Friday, May 27, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: Pride vs. Entitlement

It seems to me that over the last year or so stories of people acting out their kink in public venues have been on the rise. I have heard everything from people being lead into vanilla space on leashes, to public spanking to boot licking. The other part of the story I hear consistently is that when these people are asked to tone down or stop their behavior they answer with, "I am proud of who I am, and I am not about to hide who I am because I have a right to be out.” The implication here is that if we were all as proud as this person we would all be out at our local eateries routinely spanking our (or being spanked by) partners across the dinner table.


So let’s talk about pride.


Pride is about the self; it is about the feeling of accomplishment and joy that one has in their own skin. What is happening in the aforementioned scenarios has nothing to do with pride but rather entitlement. Entitlement is also about the self and also a perception of a person’s rights, and in this case, at the expense of others. When people experience or feel personal pride about their identity, sexual or otherwise, no one gets hurt. However when people express personal entitlement about their identity, there is a definite and marked reaction that can cost us all. Many people in this community (myself included) possess state held professional licenses, need security clearance for their jobs, have underage children, are going through messy divorces, work in politics, or are otherwise operating in the public eye. In other words, many people are in situations where what they do in their private lives can come at great cost to them if exposed. They may have pride in who they are and what they do, but they measure out there exposure because of what they feel they could possibly loose. That is there choice and no one is entitled to take that away from them.


Let’s not forget that before the gay rights movement in the 1960’s became massively public, police actively sought out and raided gay and lesbian public space. Due to excessive public pressure, law enforcement ferreted us out, arrested us or worse, beat and sexually assaulted gay people on a nightly basis.


We must ask ourselves, is that what this community wants? Do we want our being “out” to usher in excessive public pressure bringing raids to our play parties and events and the potential arrest of our leaders?


The more people continue taking scene behavior into vanilla space, as an act of exhibitionism and do so without consent, the more public pressure can arise to find out who we are and shut us down. That is the reality.


The next argument I usually get is, “Well you are a lesbian, don’t you kiss your wife in public? Isn’t that non consensual?” OK. Well, let’s get something real clear here. Public displays of affection are not the same as public displays of power exchange or fetishism. Many leather or kinky folks will tell you if asked, it can take years to understand our own desires and fantasies, to take those fantasies into actions, and then integrate those actions into our understanding of who we are in our everyday lives and in other forums of those lives. So how is it that some of us expect or feel entitled to others accepting us when they cannot possibly even start to understand our actions or the meaning behind them? On top of not being fair, it’s disrespectful and non consensual.


When did our pride become more important to us than consent?


In this day and age, many agree that those people whose anger is triggered by a same sex couple kissing or holding hands publicly are triggered by their own intolerance. However, people who are put in a position to view pseudo-BDSM behavior in public without giving their consent are triggered by something else entirely. Although intolerance or misunderstanding may be part of the equation, we cannot begrudge them their reactions or their right to refrain from viewing what we do privately. Some folks forget we live in a very violent society where many people have experienced violence and real time non-consensual power exchange (i.e. domestic violence, rape, or abuse) in their lifetime. And BDSM and power exchange look very much like this to the outsider. Our sense of entitlement gets in the way here. Because acts of power exchange, even if they feel right for us, the practitioners, look frightening and non consensual to outsiders. And the folks who may not understand this, who are simply not interested, are entitled to have dinner with their families without seeing images that remind them of abuse.


In addition, this behavior of acting out pseudo-scenes in public has a ripple effect.


One. It compromises the venues welcoming and supporting our community. If businesses have to choose between the families they serve and this small community who makes their customers uncomfortable, we will be the first to go. And just in case you are wondering yes, Albuquerque (and other groups nationwide) has LOST venues for this very reason.


Two. It confirms what people think about us already. We are the freaks, the weirdo’s, the unwashed, socially unacceptable, and out of control dangerous pariahs, we are "the them.” We lose more of our holistic identity when this facet of ourselves is picked off and made into a single thing defining us.


Three. In turn, being part of the "them" means others may be able to decide we should not be allowed to mingle in acceptable public, hold jobs that care for people, be allowed children, or hold public office.


