Dear Creature: Rough Stuff

Dear Creature,
I always wanted to know what I could take. A fist to the face, stomped, kicked, whipped, held under water… Up to the person doing the beating. Maybe breaking an arm or a leg. But definitely a few fingers. 
~In Eyes

In Eyes,

It’s common to wonder how much your body can take, and to fantasize about what it might be like finding the limits of what you can endure. I don’t know exactly what question you’re asking, but since this is a sentiment that a lot of people think about, and I write about BDSM, I’ll address what I hear in your statement and what ideas it brings up for me in that vein. I hope my response helps give you language to articulate your desires and find the right people to share explorations with in a risk-aware and consensual fashion. I hope that my writing aids you in wading through your impulses to sort out what you’d like to learn more about vs. those things you might not be ready for or might not actually want to experience. Since I don’t know your history or experience with BDSM or anything about your physical/emotional/mental state, I’ll write as if you were relatively new to the world of kink and are questioning what’s possible.

The first idea I want to explore is the importance of knowing the difference between reality and fantasy when approaching a scene. The things we don’t know about firsthand are a playground for the imagination, and various ideas that play well in our heads (especially in an aroused state) are not always things we actually desire to seek out or experience when we’re sensually sober or not turned on. It can be difficult to know which ideas are good ones to seek out and which ones should be relegated to the world of fantasy. Once you’ve spent some time articulating your intrigues to yourself, some questions you might want to answer are:

  • Why do I want to scene in this manner, and what do I hope to accomplish by having an experience like this? Knowing the answer to these questions may help you narrow in on what you actually want rather than a general idea for play. For example: I imagine being whipped. I wonder what that would be like, and decide I want to try bottoming for a whip Top. If I look at my motives more closely I might decide I just want to feel a whip on my skin and see what it’s like on a pain scale, or see how much of a whipping I can take. In this case I would negotiate a whipping scene with a fair amount of warm-up and with someone willing to start off slowly and build, paying attention to my need for rests, etc. On the other hand, perhaps I have a particular roleplay in mind whenever I think about being whipped, and I realize that I don’t want my skin torn or to scar from my whipping scene, instead I want to be bossed around by a “mean Governess” and have her whip me lightly over my clothes in playful punishment, which then quickly becomes a toy for teasing me and wrapping me up in it, to then be tied and groped… As you can see these are two very different scenarios, yet they’re both “whipping scenes”. Not everyone will share an interest in both scenarios, and not everyone will have the skills to engage specifically in what you’re looking for either.
  • What do I think I can endure, and what are my limits in the scenario I am pursuing? Answering this question will help you inject a bit of grounded reality into your search. It will also help you negotiate responsibly once you find a partner willing to play. Depending on the day, your current emotions, physical state, etc., you may not always answer this question the same way, but answering it even once will give you an idea about what you’re really interested in vs. what you’re less excited about, or simply will not tolerate. This is an important question to think about, articulate as well as you’re able to, and negotiate clearly to be a responsible BDSM partner. BDSM is not about violating people’s actual boundaries — even if we want it to feel that way sometimes. It’s just as important for a Top or D-type to trust their bottom or s-type as it is the other way around. This means the bottom/s-type needs to realistically know their boundaries, be willing to communicate them prior to sceneing, and be willing to speak up within scene if something needs to be addressed.
  • What are the consequences for playing in the manner I desire, and am I as excited about the potential healing process as I am the scene itself? BDSM can take a toll on our bodies, especially rough body play, impact play, and the use of sharp objects, to mention a few. Consequences from scening can include bruising, broken bones, torn/pierced/cut flesh, bleeding internally or externally, throwing up, becoming ill, STI transmission, bloodborne pathogen transmission, UTIs, physical exhaustion, nerve damage, emotional triggers, mental instability… the list goes on. Some of these consequences are dealt with simply and quickly, some take months or years to repair, and some never heal, leave their mark permanently, or create complications. Not playing safely, ignorance of the potential dangers of various activities, not communicating clearly, and not realizing something was wrong until it was too late are all occasions which have led to the death of BDSM practitioners. That’s something to consider and not take lightly. It’s useful to think about potential consequences: if being punched could break a bone, ask yourself if you are willing to deal with being in pain for the duration of the healing process or any other problems which result from that injury. Ask yourself if you want to deal with hospital bills, medication, loss of work, a few months of pain, and potential complications from one afternoon of experimentation.

There are two phrases people throw around in the BDSM community concerning styles of play: SSC and RACK. SSC stands for “Safe, Sane, and Consensual play”. This means approaching play with a solid understanding of the skills needed to “safely” do what’s been negotiated, to play “sanely”, meaning with regard for consequence and a realistic negotiation of ethics, and “consensually” meaning all that happens in play has been negotiated beforehand and agreed to by all parties. RACK stands for “Risk Aware Consensual Kink”. Consent is still a prime objective, and “risk-aware” points to approaching play with as much knowledge as possible about what is inherently risky about the scene, including what skill level is needed in order to mitigate unintended damage, awareness of the emotional/mental/physical health of the participants, what supplies should be on hand if something goes wrong, etc.

