Archive for the ‘Thoughts and musings’ Category

Exploring the woman within…

As I’ve gone through my thirties, I have really been more open to exploring my inner self.  When I was in my twenties, I was more concerned about what “other people” might think.  Now that I’m in my thirties, I have come to realize that said “other people” are too busy dealing with their own insecurities, and therefore aren’t paying close attention to me.  With that realization, there’s a certain level of “fuck it, let’s do it” that comes to mind, because, after all, you only live once.  I also love the freedom that we have as children to do and explore whatever we want in the name of child’s play, and it makes me sad the way society then pushes us into conformity with certain gender norms as we get older.  It raises our inhibitions, and makes us less willing to go outside those norms.

I generally go through life as a cisgendered male.  I have the male anatomy, I dress in men’s clothing, etc.  However, when I was growing up, I remember thinking how much more interesting the “girl” toys that were advertised on Saturday morning were than the “boy” toys.  I also secretly envied the far more exciting and fun outfits that women got to wear.  I loved the clothes, and I loved the shoes.  After all, men’s clothing is pretty formulaic, and the shoes aren’t that exciting, either.  Not much in the way of excitement there.  When I was around 12 years old, I secretly tried on some female clothing, and it actually felt pretty good.  However, at that age, I kept that side well hidden, because, you know, middle school and all.  Then I unconsciously put it away for quite some time.

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Dear FetLife users: ditch that ridiculous warning, already.

If you’ve been on FetLife for more than about ten minutes, you’ve probably seen a warning in various places on people’s profile pages.  It usually reads something like this:

WARNING to any institution or person using this site or any of its associated sites: You do not have my permission to use any of my pictures, information from my profile or discussions, or anything I post in any of the forums or groups on this website in any form or forum both current or future without prior written consent.  You do not have my permission to copy, save, print, or repost our pictures, discussions, or information without prior written consent.  If you have done or do any of the above, it will be considered a violation of my privacy and personal property and will be subject to all legal remedies.

To give you an idea about how pervasive this “warning” is, in order to look for a copy of the text, I went down my FetLife feed and opened up the profiles of my five most recent friend additions.  Four out the five had some variation of it on their profiles.  If you are one of those people that has this “warning” on your profile, my advice to you is to get rid of it.

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A look at the old Play House…

Like most people in the fetish community, I was shocked and saddened to learn about the demise of 824 North Calvert Street, the former home of the Baltimore Play House.  For those not familiar with what happened, the building at 824 North Calvert Street in Baltimore was the site of a major fire in the early morning of January 24 (more photos).  As I understand it, the building, already damaged (and never repaired) from the effects of Hurricane Sandy a few months prior, caught fire when the roof cracked under the weight of ice, which led to an electrical fire.  That more or less destroyed it, as the entire building went up, and there was a partial collapse of the roof.  There were no firefighter or civilian injuries related to the fire.  My understanding is that the Play House staff had vacated the building about two weeks prior, but it was later revealed that all of the contents of the Play House had not yet been removed, and were lost in the fire.  The loss of the building was one thing, but the loss of the contents of the building really made me sad.  After all, when a person moves their residence, putting all of one’s stuff into the new place makes the new place start to feel like “home”.  And the Play House had a lot of neat stuff in it that was different from that at The Crucible in DC and DCDungeon (now DC Speakeasy) in Rockville.

I had planned a trip up to Baltimore for April 5, where I was going to do some vanilla photography.  I am something of an accomplished photographer in my spare time, and was out shooting photos in a few neighborhoods in Baltimore.  So while I was already up in Baltimore, I made a stop over by the old Play House.  Since this was a vanilla trip, my official purpose of photographing the building was to document urban decay as exemplified by a burned out structure, or, as an employee at Iggie’s Pizza (the restaurant next door to the old Play House) described it, “ruin porn”.

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Hi, remember me?

It was never my intention to take nearly four months off from this blog, but for a blog called Bondage Diaries, I suppose that one would need to have bondage to write about in the virtual diary before one can post.  And I’ve been more or less out of the scene since the incident in July where I was nonconsensually humiliated at DCDungeon, which left me unable to trust the person that I had been playing with up to that time.  I went to the Rockville Munch in September, where I had a good time, but otherwise, I’ve been out of things.  I haven’t played, I’ve only been to one munch, I’ve let the spoon sit up on a shelf in the closet collecting dust, and I’ve been pursuing other interests for a while.  I have been casually looking for a play partner/relationship/whatever lately, both on OKCupid and Collarme.com, but I haven’t had any success with it.  It will come with time, I’m sure.

