Friday, June 24, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: Culture Clash

Now is a very unique time to be in the BDSM, leather, kink, and fetish community. For the first time ever the pre-internet community is interacting fully with the post internet community. Talk about two groups with completely different sets of expectations.


Think of the pre-internet community as having came together through the back door, conduct was coded, extremely private, and/or done through magazines. It’s true that over time we started meeting publicly but it was still by invitation only. You got to come because you knew someone and they could vouch for you, and if you misbehaved, you were not allowed back. Because the access to social venues and information was so limited and people had to earn their way into social groups, the entire way that community was viewed was very different than today’s post internet crowd. Back then everyone was acutely aware that everyone’s behaviors affected everyone else.


People who have had internet their whole lives, or rather people who have had internet throughout their entire BDSM, leather, kink, and fetish lives come with a very different point of view. The internet makes information so effortlessly available and because of that, people don’t have to prove themselves in a social setting anymore resulting in some big misconceptions. If a person is looking to find support or a place to indulge their interests visually or in written forms, they will find it in droves. In some cases, this easy access creates an unrealistic expectation in some people that their interests and opinions, so easily indulged in an on-line community, would be just as indulged in the real time community. Since the internet is now used to post events, many are posted publicly and people can just show up without having anyone vouch for them, and therefore no one with a vested interest in seeing that they are behaving well, as well as in a safe space.


When people who live their fantasy lives online enter this community and possess no reference for real time interaction, real conflict happens. This can manifest itself primarily in two ways, you have the Dominants who rule the online chat room and feel that everyone should bow to them in real time and then become aggressive and inappropriate, (or sometimes just confused) when that doesn’t happen. The second way is when the online players come into real space and are treated inappropriately because they are unprepared on how to defend themselves. Both can be tricky to handle.


And finally, internet players have no real consequences on line. What I mean is if they become inappropriate in a chat room, or a virtual play space, that at worst the room moderator bans them. And even then, that doesn’t stop them from creating another personality and coming back again within seconds. If they want to, they can change their gender, age, identity, and body description. Because of this, individuals who started on-line and are transitioning to real time run the risk of believing there is no need to think about how their behavior translates into real consequences for themselves or others.


This may seem like an anti-online, glory be to the good old day’s philosophy, but really it is not. The “good old days” had just as many problems as the current days, they were just different problems.


I absolutely love the fact that information is just a click away, because it isn’t just about information, it is about validation, safety and the real time sense of not being alone. I also love the accessibility to the community. It is no longer about knowing the right person, and it is no longer about being liked by the right person. It is about being able to find where you fit, and where your talents do the most good.


The interesting and challenging part is the intersection where the people whose path required they earn and maintain their place in the community and the people whose path allows them to simply show up.


The clash is between the people who had to have spent years as a submissive in order to work their way up to Master and the people who just decided that the title of Master suited them or just sounded cool, but they have no real time experience to back it up.


The community seems polarized, as one segment is thought to be stuffy, prudish, and exclusive, while the other is thought to be ungrateful, disrespectful, and unbalanced (you decide which is which). I would like to say that there are some answers to end this clashing, but seriously, where this ends, another begins. We will always have conflict. When the pre-internet people are dead and buried, the post internet people will have their fair share to complain about too.


If you are interested in power munches, safe play parties, or hands on workshops in the Albuquerque area please contact the 20 year organization of AEL at:

aelmailing@gmail.com

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

Fetlife.com

Group name New Mexico Fetlifers

Thursday, June 23, 2011

We aren't the only ones saying Slow the F* Down


‘Slow sex’ movement creates intimacy

You may have heard of slow food culture- opposing our fast food culture and the politics and power of that system.  Well, certainly I can appreciate this slow sex movement for parallel reasons.  The techniques in this article are quite simple, but powerful.

An easy way to improve your intimate connection may just involve breathing, eye contact and slowing the f**k down. 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Leather Bear Tails : How Far is too Far?

Ugg! I hate these situations, they annoy me!

They are the borderline situations where I must weigh whether or not to step in on my slave’s behalf. Just so that I am clear here, my lovely lady is more than capable of taking care of herself. On many occasions she attends events without me, she handles her own internet affairs (not all Masters allow this) , and in general stands up for herself when necessary, with grace and humor I might add. Most importantly, she refrains from resorting to point blank rudeness or making a scene when someone breaks etiquette in our community.

I am very proud about how she carries herself. But (deep breath here) when she is put in a situation requiring her to go on the defensive, I become furious real deep down.


Just so that I am clear here, in leather and BDSM space there is a certain amount of understood etiquette we call protocol, actually there is a lot of protocol. The biggest piece of protocol is ask the Dominant first.

Want to hug a submissive, ask the Dominant first.

Want to play with a submissive, ask the Dominant first.

Want to e mail the submissive to go to lunch, ask the dominant first.

Sense a pattern here?


Some of these scenarios are easy to tag and when crossed are less offensive to me. For instance, the Domme who is inappropriate with my slave on the internet is easy enough for her to block. The Domme who asks her to play is easy enough to send my way to be told "no" in person.

Those are the no brainers.

Then there is the grey area.

At a play party about a month ago I was off talking with people, when a Dominant approached my slave and touched her hand in an attempt, shall we say, to illicit a sensual response. (See how nice I am being here?)

My slave handled herself amazingly as she shouted, “EEEEWWW!” and ran off, she also ended up putting a stop to him following her by putting her foot down without question. There were no further occurrences. On one hand, she handled herself and the situation beautifully with just enough “stop it” power to force the Domme to back off without making a scene, on the other hand I was mad as hell. I still am.

