Monday, February 16, 2015

Is That A Spanking Bench I See Before Me?

I'd never been to a dungeon before.  Figured it would be dark (no), creepy (no), and full of somewhat frightening instruments of torture.

All kinds of ways to tie a person up and have your way with him/her.

The last part is somewhat true. There are instruments of torture-slash-pleasure, in most modern "dungeons." The dungeon I went to had a large, airy courtyard, plenty of light inside, comfortable chairs to watch the presentation, and a table where you could buy raffle tickets.

Granted, the prizes were not those normally seen at a PTA fundraiser.

I wanted this prize package, especially the vibrator, though I was intrigued by the ropes,
Alas, I did not win.

The Erotic Art of Spanking

Yes, that was the name of the workshop I went to, presented by Leathermaster Orpheus Black (assisted by his gorgeous wife, Indigo Black and others), and it was extremely eduerotic.

I used to think spanking was for 1) sick twisted people (Sadists) who wanted to exorcise their personal demons by whaling the hell out of somebody, anybody , and 2) sick twisted people who could never enjoy themselves without pain (Masochists).

You know, like in the GNR song.

Sure, I knew that some people were into spankings, floggings, etc, just like I knew some people were into eating chocolate covered ants. Not to be all judgey or anything, but NMK. (Not. My. Kink.)

Or so I thought.

Over the years, I'd occasionally have sex with guys (prolly inspired by p0rn) who would suddenly, out of nowhere, slap my ass,

WTF?!? Always took me out of the sexy mood, entirely. In a sweet, gentle voice, I would inform those guys, "Try that shit again, motherfucker, and you'll pull back a fucking stub."

And then, recently, I found a lover who knew how to employ spanking as sensation play, as part of our foreplay, and it didn't terrify me. It didn't send me into an emotional corner, shivering.

It felt amazing. It sent me to a physical and emotional high I'd never reached before.

It inspired me, when I was recently offered the choice of toys as a prize, to choose THIS. And to ask my lover to use it on me.

These fringes are soft, soft suede. It can be used as a flogger,
or it can be dragged lightly across the skin.

And it was good.

Maybe There's Something To This Spanking Business, But What?

So of course, once the opportunity to attend a workshop by the kink-renowned, educator/performer Orpheus Black on the subject appeared, I was eager to sign up. For the benefit of my writing, of course. And if I achieved some personal enlightenment along the way, sure, that would be a nice side benefit. [insert self eye-roll]

In a workshop that went about three hours, probably at least half, possibly more, of the discussion was spent on safety.

Because unlike the portrayal of kink as abuse in FSOG, people in the BDSM community actually care whether an act of play will hurt someone.  Orpheus emphasized:

  • Never, ever, walk up to someone and smack her or him in the ass. Never do it even as part of loveplay, without discussing it first. They may be survivors of domestic violence, and that "surprise" could send them into a very dark place, physically or emotionally.  Communication, first, last, and always, is key.
  • If you meet someone in a dungeon and are interested in doing a scene with them, you might want to say, "Hi, I'm So-and-So, I'm into X. What are you into?" You want to ask, if you discover shared interests, "Would you like to do X with me?" No, it never feels good when someone says, "Yes I do, but not with you," however, that is them taking care of themselves.
  • Don't agree to do a scene as a submissive, especially if you're inexperienced, with someone who's also inexperienced as a Dom. Ask, "How much experience you have?" and make sure to quantify it. Someone who's been doing this for two years, doing a scene every month, might have more experience than somebody who's been doing it for twenty years, but who has only done five scenes spread over that time, and none in the last two years.
  • If you ever feel like someone is overselling or BSing you as to their level of experience, go with your gut feeling. Never push yourself to do anything if you do not feel safe or trust your partner.
  • Never bind someone 100% (so they can't get out) the first time you play with bondage.
  • False feedback helps no one. Yes, we all want to please our lovers, but pretending to like something - when we don't - is just going to create more problems in the long run.

It's okay to try something new, to see if you might like it. But if spanking is not for you, either as a giver or receiver, that's okay. Nobody wants to hear that big bored sigh coming from a partner who is going through the motions of something to try to please you, but really isn't into it. 

On Spanking Itself

Orpheus, Indigo, and several lovely subs demonstrated a number of positions, besides the standard OTK (Over the Knee).

Yes, the spanker can be seated in a chair, like Santa Claus, while the spankee's stomach and chest are across the knees, and the ass presents to the spanker's dominant hand. Or, the spanker can be on the chair, legs slightly spread, while the spankee's legs are apart and s/he is braced with elbows and forearms on the floor; basically upside down, and the spanker can bang the ass like a drum. Or the spanker can be braced against a bed or other supportive surface, while the spankee is leaning against one of his/her legs, and the spanker can lean forward, using the spankee's leg as a brace, to reach more territory.  Their body as a counterbalance can also help the spanker feel if they are buckling.

