play parties

(The subject line isn’t actually a joke, although it sounds like one. I just think there should be a collective noun for kinky folk, like a flock of birds, a pride of lions, a [___] of kinky people. You know?)

Yeah, I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted anything. It’s been one of those summers. T. and I went away on vacation, and I returned to face a shitstorm at work (which is still continuing, alas), and that’s been pretty much all that’s consumed my energy and brain power for the past few months. Not very exciting.

However, T. and I recently went to a weekend-long kink event, and I thought that maybe I should drag the blog out of the mothballs and talk about it. (Hence my subject line — there were more than 100 people there [at least, it sure SEEMED that way at the play party!], but you get my point and my crappy attempt at a joke.)

The event offered 23 classes, in 5 time slots (so you could go to as many as 5 classes throughout the day) loosely arranged into tracks — i.e., you could attend all classes on rope, or all classes on lifestyle issues, etc. Because I’m a dilettante, I just jumped around and took classes on a few different themes.

I went to 2 classes that Graydancer taught — military-style bondage as well as his pretty well-known The Defining Moment class. (Completely unrelated to the class material, I’m in awe of how quickly he can tie. It’s really impressive, and just fun to watch.) The classes themselves were really helpful in giving me a new way to think about my kink, and how to create scenes that work for T. *and* I.

(And if that last bit doesn’t make sense — you may be asking yourself, “Why *wouldn’t* a scene work for both the top and the bottom?” — then I envy you your relationship(s) with your partner(s). There are quite a few scenes — mostly when I top — where I feel like I’m the one serving T., and *he’s* the one in charge, even though he’s the one tied up and being tormented.

And that sentiment deserves its own post, honestly. The bottom obviously deserves enjoyment out of a scene; I’m not saying that he doesn’t. But when I, as the top, feel like I’m not in charge, there’s something wrong.

I also realize that there are scenes where the bottom is *ordered* to tie up/torment the top; sometimes a top just wants to be beaten. And that might be the way we need to shift our view of our scenes. But that’s not what this entry is about, dang it!)

(Yes, the previous 3 paragraphs were a parenthetical. I’m verbose.)

Anyway, back to the classes I attended. The 2 that Graydancer presented were great. I should send him an e-mail to tell him that.

Another class I attended was “The Primal Self” in BDSM, presented by Jack Rinella. It was exactly the kind of nerdy, intellectual topic that I love, but it was also really relevant to life as a kinky person.

There was also a class on switches! This isn’t always the case at a kink event, no matter how large, although it seems like more and more, the bigger events at least have a “switches’ roundtable.” Anyway, this class was presented by Coral Mallow (that link is NOT from the event I attended), who is, as her bio states, a force of nature. She talked about the myriad ways that a person can be a switch, including gender, and how that might play — and/or change — at any given time.

The last class I took was for “novice” doms. At this point in my life as a switch, I still don’t have the kind of experience or confidence I’d like when I’m the one on top, so I figured that this class would help me, or at least point me in the right direction. And it did. (Side note: I’m always tickled by doms who are soft-spoken and unassuming, because they’re a delight compared to the loud, overbearing folks who seem to think that being loud and overbearing is what makes one a dom.) (And the dom who presented the class was a soft-spoken, unassuming guy, definitely. And yet his entire demeanor made it clear that he had a spine of steel. Metaphorically.)

The play party was one of the most well-planned ones I’ve ever attended. The venue where the event was held had enough space for there to be a HUGE main room for the party, as well as a side room and a separate “sensual space” play area. (I thought that “sensual space” was code for “lots of fucking on the floor!” but my cynical side was proven entirely wrong, and I am chagrined that I made that assumption.) The “sensual space” was MUCH quieter than the large play area, even though it had the same kind of play equipment that the larger space had (meaning, there were a lot of similar scenes — suspensions [including a self-suspension that BLEW ME AWAY], flogging, rope bondage, etc.); the difference was just in the intent of the space. It was supposed to be quieter and more intimate, and the people who played there adhered to that.