You see where I am going here? We need to tread carefully and with a collective intention if we are to be out.


I am not saying don’t have pride and be out. I am not even saying don’t do whatever you want to. What I am saying is do it on your own time at your own risk. If you want to go out to dinner leading whoever on a leash then half way though dessert do a little over the table spanking-- hey go for it and on your own time, not at a munch or vanilla-dress-code kink social. That way, when you are thrown out, singled out, or arrested, you stop compromising the rest of us.


If you want to experience being proud and out then do something that matters, that doesn’t involve shocked stares from people that cannot possibly understand what you are doing or why it is important to you and your partner. Do something that actually initiates change, rather than perpetuates harmful stereotypes. Right here in Albuquerque you can put on a fundraiser for NCSF, buy at Self Serve, support EQUM, volunteer for Pornotopia, show up at the round house in Santa Fe, or start a fund for BDSM’ers who have had trouble with the law.


Pride matters but is worthless when we confuse it with our own sense of entitlement. And really, pride only matters if it goes hand in hand with consent and respect.


If you are interested in power munches, play parties, or hands on workshops in the Albuquerque area please contact:

aelmailing@gmail.com

If you are interested in an active online community please find:

Fetlife.com

Group Name: NewMexico Fetlifers

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: Giving back, The evolution of AEL Kinkskills


Leather Bear Tails: Giving back to the community: The evolution of AEL Kinkskills
Last Sunday we held another AEL Kinkskills workshop. The flogging intensives were conducted one on one with two different instructors, and a third instructor floating around the rooms between demonstration and instruction helping students with questions. It was an amazingly powerful experience. There was so much laughter and joy and learning in that workshop representing everything AEL Kinkskills was meant to be. 

But it did not start out that way.

The AEL Kinkskills workshops started out with an idea and for me personally with no intent of giving back to the community. Actually the concept was born out of selfishness. I asked myself – “What did I want to learn, and how did I want to learn it?” Then from there it evolved to—“Were there others that wanted to learn what I was interested in as well?

Which quickly turned into –“This could be something really good that could help a lot of people!”

When I started out there were two others with me, now it is just me and my slave. A lot of these ideas were formulated for AEL Kinkskills by all three of us in the beginning. Honestly, I couldn’t have done it without them. While one person found a venue another managed the budget and purchasing of supplies. 

Over time maintaining continuity for the project, the constant demand for communication and updates became more then my counterparts wanted to do, so it was left to me. This is not a bad thing; it is just the way the project evolved. I will always be grateful for the time and effort because without them, I don’t think the project ever would have gotten off the ground.

When it first started we all knew that it needed a group to back it. 

At the time, AEL was the only group that I could see both willing and able to do this. Because the organizers of AEL had worked with and been supported by all three of us, it made it easier to ask the leaders of AEL to take a risk. So we approached AEL asking if we could adjunct to their ongoing events and were thrilled when the organizers embraced the project with open arms. This allowed for a lot of stability as an already established group was able to get the word out. It was a win win for us and them. Plus the added bonus of having amazing community leaders to go to when we ran into problems was invaluable. When you are starting to coordinate any kind of event you need resources to help handle conflicts, troubleshoot the workshop itself, and with learning how to maintain your “positive leadership face” when the face you really want to given certain moments might be “WTF? Are you kidding me??????”

Once AEL gave us the green light, the three of us got down to the organizing and we all knew we wanted certain things. 

1. Affordability and Access. It had to be affordable and offered on a routine basis. Since our goal wasn’t to make money, and the venue cost was next to nothing that was easy to accomplish. So we priced each workshop at $5 per person if no supplies are needed, and $10 per person when buying supplies are required (with the caveat that people get to take supplies home so that they can continue to practice right away). In the beginning we all put money into the project and were eventually reimbursed, and quickly the project- because costs were so low, became self sustaining.
2. Choosing teachers and instructors. The teachers had to have a lot of experience.
3. Planning. The workshop had to have a consistent day and time.
4. Teaching style. These workshops were exclusively HANDS ON, not simply a demo since; these were skills people needed to learn under the close guidance of an experienced teacher. So many skills require hand eye coordination (like flogging and single tail) a detailed understanding of safety and infection control (like piecing and saline injections), and the understanding of nuance (like with canes). That just watching someone else do the act doesn’t really provide the same learning ability as doing it yourself.
5. Scheduling. We wanted to prevent burnout so we decided put on a workshop once every other month and not monthly. Occasionally we held a series that would take place once a month for three consecutive months so people could advance their skills from beginner to more intermediate through the classes.