I’m also not entirely sure yet about where I really “belong” in the fetish scene.  I’m sure that there’s a place for me, but I don’t think I’ve found it yet.  I am 31 years old, I identify as male, I play as a bottom, I list my orientation on FetLife as “heteroflexible”, and I am quite single.  And with what I’ve tried so far, I feel as though I’ve had difficulty relating to these folks.  I feel as though I’m too old for the DC TNG crowd, and it seemed that in that group, people weren’t as amazingly friendly as I would like, and it seemed that many people had their cliques.  However, I also felt somewhat out of place with the older crowd in the Rockville scene, as I felt that those folks had far more experience than I did – so much so that I felt somewhat inadequate by comparison because I lacked that experience.  Plus it’s far less intimidating to meet people when you’re meeting someone with someone else vs. doing so alone, and I was going to these things alone.  It is very possible to feel lonely amongst a crowd of people, and I got that distinct feeling of loneliness a number of times with both the Rockville scene and the DC TNG scene.

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Unintentionally kinky swim stuff…

For those of you who don’t know, I am an avid swimmer, and I can usually be found swimming laps at an indoor pool several times a week.  Recently at the pool, I finally went digging through the various swim fins and other equipment that the pool makes available for swimmers’ use.  Kickboards notwithstanding, the item that I’ve found most useful for my workout is a pair of short fins.  But amongst the various items in the big bin of stuff is a monofin.  The monofin looks like this:

The monofin
Image: Amazon.com

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Nothing like when a scene leaves you annoyed at the end of it…

If there is such a thing as a bad night at the dungeon, this one was it.  I was mistreated in my scene, and then treated as a fifth wheel outside of that.  It’s definitely caused me to reevaluate how I view D/s and my own role within it.

Recently, my regular play partner became involved in a relationship with someone whom she called her “Sir”.  Since she became involved with this person, our play scenes had become more dominant/submissive with the inequality that comes with that designation, rather than filling the top or bottom role between equals.  I was being ordered around more in our scenes.  Pre-scene negotiations became almost nonexistent.  “Give me your hands,” was usually the extent of it, and if I attempted to negotiate a scene, I was told that it wasn’t my place as the sub.  If I tried to explain mid-scene that something wasn’t working for me or getting too intense, then I was told, in an annoyed sort of way, that I was “topping from the bottom”.  And she would refuse to gag me, which, as I mentioned before, I need in order to get to subspace.  And if I’m making noise, gag or not, I’m not there.  I’ve noticed that when I’ve reached subspace, I stop making any sound.  I stop talking (or “mmphing”, as the case may be), I don’t giggle, and I don’t make happy sounds.  I just go silent.

So last Friday, I got together with my play partner for our usual dungeon night routine: dinner somewhere and then off to DCDungeon.  I knew that her “Sir” would be coming along, and that was fine, because I was interested in meeting him.  He seemed like a nice enough guy at dinner.  We talked about whatever, and then when dinner was done, we headed over to DCDungeon.  At DCDungeon, after my play partner and I showed her “Sir” around the place (it was his first time), it was time for a scene.  As I had understood it going into this, we were going to be beaten together.  That’s not how it happened.  First she was flogged by “Sir”, and then when he was done, she was going to do similarly to me.

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The language of things…

People could (and do) write volumes on language and terminology, and on how we use language to define ourselves.  In my four months in the scene, I have thought about what words get used in places quite a bit.

One thing I’ve always found interesting about content of a sexual nature is the use of “naughty words” over plainer language.  For instance, the rear end is usually referred to as “ass”, and not as “behind”, “backside”, or even “butt”.  Likewise, I’ve noticed that the penis is usually referred to as “cock”.  I’ve always found it interesting, mostly because I find such terms to be uncouth, even when used sexually.  Maybe it’s just me. I wonder if others feel similarly about the use of “foul language” as the normal term.  However, the use of foul language is more just a pet peeve of mine than anything else.  I’m not fond of it, but whatever. If it makes people tick, then more power to them, I suppose.