The large play area was like a CARNIVAL. I mean, really. There’s no other word for it. It was full, but not so crowded that it was hard to walk through. All the equipment was constantly in use, with a lot of really creative, high-energy scenes.

Since I don’t want to give away detail that isn’t mine to give, I’ll just list some of the types of play that was going on in the large dungeon: suspensions, takedowns, fire play, flogging, single-tail scenes, foot worship, rough impact play, spanking, caning — and that’s just what *I* saw; I’m sure there was lots more.

T. told me before the event that he wanted to be the top for the party, which was fine with me. The only problem was, there was so much going on around us, plus the music and all the other noises one hears in a playspace, that he just couldn’t concentrate enough to really top me. He gave it his level best, and tied me to a cross and flogged me a little bit, but he just couldn’t get his head into the game. (He started on my front side, and when he turned me around and immediately started Florentine (double) flogging my ass, without warming up, I *knew* he couldn’t concentrate.)

Honestly, I was okay with the premature discontinuation of our scene. I was exhausted after getting up at 6 a.m. to drive to the event, and a full day of classes. Don’t get me wrong; when we walked in to the party, I was fully on board to get a beating. But I was fine with stopping, too. I got to watch some amazing scenes I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to see, and I got to socialize with people I hadn’t seen in months, so that was all good, too.

And now that we’re home, I’m fighting off a cold. Honestly, every time I go to a large event, I bring home some sort of plague.

But other than the plague, it was a very good event, and I’m glad we went.

(This could alternatively be titled, “If Teppycat is Bottoming, It MUST Be Time to Talk to Her!”)

After my car’s iPod adapter was recently resurrected (yeah, first-world problems), I was listening to Graydancer‘s podcast, Ropecast, on the way home from work today. One of the things he was talking about with a group of people was play party etiquette, and it reminded me of what has been a constant theme in my kinky public life: if I’m bottoming at a play party, *someone* WILL come up and start talking to me, my top, or both of us.

WTF, right??? I thought everyone knew that actually talking to people WHILE THEY’RE IN A SCENE is uncool. Unbelievably un-fucking-cool, man. But I apparently have a sign tatttooed on my ass that says, “Please, come talk to me; why would I want to achieve subspace or any sort of intimacy with my partner?”

Literally every party I’ve ever played at — except one, which I will describe below — when I’ve been the bottom, people walk right up and start talking to me. Once, at a play party at an event (which means, yeah, a BIG play party, where you’d think people would be adhering to the rules lest they get bounced by the DMs), I was bottoming to T. He had me tied with my wrists above my head, attached to the crossbar of a pillory post. Because I’m self-conscious and have body image issues, I had on underpants (but nothing else). I have a lower-back tattoo (not to be trendy [although it’s nobody’s business *why* I have it]; rather, I had back surgery 5 years ago, and the tattoo serves to partially cover the scar and to also re-claim that part of my body).

While T. was pausing to switch floggers, someone walked up to him and asked him if he would PULL DOWN MY UNDERPANTS SO SHE COULD SEE THE REST OF MY TATTOO.

I think my eyeballs fell out of my head. WHO DOES THAT?!? That’s so fucking rude. Because (1) hello, we’re PLAYING, HERE; and (2) you want to see my tattoo, you come around to my face and ask ME (I have big-time boundary issues when it comes to my body, although I will grant that, if someone had never met me before that event, and then the first thing they saw of me was to watch me bottoming, it wouldn’t be an absurd conclusion to think that I was owned, and the appropriate person to ask would be my master).

But still. Even if I were owned, you still don’t walk up and ask to see someone’s slave’s tattoo while the master is changing floggers!

(Interestingly — or, really, NOT — when *I* top T. at parties, NO ONE comes up to talk to me or him. I have a very effective “Do NOT fuck with me or I will KILL YOU DEAD” demeanor. Plus, I don’t make eye contact with anyone while I’m topping, because I’m just hyper-focused like that.)