Naturally over time something’s having changed, as I reworked and rethought about the project, what it required and what students needed. The cost hasn’t changed and the program is still completely self sustaining. In fact we are doing so well the goal of AEL Kinkskills changed altogether. Once the budget allows for it AEL Kinkskills will host a day or two long event in a hotel conference space for only $10 per person. This is far in the future, but already in the plans. 

What also changed significantly is how I look at potential teachers. At first I just wanted experienced people. Now, for a teacher to teach at AEL Kinkskills they not only have to have experience, but they must possess and project powerful positive energy. Our teachers must be excited about teaching their subject, about the project goals and must be student centered in their teaching methods. I have found that experience alone does not a qualified teacher make. The teachers who are positive, excited about serving the community and knowledgeable completely change the learning experience for all involved.
Lastly, I stopped organizing series classes. The idea was great but- the teachers would burn out and, the students didn’t learn more. Plus organizing a series of three meant that during one month, two Kinkskills needed facilitating, and that became too much. The one month on/one month off schedule created a break between workshops allowing time to reflect, relax and adequately prepare for the next workshop.

Currently, AEL Kinkskills is so blessed to have three host homes we rotate through and at no cost to the project. We book our teachers a year in advance so all that is left to do is to hammer out the details with teachers and purchase supplies.

This is how I give back to my community.

This is how my community gives back to me: They show up, they say thank you, they meet new people and learn skills. That is what they give back to me.

AEL Kinkskills has become an integral part of my life and me. It has become how I define myself inside the community and I get so excited when I get to work with teachers or students or learn a new skill myself (which I have plenty of time!)

So here is my overall point- to everyone and anyone in this community: If you are seeing a need in the community and want to fill it, then go for it.  Don’t let anyone tell you what can and cannot be done. Seek out those who are successful in the doing and ask questions.  And most of all close your eyes and do it! Anything from throwing a play party to putting on a weekend event are the projects that keep our community strong. The best part is getting to sit back in the end and to watch it all unfold.

If you are interested in power munches, play parties, or hands on workshops in the Albuquerque area please contact:

Next AEL Kinkskills: Cock and Ball Torture!!!!

If you are interested in an active New Mexico online community please find:
Fetlife.com
Group name:
New Mexico fetlifers

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Find Your G-Spot!


First of all, some myth busting:

Yes, everyone has one.  No, it's not a myth.  No, not everyone will ejaculate buckets from g-spot stimulation.

But it sure can be fun to look for your g-spot and do some "research"!

First of all, your fingers are a fine way to find your g-spot.  You don't necessarily need any toys.  Of course, Self Serve isn't going to argue if you like helpful g-spot accessories.

Keep in mind while every female has a g-spot, not everyone finds it so pleasurable to stimulate.  Also, the vast majority of women need some kind of clitoral stimulation in order to get off.  That may mean oral sex, erotic touch, vibrators or something else- but usually intercourse isn't the easiest route to orgasm for women.  Don't give up on communication - most of us don't share enough with our partners.

Turn yourself on or enjoy pleasure however you normally do.  The clitoris is a popular route!  Once you are aroused, insert one or two fingers vaginally.  Curve fingers in a 'come hither' motion toward your belly.  Bear down your muscles in the pelvic floor to push your g-spot out a bit.  It is totally normal to feel like you have to pee when you stimulate the g-spot, since the g-spot is right near your urethra.  The g-spot feels more textured than the smoothness of the vaginal canal.  You'll know you're in the right spot when it feel more round and bumpy.

Remember to breathe and relax your muscles.  Many women suck in, stop breathing, and tighten muscles during sex.  Sometimes this can be arousing, but you need to take deep breaths and relax muscles to enjoy your g-spot.