The terms that I think about most are the terms “dominant”, “submissive”, “top”, and “bottom”.  That thinking usually centers around how I identify myself in that concept set as I learn more about my own style and behaviors in scene settings.  Going in back in January, I thought that dominant = top and top = dominant, and likewise I thought that submissive = bottom and bottom = submissive.  In other words, I thought that the terms were exactly equivalent.  Now I know that the terms are not necessarily the same.

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Whatever gets you there?

Just in looking at my own kinks, I’m amazed about how specific some things can be. In the various BDSM scenes that I’ve had the fortune of being in, it’s taught me a lot about what puts me on the path to subspace and what doesn’t.

One thing I’ve come to realize is that I have to completely “let go” to reach subspace. But at the same time, I am unable to let go on my own. I often try to direct a situation, sometimes without even realizing I’m doing it. Thus I have to be somewhat forced to let go. I need to not mess with things: tie me up. If I can say something about a situation, I will do so and try to take it over, but need to not do that to let go: gag me. And if I can see it, I will try and do something about it, even if only mentally: blindfold me.

On that note, I have to be able to know I’m in until someone releases me. That’s why I am not that fond of tape gags, for one. At least as I see it, a person who is tape gagged is only gagged voluntarily. I know that I can, on my own, render a tape gag ineffective just by opening my mouth. Thus I’m insufficiently gagged and can’t let go. For me to reach subspace, the gag has to be one that I can’t negate on my own. This is partly why I love ballgags so much. When my hands are properly restrained, I can’t get rid of a ballgag. It is in there until the top removes it, and until such time, any attempt at speech is futile. So it’s a “problem” that I can’t solve, and so I just have to let go.

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Balancing kink and costs

When I first entered the BDSM scene in January, I did three kink events within the span of a week: Gateway with Black Rose, Dungeon 101 night at The Crucible, and a munch.  These things all cost money.

I mentioned previously in passing that I am a major cheapskate.  Basically, I don’t like to spend money if I don’t need to, and will plan my purchases carefully.  Black Rose had membership dues of $30, and attendance at their regular meetings required further payment beyond the membership dues.  Likewise, due to its location in the NoMa neighborhood, The Crucible operated as a private club, with a $25 membership fee, and then the cost of admission to a Crucible event cost an additional $20.  Then of course the munch had the cost of the meal and tip.  Plus I needed to build up a collection of stuff to play with, like rope, BDSM gear, and other “pervertables” (more on that last part later).  And as much as I wish it were otherwise, my funds are finite, and there are only so many hours in a day.  Thus I had to make choices about what to spend my money and time on.

The way I saw it, Black Rose and The Crucible were both a little pricey.  Black Rose membership cost $30 to join and would expire on June 30.  Then to actually use the membership and go to their various meetings and educational events would cost more money.  It felt as though they wanted money at every turn.  Thus it was a somewhat high barrier to entry, and for less than six months’ time as a member before having to pay another $30 for the next year’s membership.

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Getting up the nerve to finally enter the scene…

Sometimes the hardest part of a journey is taking the first step.  This was the case for my first foray into the public BDSM scene.

In my previous post, you may recall that I discussed how I had known that I was kinky for practically my entire life, and that I had known about Washington DC-based Black Rose for several years, but had taken no action towards getting involved with that group.  Once my friend told me back in September 2011 that she was kinky, and was involved in her own local scene, it made me start to wonder why I wasn’t involved myself.  After all, if she can do it, why can’t I?  I looked at Black Rose’s site again a few times over the next few months, and in late December, determined that their next orientation, or as they call it, “Gateway”, was on January 5, 2012 in a conference room at the Phoenix Park Hotel near Union Station in DC.

I had been debating in my mind for about a week prior to the January Gateway about whether or not I should go.  Ultimately, I decided to just take the plunge and go.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  It might be a great thing, or it might turn out to be completely lame, but you don’t know for sure until you go and find out.

As with other vanilla special events that I’ve been to, my body knew that Black Rose’s Gateway was something special.  My stomach was doing flipturns at the office, as the anticipation was causing me some physical ailments.  I knew that this was something I really needed to do for myself, and I would regret it if I didn’t go (and would have to wait a month for another opportunity), but my stomach felt worse and worse as the day went on.  I did my best to ignore it, as I knew it was just nervousness from anticipation and that once I got there, I would be fine, but it was becoming difficult to ignore in the meantime.

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