Can special furniture be used? Sure, but it's not necessary.

Yes, a spankee can also be bound during a spanking, though it's not necessary.

There was even a position where the spankee lies on her/his back, on the floor, almost like playing "bicycle," and the spanker is supported by the spankee's legs.  (Not a position that can be held for very long, however.  And it is important to be careful not to put too much pressure on the shoulders.)

The safety and comfort of the spankee is always the primary concern. Orpheus talked repeatedly about how important it was to make sure the spanking was not something that could physically or emotionally hurt the spankee. Even with his reputation and years of experience, and with a history of play between his and the subs he was demonstrating with, he continually checked in when spanking,"Are you in a comfortable position? Are you okay?" He talked about his size (he's not a small man) and how it was very important to not be in a position to "put his weight into" any blows or slaps he delivered, or for anyone to do so, unless they were very experienced (and in those cases, it's not really erotic spanking, but a different kind).

Erotic Spanking Is About Pleasure, Not Pain

Because it's not just about indiscriminately flailing away.  It's about delivering carefully measured sharp, stinging (or thuddy, whatever the spankee prefers) blows spread over the buttocks to bring blood to the surface, to set the nerve endings tingling, interspersed with light touches and caresses and stroking and kisses. And while the spanker should restrict the spanks to a certain zone (avoiding above the buttocks, for example, so as not to potentially damage the kidneys), the stroking and caressing should be everywhere reachable, down the legs, the calves, the sides of the body...

Hitting the same spot over and over again, or too hard, can be a problem. He talked about something called "paddle butt," where someone has been spanked so hard, and bruised so often, there are clumps of tissue that have lost all sensation, while others have too much sensation.  In this particular workshop, there were no floggers, paddles, or other spanking implements used, just the hand.

There are all kinds of things that can be done to enhance pleasure, without ever having intercourse. If she is wearing underwear, it can be pulled up to stimulate the labia.  A hand can be slid between the legs, and pressure applied, without penetration or direct genital stimulation.

Music is a good tool, helps keep up a rhythm. We can pick something that starts slow, and increases in tempo, if that's how we want to play. Orpheus advised us to watch for the spankee's response, to ask for it (communication again!), to make sure both ass cheeks are getting the love (white skin will become rosy), to feel for the increased warmth if it's not possible to detect through darker skin tones  There are many different ways to use the hand, flicking with four fingers, or cupping, rather than the full palm impact, which produces a harder strike.

In some positions and cases, a small vibrator or other toy can be employed. Or sex may follow the spanking. But there may also be no penetration whatsoever.  We got to see an incredibly sexy demonstration of someone being brought to a full O entirely via spanking and rhythmic contact in a certain area of the buttocks.  (It was so hot, I'm still fanning myself.)

Safe Words and How To Use Them

Yes, absolutely, use safe words. Lots of people use green, yellow (yellow = we don't have to stop, but I'm not entirely okay with this, let's slow down) and red (stop right now).  Other people might get more creative with their vocabulary.

We might think we are good at reading body language and signals, but we could be wrong, because we are not inside somebody else's head. Constant check in is a must.

Just because there are safe words, doesn't mean people are willing or able to use them in the moment. If things get intense, people might forget them and fall back on the old, vanilla-world standbys: Don't.  Stop.  No. Never assume those are used as part of a game, but that they may be the only words available if the spankee is experiencing physical, mental, or emotional overload. ALWAYS stop and check in if you hear any of those words. 

Think for a moment about what could happen if we don't stop when someone is in distress. S/he could be seriously hurt, physically or emotionally. It could even be fatal distress; we've all seen or heard of a seemingly healthy young person having a heart attack or seizure.  For us, besides the knowledge that we have hurt someone, we might also be going to jail for assault.

The worst thing that can happen if we stop at the wrong place?  If we think somebody is in distress and s/he is not? We have to build up the momentum again.  Pffft, not a tragedy.

Not quite sure HOW this was used, but it looked cool, so...
And aftercare for the spankee, making sure s/he is okay, afterwards, is essential. Spanking can be a lot of fun, but it should also be taken as a serious commitment to make sure everyone enjoys the outcome and feels cared for.

I still feel like I have so much to learn. (And plan to take every available class Orpheus Black gives that I can fit into my schedule, he's an incredible teacher.)

And while this is something I've been surprised and happy to incorporate into my menu of sexplay choices, as both spankee and spanker, perhaps, I've also, as someone in the dating world, run into several faux Dominants. While they initially talk a good game, it becomes very clear after a little digging that they do NOT present the sensitivity and care for their partners, as Orpheus did, as my lover does. They are total Poseurs, not real Doms. Christian  Grey, the fictional character, is a Poseur and an abusive douchebag. If someone ever claims to be a Dom just like in FSOG, run.

So, if you've been intrigued or aroused by the excellent movie Secretary, FSOG, or this post, go for it - but be careful to whom you entrust your ass.

Your thoughts, or questions?