Fast forward during the same party, when a different Dominant, who my slave happened to be sitting near, was smacking himself with a paddle. He turned to my slave and said, ‘Here, let me…” implying he was going to give a her a whack. Again, she put her foot down, stopped him in his tracks, and there were no further occurrences. On one hand, she handled herself and the situation tactfully and with grace and power. On the other hand, I am mad as hell.

she is a capable, strong, powerful woman able to handle herself , and I work hard to control the fury I feel. And some dominants might look at this and say, “Well of course I would step in right then, in the moment.” But for me, there is another piece to this puzzle. My slave needs to be able to be out by herself and it needs to be known that she is no one to be trifled with. I don’t want people thinking that it’s ok to mess with her because I am not around. So it is very important for her to be taken seriously to be shown respect.

Also because I tend to be overprotective, and I generally am not very – umm—diplomatic—in those situations, I do tend to go overboard.

I know that I have calmed down enough, that enough time has passed, to deal with both the Dominants in a way that leaves no questions. But damn, I hate these situations. Hate that we are both put into them by others.

Sometimes I feel that this wouldn’t happen if I was a man, or my slave was white, or if I was respected more, or feared more.

What I have to remember is that when other Dommes overstep their bounds with my slave, it really has nothing to do with me, or her, for that matter.

It has everything to do with the concept of entitlement I discussed two weeks ago right here in this very blog. This brand of entitlement, some call it ‘Domme’s Disease,” is where a person thinks that because they are dominant identified they can act however they want. Forgetting that being a dominant comes with just as many responsibilities as it does perks. Dommes who intentionally ignore boundaries or think that they have have the right to touch or act however they want are a pain in all our arses!

I know that I am not the only Master that has to deal with this, I am just so very proud that my slave knows herself and her boundaries so well, that she makes it easier on me when these things happen.

Uggg. I hate these situations.

If you are looking for power munches, safe play parties or hands on workshops in the Albuquerque area please contact the 20 year organization of

AEL at:

aelmailing@gmail.com

If you are looking for an active online community please find:

Fetlife.com

Group name:

New Mexico fetlifers

Monday, June 13, 2011

Discomfort in (Gender) Uncertainty


Patricia Williams shares a sane and important analysis of our fear of uncertainty in identity.  In her blog in The Nation she points out, "Where, however, there is ambiguity, a switch gets flipped. If race or ethnicity is at all indeterminate, the first question is “What are you?” Where gender is not instantly discernible, anxiety or even rage ensues. We want our boxes, our neat cabinets of thought."

If we are capable of relating to each other as human and resist the assumptions in gender, race, ethnicity and other identities we live, we must recognize the assumptions and the limit of these 'boxes' every day.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Leather Bear Tails: AEL - 20 years of Service

This Saturday marks AEL’s 20th anniversary. For twenty years, AEL took on serving the community by providing consistent events every month that strengthen and educate the New Mexico community. Although they started out with play parties, 12 years ago they also started the power munches. Now every month Stan and Kathryn put on a play party and a power munch, both safe venues for all levels of player as well as people that identity as poly, kink and fetish. This Saturday the anniversary party carries on the tradition of service to community and is giving out free door prizes to the attendees! Amazing, it is their 20th anniversary, and they are still giving back! As luck would have it, I sent off some questions to Stan and his girl Kathryn the organizers of AEL about the organization and its history. Here is what they had to say:


LB: Where did the group gets it’s name AEL, Alternative Erotic Lifestyles?


AEL: Remember that we were not there at the beginning, and did not found the group. The founders where a small group of people that got together at D. M.’ s home and decided to form, and name AEL.


The logo/colors were designed by me (Stan). In addition to the traditional meaning of the BDSM triskal, the addition of the Zia is to represent "BDSM in NM". The AEL colors were submitted to Quagmire, creator of the BDSM triskal, before being used. He approved its use by the group, and gave us rights to use this work as part of the group colors.


LB: What keeps the both of you doing this?


AEL: The fact that it is not just us doing the work makes it easier to keep going. It has evolved into a community effort. All of the people that host, you (Leather Bear) and your slave organizing Kinkskills, the individuals that regularly offer presentations, all make it happen. The other reason is seeing the need for continued community education/service.


LB: Did you ever think that AEL would keep going this long and this strong (no pun intended)?


AEL: Never stopped to think about it. There was always the thought of what to do next, and we never entertained the idea of AEL not continuing to develop.


LB: What has been your biggest surprise with AEL?


AEL: The reaction of people when asked to help. There has been an overwhelming willingness to join in and help. This has been especially true when it comes to more philanthropic efforts. This is a community filled with more creative talent than most would ever believe.


LB: What do you feel AEL brings to the table that is unique?


AEL: We are not a big group, but offer a balanced combination of social, play and educational outlets. Also, the fact that we have some very talented and skilled members makes the group great for the novice, as well as the experienced player.


LB: What have you learned from AEL?


AEL: That a group of people can come together to create something amazing. Personally, I have had to learn assertive diplomacy. Realizing that you have to take the unpopular stance at times, and need to stick to your standards, even if it is going to make some people less than happy, has been a hard, but important lesson.


LB: What do you want people to know about the group?


AEL: People should know that we are an open pan sexual group. We encourage tolerance, and aim to have a welcoming environment for everyone with an alternative bend to feel at home.


LB: What do you see as the future of AEL?


AEL: I see AEL continuing to develop as a cutting edge resource for community education, social networking, and community outreach.



Thank you to Stan and Kathryn for taking time to answer my questions!

On a personal note, I would like to say that when my slave and I were new to this community not only did AEL greet us with open arms. We also never felt awkward of gawked at, and this is a rare thing for a lesbian couple.We have always felt safe to play and relax. That you to AEL for giving us a home!



If you are interested in power munches, play parties, of 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:

New Mexico Fetlifers