Try rhythmic massage in a circular motion on your g-spot.  Alternate external stimulation and g-spot massage.  As you get more and more aroused you may experience new pleasure and sensation.

Some toys are great for g-spot play if and when you want to explore more.  Lots of toys don't have to cost much either.  I have a shop, http://www.selfservetoys.com where the G-Shift toy is popular - and only $19.95.  People often respond well to glass or metal dildos, too.

Don't forget to have fun exploring!  Remember that even if you 'find' it, that doesn't mean you'll have instant pleasure.

Learn more with our fun videos on Self Serve's Youtube channel.

Meet the JeJoue G-Ki vibrator and learn why it's an excellent G-spot vibrator:





Check out the Njoy Pure Wand and see why stainless steel makes a gorgeous g-spot sex toy:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: When Dominants abuse protection

Unfortunately there are too many stories out there about how Dominants abuse the concept of protection, everything ranging from pressuring the one who they are protecting for sex and play (sometimes subtlety, sometimes not subtlety), to the outright isolation, and intentional withholding of knowledge and understanding.


Although not all Dominant’s use protection for those things, it is my belief that the concept of protection has become extremely skewed from its original use. It has become more about what the Dominant can get instead of what the Dominant can give.


Over the last few years I have seen a drastic increase in Dominants that “protect”, and a few disturbing trends have made themselves abundantly clear, the older the dominant, the younger the one under protection, the ratio of male dominants to female protection is very high, and when the males or females that were once protected are no longer “under protection” they have a tendency to disappear. I am not saying that these things are always true; I am not saying that all older men are predators, and I am not saying that there aren’t other reasons for people to leave the lifestyle. What I am saying is that what I am personally seeing has greatly disturbing trends.


At an event last year a man came up to me and asked if I would like to see his slave who was also under his protection. I said sure, and on his phone was a spread naked picture of what seemed to be a barely legal girl. I was shocked and taken aback, as I did not know this man well. I began to wonder how many people had also seen this naked girl, and was she aware that he was very willing to show her to anyone who expressed an interest. This was protection? I have not seen this girl since she left his protection. I wonder what does she think about her experiences now?
How does she view herself now? Did this experience further her knowledge of kink and leather, or did it do the opposite? Most of all, I wondered, do those things even matter to the Dominant that showed her naked front side to anyone and everyone?


I also find that some Dominants make the community seems so dangerous that a person walking into it needs someone to constantly watch out for their safety. The warnings of "don’t go to that group", or "only go to a play party when the Dominant is present, and don’t leave the Dominants side", or "don’t speak with that person they are dangerous", are in great abundance. The end product being that the one under protection becomes more and more isolated, and more and more afraid. It also creates a submissive that is less and less able to actively move about in the community without a Dominant present.


Although some of the reasons that the protector gives may sound legitimate, many times under the surface they are questionable.


Stay away from that group because they (fill in the blank) ~ sounds legit, be careful, ok, but cutting out an entire group of people vastly decreases the submissives ability to create new friendships and learn. Although some groups might be questionable in their group dynamics, it is really important for a person to find that out for themselves. One person’s toxic group is another person’s free space. I have to catch myself with this as well, although I have my own views about certain groups in the community, ultimately it isn't my choice to make.


Only go to a play party when the Dominant is present and don’t leave the Dominants side~ sounds legit, kind of~ in reality they are all types of play parties. Some are geared to be more safe then others, but again, if the submissive is looking to be a part of the lifestyle and wanting to go to public spaces, then there is only one way to do it. A Dominant can’t protect a submissive from the world, and quite frankly they shouldn’t have to. For a submissive to walk through the community with an internal sense of pride and self, they need to develop this on their own. I am not saying not to come to the Dominant if there isn’t trouble, what I am saying is that staying by someone’s side all evening doesn’t allow self sufficiency to develop.



Stay away from that person~ they are inappropriate with new young people coming in; sound legit, be careful, ok, but the truth is that there are a lot of people that don’t understand how to treat submissives. Having the submissive learn how to deal with inappropriate people quickly grows confidence and freedom to handle any public space.


