Teaching and Learning

I’ve been having a blast teaching about kink and gender up and down the east coast for the past couple weeks — and more is to come! I have learned a lot on this tour too. Practicing something over and over again (albeit with slightly different variations each time) has the benefit of clearly pointing out my flustered spots and the places I need improving. I’m thankful for the opportunity to so quickly focus and get stronger at this thing I love doing.

I’ve taught a pretty wide range of audiences so far. They’ve consisted of: people who are generally vanilla and/or kink curious and interested in picking up some skills casually for the bedroom, I’ve taught people in a tight knit regularly playing BDSM community who were already very comfortable with one another, I’ve taught within a couple intentional communities made up of people who all know each other pretty well but don’t necessarily play with each other at all, and I’ve taught a private class for a couple wanting to explore new ideas with my help…

I’m not going over the material radically differently from group to group, but I do realize that I’m covering the material organizationally differently in response to the room I’m in. Working with the couple there was a heavier attention on encouragement to try things and not be afraid, we also focused on conversations about how to communicate in the moment about what is desired, and how to negotiate the specifics of a scene. In the group where everyone knew one another well and were comfortable playing with each other already my emphasis became challenging them to switch sides and learn something new about what it’s like to connect in different ways than they’re used to — to worry less about the skills and more about the experience being had on both sides of play. In the groups which were community oriented I realized I was best put to the job of uncovering and mediating some of the conversations already happening between community members on the topic we were covering so that we could move beyond those concepts during class and get back to the curriculum I had prepared; I found myself asking the group to explore less fearfully and know that it was ok not to “get it right”. Finally, the groups who are looking for fun in new places and don’t have a preexisting relationship with others in the room are the group type I teach to most frequently, and they are generally easy and attentive, ask questions, and are appreciative at the end. It’s interesting how pre-existing relationships between audience members on a group level can change the dynamic of a room — it seems obvious, but I’ve had less opportunity to expore those situations before this tour.

One thing I realize I need to do is come up with a solid beginner’s spiel. I find I too easily respond to the needs of my crowd on a friendly level without holding my own and working through nitty gritty details before anything else happens. I need to respond more firmly to side commentary so it doesn’t usurp the flow of what I’m teaching. I need to have a clearer safety spiel/disclaimer — one that doesn’t assume people will do their research without me actually telling them “this is a quick introduction to an idea, you need to do some further research and study what can go wrong before getting into this type of play yourself”. I realize my own propensity for exhaustive research is not a value or behavior of everyone’s before jumping in…

To honing my skills further, seeing ever more broadly, and continuing to have opportunities to serve the projects of my passions.

Play On My Friends,
~ Karin

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