Many of the older BDSM players I know prefer the term RACK, myself included. SSC sounds nice, yet seems to promote a more innocent understanding of how to enter into a scene. I would rather play armed with the idea that I am “aware of risks” and have planned to address them as much as I know how to, than go in thinking I am “playing safe” and so am not at risk for unintended consequences. Though the ideas are generally similar, “Risk Aware” seems a more honest concept to me, and reminds me not to assume I know everything. It speaks to the amount of preparation and ongoing thoughtfulness and awareness I should expect to engage in when I scene.

  • Am I willing to take responsibility for putting myself in a situation where I may be harmed, experience intense pain, or suffer for a longer period than I imagined I would as a result of engaging in this sort of activity? The more you know about what you do and do not want to experience, the easier it is to get on the same page and negotiate something which feels great to everyone involved. If you are not willing to take responsibility for your actions, your asks, or to negotiate clearly about your boundaries with a scene partner you are not ready to play. If you are not ready to share the responsibility when accidents happen you should not play with others. If you are unwilling to speak up to end a scene when you need to, you are putting something which is your responsibility to address on someone else’s shoulders. This is not a statement about taking responsibility for predatory behaviors which violate negotiated boundaries, assault, rape, manipulation, or misuse. Those things are separate from being in a consensual scene which goes south for some reason, has an honest accident occur, or realizing halfway into it that what you thought you would enjoy is not something you want to continue to explore. In those latter instances you must be prepared to share in the responsibility of ending the scene and working with your partner to take care of any consequences resulting.
  • Am I capable of stopping a scene once it has begun (red-ing or safe-wording out) if I feel overwhelmed or change my mind about what I want? Continuing from the last question, it is very important that you are able to stop a thing when it feels too much. It is the responsibility of the Top/D-type to check-in and ask if everything is going alright, however no one can be expected to read your mind. Without clearly articulating what you need during a scene you cannot expect someone else to “just know” that you’re not into it anymore. If you are unable or unwilling to say “safeword/red/stop/mercy/slow down” or signal a scene to end in some way, you’re not a safe play partner and shouldn’t enter into play with someone who hasn’t consented to play with a person unwilling or unable to do these things.

A basic difference between abuse and BDSM lies in the ideals of consent and negotiation, as well as in taking responsibility for one’s actions. These values lead responsible Tops, Dominants, switches, subs, and bottoms to do their research about how to give and receive stimulation as safely, knowledgeably, and as ethically as they are capable of. In the BDSM community you’ll find people who play at all levels of intensity, and who have a vast array of skills. Skills in one area do not equal skills in another, and someone who has been in the scene for a very long time may or may not have the specific skills you’re looking for. Even experienced players continue to learn new tricks, take classes to improve skills they already have, and expand their knowledge about what can be done and how to do those things more safely. Some kinky activities may seem very easy and mainstream and other types of popular play many people set as hard limits without a second thought. The world of BDSM is a creative one, an inquisitive and experimental one, and one which thrives off of knowledge, practice, and growth.

If you’re interested in engaging in a scene that could end up breaking a bone, I recommend you approach someone who is studied at and skilled in rough body play. It will probably take time to find a Top or Dominant who would be willing to go that far with you. Trust works from both sides of play. The person Topping a scene which could potentially break a bone must trust that the person who is bottoming is actually consenting to that degree of stimulation, that they can handle the healing process and all it entails, and that they clearly understand and consent to potential long term consequences and complications. You will probably play with someone a number of times before you build that type of trust between you — if you find someone emotionally, mentally, and physically up for breaking someone’s bone on purpose. It may just be easier to take up boxing or find a fight club in your area…

One last thought I have regarding your letter is about the concept of it being “up to the person doing the beating”. This sentiment gives me pause, as it seems to take the responsibility of what you’re asking for off of you and putting it onto another person. It’s important to remember that at the end of the day, you have control and responsibility for your actions and instigations. You have control to stop a scene. You have control to negotiate for what you do and do not want to happen to your body. The Top/D-type may “take that control away” when you are in scene, but you, ultimately, set the pace for the scene and decide when it will end through your actions and inactions. When people speak of “consensual non-consent” in BDSM they are referring to a type of play or a relationship structure where people have agreed to allow the D-type person to “do as they wish”, and the s-type person must “obey and endure it”. These are generally scenes or arrangements with an agreed upon end time, which incorporates check-ins, utilizes stellar communication between players, and there is a safe-word in place. The emphasis is usually on the D-type deciding what type of play will happen and the s-type going along with it as far as they’re able and actually consenting to, rather than engaging in a pre-negotiated scene agreed upon by both parties. As you can imagine relationships such as these do not evolve without play partners knowing one another very well, or without a clear understanding of limits, health factors, interests, and rules in place already. Relationships like these do not happen overnight, nor do they evolve without a lot of consideration. Con-noncon requires the D-type to take on a huge amount of responsibility, and for an s-type to be very committed to managing their discipline. Far more frequently it is a fantasy rather than a regular practice, or a short term scene negotiation rather than a lifestyle choice.