As for the party that was the exception, where no one walked up to try to talk to either of us during the scene: I had grumbled at length to T. before the scene about the fact that people always interrupt, and I felt like putting up a sign that said “Stay the Fuck Away!” Because T. is a nicer person than I am, we compromised and, on the back of a chair that was between us and the rest of the party, taped a sign that said, “Do Not Talk To The Animals Or They’ll Bite! You Have Been Warned!”

Worked like a charm. But, seriously? It shouldn’t take a sign, you know?

If I scene with someone who isn’t T., it’s only ever at a play party, never in private. That’s simply because, the way I’m wired, whenever I play with someone other than T. it’s a casual, less-intimate interaction to me. Enjoyable, but casual. And I think that playing in “public” (at a party) helps it to be more casual — for me, at least.

I’ve done electric play with one dom at parties, and I’ve done some impact play with another dom at parties, and it was really just about the sensation itself — the objective of the scene was just about giving and receiving pain/impact.

T. and I play differently than that with each other, because we (obviously) have a different relationship than I have with other play partners.

I guess the best way that I can explain it is that there can be, for me, different goals when I scene with someone. And I can have a scene that’s only about the pain/impact/sensation/etc. with a casual partner. We both have to know that from the start, but that’s the point of negotiation.

Or, to put it even more simply, sometimes I just need a good flogging. And that’s all it is.

T. tends to like harder impact play than I’m used to doing as a top, and so he’ll bottom to other people once in a while, and it’s just about getting his butt seriously kicked by someone who’s really good at it. He and I had to decide “ground rules” about what type of play we were comfortable with the other one doing with other people, but fortunately we have the same point of view, so it was easy to agree on what type of play was okay with other people and what type of play was not okay.

And it definitely helps if I know who he’s bottoming to (or vice versa). That makes things much more comfortable in my mind.

I know that there are countless ways for people to decide who they’ll play with, and under what circumstances, and what limits they have, etc. My way is no more “right” or “wrong” than anyone else’s — but it IS right for me.

So, last night’s party. I got my ass beaten well and thoroughly. And I was stubborn and didn’t want to call yellow to get T. to tone it down, so I’m really fucking sore today, and I have massive sub drop.

It was pretty basic beating: me, bent over a bench, and T. just pounding on my ass, upper back, the backs of my thighs, and, oh, MY ASS some more. He alternated various floggers (thuddy deerskin, sting-y owie rubber) with a riding crop and his own evil hands (in leather gloves). He warmed me up, but it was one of those nights where my ass just couldn’t take a lot of pain.

[I have a weird, weird ass. Most other subs/bottoms I know are able to take *more* pain as they warm up and get into the beating, rather than *less* pain. Not me. It’s like my ass has a pre-set amount of pain it can take, and then it’s finished.]

I tend to not be extremely vocal when I’m bottoming, even when I’m getting beaten. I’ll yelp once in a while, or make some other noise of approval/discomfort, but in general I’m a pretty quiet bottom.

Not last night. Because everything just *hurt,* I kept actually saying “Ow,” repeatedly. And loudly. More like yelling. And I got kind of irritated with T., because he knows how I bottom, and knows that I don’t get vocal, so I assumed that when he realized how vocal I was being, he’d take that as a cue to either (1) dial back how hard he was hitting, or (2) move to a different target, rather than hitting the same spot over and over and over. But he didn’t (at least, not as quickly as I would have liked).

I couldn’t tell if he was *trying* to get me to call yellow, or not. (And I’m well aware that “Ow” is not a safeword.)

I’m a big believer in safewords (I wrote about this a few entries back), but I *don’t* consider safewords to be an excuse for the top to ignore all other signs of distress. I consider safewords to be a failsafe, a last resort. But if you’re my top, and I’m reacting in a different way to a type of play we’ve done countless times before, maybe you should stop and think about WHY THAT IS.

