks are the exceptions that prove my rule.

So, we’re putting a film ALL ABOUT DANGEROUS SEXUAL ACTS out to a public with little or no knowledge about how to perform these acts in a safe and consensual way. Knife play, rope play, take-downs, electrical play, flogging…. if you know how to do them, it can be a lot of fun. But if you don’t, frankly, you’re setting people up for a very, very dangerous evening.

…not that hollywood cares.

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Let’s talk about your Hard Limits; my safety word is “Mercy.”

The husband and I got a sitter and went to the Dublin Burlesque festival. It was AMAZEBALLS! I promised you all a photo of me in my outfit, and as soon as I pry them from my husband’s cell phone, that’s what you’ll have! I was REALLY proud of my outfit!! But anyway, we went, and while I applaud ANYONE with the courage to get up and essentially strip in front of a crowd (that includes actual, self-identified “strippers”), I must say that there were only a handful (b-cup at best. HA!!….sorry) of acts that I thought were actually good.

Ok, I should redefine that. There were several acts that were “good,” but not necessarily to my taste or style. Fair play to them, it takes all kinds. But there was ONE dude who, I think maybe he thought they were casting for Magic Mike? I’m not sure. It was bad. It was like, “$30 bachelorette party male stripper” bad. I mean, he was a good looking dude, and I don’t even mind if that’s your kink, buddy. Run with it. If you get off by being on stage and stripping: a big ol mazal tov from (probably) the only Jewish chick in that crowd. But damn… at least be GOOD at it.

HE STRIPPED DOWN TO BLACK TIGHTY-WHITIES! REALLY?! I mean… at least be creative with your undies. Or at least have a good act!! Whatever. The only boylesque act I saw, and mama was disappoint.

So… what did *I* do with the bulk of my night (other than watch many lovely ladies strip down to their pasties)? Oh, I was on the HUNT! I was supposed to meet up with one woman who was coordinating the show. I met her when I first walked in and introduced myself, but of course we could only exchange brief hellos before she had to run off and help set things up. She told me to come back and find her after the show, and we would talk about getting me into performing. So, like the crazed bloodhound I can be when there’s something I want, I looked for her periodically throughout the evening. Finally, I stood against the wall watching the show. A really nice woman in a kick-ass outfit stood next to me.

“Hey, are you enjoying the show?”

“Uh, yeah. Yeah, I am. I just really wanted to meet with D before the end, and I have to leave soon… and I can’t seem to find her.”

“Oh? What did you want to talk to her about?”

“Well, I really want to try to perform.”

“Oh, then you don’t want to talk to D…. you want to talk to me. I run all shows in Dublin.”

…………..I’m not even making this up. She literally said those words to me, and I kinda lost it. My head may or may not have exploded at this point. I AM fairly certain that I grabbed her hand, shook it furiously (I was SLIGHTLY intoxicated), and introduced myself as, “that American chick who SUPER wants to perform!”

So, I was told to email both of my contacts today or tomorrow, at which point I will be added to the women who “kitten” for a show. That means I’ll assist the performers in getting ready, and clearing the stage of *ahem* garments when the performers are through. That will, hopefully, give me more insight into how a show is done and what is expected from performers. Then, I get to audition.

But first, I have to let the club owners know what I am, and am not, willing to wear.

That’s a loaded question to a woman who openly admits to being part of the fetish scene. No gimp suits? No ball-gags? No 4″ heels, and I absolutely will NOT dress like a pony. Those are my hard limits. Otherwise, why would I be getting into burlesque if I’m overly concerned about what I’m wearing? The whole goal is to take it off by the end of the night, anyway. Hmmm…. should probably wax though, huh?

I guess we’ll see how it goes! Wish me luck, kids!!

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