Welcome to the land of figuring out how to get to the places you’re curious to find! Expect to start out slowly and to build one experience upon another. Expect to meet a variety of interesting and imaginative people who may or may not be interested in the same things you are. Expect to talk a *lot* about sex and kink and limits and be willing to process emotions and judgments and even self-shame or surprising revelations along the way. Play with awareness and play safely, responsibly, consensually, courteously, and negotiate realistically. Do your research and practice new skills. You’ll go further that way.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

Choosing Between Loves

My favorite comment about this photo was “Dr. Suess after dark”. I think that’s a pretty fitting description of my oeuvre… Mardi Gras 2018

This past year I have been going rounds back and forth trying to figure out what I should be focusing on in my life. Art or Kink? My ultimate answer is “both”, though anyone who hustles for a living knows that more than one career in the works makes it hard to streamline a business plan, and you feel as though you’re doing more work for multiple endeavors than you can fully utilize when focusing in one solitary direction. My interests and skills are diverse, as are my passions, and so I pursue multiple endeavors hoping to find wholeness and peace in time. Puzzling through how to improve my life on a severe budget with a workaholic’s workload is what keeps me… a workaholic.

I’ve recently settled into a housing situation which demands I make a larger amount of income than I’ve needed to make in a long time. My Patreon campaign which helps pay me to write this blog and invest in all of my artistic work is a large portion of my income, I also teach and Pro Dom sessions with people around BDSM skills, I teach artistic skills and identity explorations, I perform in shows, and I get hired to Direct, Produce, house/petsit, and as many other odd jobs as I can handle to pay my bills on time. To make ends meet in ways I am passionate about, I must constantly be on the hustle. I spend a great amount of time booking, networking, following up on dead ends, applying to opportunities I won’t get, researching where the money is and trying to find situations that I fit into which pay. I spend a lot of time reading, researching, organizing, developing programs for new clients’ specific needs. I dream, plan, create, draw, build, feed, and fantasize. There are too many things on my plate and they all look good. It feels overwhelming. I must start somewhere.

Recently I had two gigs back to back, the first was a kink training session, and the second was a ballet class. I was so happy over those couple days! For the BDSM gig I dressed as a strict school teacher, cane in hand. For the dance class I dressed as a ballet teacher: ballet pink tights, black leotard, bun, and ballet shoes (I could have carried a cane but decided I didn’t need to). During each class I spend time critiquing my client’s physical form, I led each student through a set of physical exercises repetitively, critiquing details (being a perfectionist pain in the ass), I assigned homework, and I sent both students home sore. After each class I felt full in my body, mind, and heart, and I had connected well with both students. Each are embarking on a development program with certains goals they’ve asked me for help achieving. Each student showed advancement between the beginning of our class and the end. I feel hopeful and excited about the journey each student is on.

The universe does not seem to be asking me to choose. I love this. It feels good to continue to be put through my paces as a trained artist through performing, creating new art pieces, and teaching, and it feels good to have an opportunity to work with more and more kinksters as a Dominant and skills coach.

What do I want to do ultimately? Well, that’s hard to say specifically, but the ideas I’m juggling right now are these:

  • Approach Brown University and ask about working on my Masters or Doctorate in Sexology coupled with Theater and Direction. For my thesis I would rewrite and expand on my solo show which delves into and explores sexuality and identity, No Shame.
  • Figure out some way to fund getting a Sexology Degree online so that I can expand what I teach and how I offer BDSM classes and counseling
  • Find a piercing studio to apprentice with and deepen my understanding of human anatomy, piercing technique, and handling the body for ritualistic and pain processing purposes
  • Tour the country with other Kinky Professionals and a Documentarian in a BDSMmobile teaching and exploring various communities around the country
  • Move to Paris and continue to do all the things I’m doing now, but in French…

Obviously all of these choices require fundraising. This is a consideration in everything I do creatively, especially in how fast I feel able to move forward with my plans. A lot of my life is spent feeling held back. My hope is that these current baby steps of momentum in my new city continue to build, and that in a year I’ll feel solidly engaged within all of my career paths. Specifically I want to be engaged and have more reliable free time to move and build socially and artistically. Thank you for reading, and if you or your wealthy friends like to support sex and kink positive artists please contact me about how, or check out the support links throughout my blog.

Play On My Friends,
~ Creature

Please support my work on Patreon. For one time donations click here: Support the Artist 
~Thank you.

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