If you are looking to be protected then do yourself a favor, stop listen and learn first. There are many parts of the community were new members can come in and freely maneuver without threat or fear. Don’t let anyone convince you that you need them or their protection (for a cost).


If you are looking for power munches, play parties, or hands on workshops in the Albuqueruqe area please contact:


aelmailing@gmail.com


If you are interested in an active online community please find:

Fetlife.com

The New Mexico group name is:

New Mexico fetlifers



Thursday, May 12, 2011

Secret Fantasies


So many of us hold consistent sexual fantasies that fuel our desire, and yet too often they are held secret, never shared with those we love.

A brief advice column in the Guardian recently summed it up for many women.  A British Psychotherapist Brett Kahr completed a vast study in 2007 on sexual behavior and fantasy.  He found some amazing results about fantasies:
  • There is no "normal."  After studying 19,000 fantasies he only found consistency in their diversity.
  • Everyone has fantasies.  The study found 96 per cent of British adult males and about 90 per cent of females report having sexual fantasies. 
  • Some fantasies can lead to deeper intimacy, but some may not work out as planned.  Acting out fantasies requires a great deal of compassion, creativity and trust on behalf of the partnership, and I have seen a number of marriages founder when such role-plays have gone awry. Certainly psychotherapists would recommend much consideration before enacting a sexual fantasy scenario, bearing in mind that a fantasy and a reality might be experienced rather differently.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

10 Masturbation Tips

1) SING. A lot of people hold their breath during sex. Doing so makes it harder for blood to get to your nether regions. So, try humming or singing during masturbation. This keeps you breathing and can help you relax. What song are you wacking off to?

2) FLIP. Often people learn to masturbate in one way as a child and continue doing themselves the same way into adulthood. Try switching up your routine to keep things spicy. Flip over, tease yourself, watch new porn, read new erotica, think up a new fantasy, or try a new toy. We can train our bodies to come in new and different ways if we experiment and take our time.

3) WATER. Many people discover the pleasure their genitals can feel while washing. The power, privacy, and temperature of a well place stream of water can be divine. Try masturbating with a hand-held shower head, bathtub faucet, or tub jet. Some vibrators can be used underwater, too.


4) BUZZ. Vibrators are equal opportunity. Everyone can enjoy a vibrator. Place a vibrator on the underside of the tip (frenulum) of the penis. The clitoris has over 8,000 nerve endings and often enjoys vibration. Try on the inner lips, mons, and anus, too.

5) SELF-ACCEPTANCE. "Sometimes I forget that my body needs to be loved, not criticized." ~Not your mother's Meatloaf: a sex education comic book. Loving and accepting our bodies as they are is the first step in enjoying the pleasure bodies can give us. If we wait to have sex until our bodies are the way we want them to look, we're wasting all the pleasurable sensations we could be having right now. Loving your body is a revolutionary act.

6) LUBE. We’re big on lube here at Self Serve. Lubrication makes a massage that much better, why wouldn’t the same be true for sex? Most men already know the value of lube for stroking the willy. Lube also helps a vulva get things started before she makes her own wetness. Listen to Molly tell you about lube on Self Serve TV.

7) TIME. Often people rush masturbation to orgasm to feel that release. Then they go to sleep. That can be a great stress release. Alternatively, if you take your time and slowly build up to orgasm it can be more relaxing. If you make "relaxing" the goal rather than “finishing” the experience can be a different kind of AHHHHHhhh. It’s good self-care to set aside time to seduce and please yourself.

8) INSPIRE. Porn, erotica, fantasies, phone sex, or taking a class on sex skills can be really fun to get your juices running. There are so many quality sexy materials out there. Self Serve rents porn, stocks the latest in erotica, and even sells sexy coloring books.

9) HELPERS. Assisted masturbation can be really hot. You could ask your special friend to watch you, give you a show, or join you in pleasing yourself. Who couldn’t use an extra set of hands anyways? As slam poet Alix Olson says, "Mutual masturbation makes a lot of sense."

10) WORK-OUT. You don’t need a gym to exercise your kegel/ pubococcygeus/ PC muscles. The stronger your pelvic floor muscles, the stronger your orgasms can be. You also have more control over when you have orgasms and how many. The best part is, it feels great to exercise! You can do them anytime, anywhere, and no one else will know. Ben Wa balls were the original kegel muscle exerciser. then, Smartball Uno came out as fun device to assist in PC strengthening that stay in effortlessly. It's fun to use with a vibrator, too. Also Je Joue (the British company that brought us the genius G-ki) has come out with an affordable and comfortable set called Ami, available in the store or by phone. These sexercise balls have a ben wa ball in them that jiggles when you move. A customer once told me she loves to go jogging with hers!


Happy Masturbation May! Now go do your parts.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: When submissives abuse protection

There is a lot of talk about how Dominants abuse the concept of protection, and although many of those are right on the mark it is rarely discussed how submissives can also abuse this concept. I am not saying that that there are not legitimate times when submissives and slaves need to call on their protectors, what I am saying is that sometimes submissives manipulate situations to create a need for the protection to happen. As far as I can see there could be a few reasons why this would happen.

If a submissive or slave feels emotionally charged and energized by the Dominant actively being protective over them, if the submissive is feeling distant and is seeking the dominants attention, if the submissive likes to create drama filled situations, or if the submissive is feeling threatened by the Dominants social activities. All of these have the same result. The submissive creates a situation to feel unsafe, the dominant steps in, sometimes appropriately, sometimes more forcibly then needed, and the submissive get s the attention they desire. The offending person then will usually create a distance between themselves sand the couple, confusion in tow.

We all have disagreements, personality conflicts, and basic misunderstandings, but the submissive who is looking to reengage the Dominant, isolate the Dominant, or create distance between the Dominant and someone in particular will be able to easily do this by creating or continuing a conflict.

The Dominant, thinking that they are stepping in and doing the right thing then gets pulled in and a small, easy to solve conflict becomes more about pride and showboating then it does about problem solving.

As I think back over the last few years, I can remember being on the receiving end of a submissive that created just this type of situation. I didn’t see it at the time, but I can definitely see it now. The Dominant and I were on friendly terms, not friends, but friendly, and the submissive and I had a strong personality conflict. So after a routine business conversation between myself and the submissive, were nothing personal was mentioned, the submissive called the Dominate in. The submissive felt I had been too aggressive, the Dominant felt a need to protect them, and I was left very confused as to how or why I had offended this person. The interesting part is that the submissive has continued this pattern with all of Dominants’ that they have become involved with. I know that sooner or later I am going to be approached by the Dominant saying that I have done something or said something, or not said something that has offended this submissive. So I just stay away from the submissive and whoever they have become involved with to avoid the inevitable. I have watched the submissive isolate their Dominants from other people that the submissive doesn’t like or are threatened by under the guise of needing protection. Honestly I don’t blame the Dominants anymore, after all, they are stepping in and taking charge and creating what they feel is a safe and supportive environment.

However, if clashes resulting in the need to step in occur on a regular basis it might behoove the Dominant to take a step back and ask themselves what do all of these conflicts have in common?

The answer might surprise them.

If you are looking for power munches, play parties, or hands on workshops in the Albuquerque are please contact:

aelmailing@gmail.com

If you are interested in an active online community please find:

Fetlife.com

The group name is:

New Mexico Fetlifers

Love Note to Myself







Dear Self,

It's been awhile. I'm sorry I've been so absent lately. I haven't been giving you the attention you deserve. Have I told you lately that I love you? You are beautiful in all the ways you think are ugly. Trust me, who knows you better? Also, you totally turn me on. However your body changes, it's great. Look at all the wonderful sensations you and I can feel! Your body amazes me. Even beyond the physical, your playful attitude and openness to new sex activities has kept us strong and adventurous. Any long-term relationship has it's dry spells. We have to work through it with vigor and enthusiasm. I'm back in the game. I want to take seduce you, ravage you! Just wait till I get my hands on you. Clear your schedule, get stock up on lube and batteries. I'm going to give you a night to write about in your journal!

Love,
Your Adoring Self