We played for about 45 minutes, and I did call yellow once, when T. just wouldn’t stop with the really hard strokes to my ass, and I asked him to please leave my ass alone for a while. And he acquiesced, but I was still annoyed that he wasn’t reading my reactions as quickly and clearly as I thought he should. I was starting to think he *was* aware that I was reacting in an unusual manner (for me), but was choosing to ignore it. (He wasn’t. Choosing to ignore it, that is.)

I was completely endorphin-stupid when we were finished, and I ate all the cake in the WORLD. I’m starving today — T. already made us a huge brunch with cheese-o-riffic eggs, potatoes, turkey bacon (for me), english muffins, strawberries, and coffee; still, I feel like I could eat anything that isn’t actively decomposing. And I have big time sub drop. Stupid endorphins.

T. and I talked this morning about the “Hey, did you notice that I was reacting in a way I *never had before*? Then why didn’t you DO SOMETHING about it?” issue. And he did say that, yeah, he noticed that I was reacting in an atypical manner, but he didn’t think it was cause for alarm.

And I said no, not cause for alarm per se, but damn close enough to make me think about ending the scene, which ruins the fun for me AND you, buddy. So he said he’d pay closer attention to my reaction in the future, and adjust accordingly (like alternating really hard strokes with some less-hard ones, instead of all hard, all the time).

Man, my ass is SORE.

On edit: I’m afraid that I made T. sound like a dick in this entry, and that’s not at all what I mean. A lot of my irritation was because *I* thought he should have picked up on the nuances of my reactions with telepathic clarity. And that’s not fair on my part. Also, I was really reluctant to call yellow, because I feel like a big wimp whenever I call yellow. Again, that’s not fair to T., when it’s an issue of *my* stubborn pride.

He also wasn’t just whomping on one area of my ass over and over and over again for long stretches of time; it just felt like it to my ass. Frankly, all it takes is more than one hard stroke in a row to the same area, and that’s enough to qualify (to my ass) as “over and over.” He *did* move to different targets, and *did* alternate how hard/soft he was hitting; it just didn’t seem like it happened quickly enough to make my ass happy.

My upper back can take a hell of a lot more abuse than my ass can, which, again, is freaking weird.

Anyway. T. wasn’t being a dick; he was being a top. He wasn’t being telepathic, but then, that wasn’t part of the scene.

One of the local groups is having a play party tonight.

T. has informed me that he’s feeling toppy.


Full report later.

[edit] I think I’ll do some yoga, so that I can move all my parts tomorrow….

T. and I went to a local BDSM group’s party for New Year’s Eve. It was a small group, but still ended up being a lot of fun. (Which is, I should say, uncommon for me; it’s been my track record that New Year’s Eve ends up sucking, or at least being disappointing. With all the hype, how could it *not* be at least a little disappointing? In the past 5 years, 2 of those New Year’s Eves I’ve just stayed home and been asleep before midnight, and I was perfectly happy. But this year’s was low-key kinky fun, with some sparkling wine and Dick Clark at midnight.)

For a change, I was the bottom this time, and T. busted out his Christmas gift from me (one of them) — Twisted Monk’s “White Linen” hemp rope (made from hemp, looks and feels linen-ish) — and, after I asked nicely, performed some face/head bondage (that picture is NOT of me; it’s just an illustration for anyone unfamiliar with face bondage).

The White Linen hemp is REALLY nice rope, folks. It’s soft like well-washed cotton line or magician’s rope (which is cotton), so it feels SO nice on skin, and doesn’t have any roughness. (Actually, I kind of like hemp’s small amount of roughness on my wrists, arms, legs, ankles, etc., but not on my face. I have sensitive skin, and I didn’t want to explain an intricate pattern of rope burn/rash on my face to my co-workers on January 2!)

It has virtually zero “burn” when it’s dragged at high speed across bare skin, which, again, is stellar for face bondage. And, because it actually IS hemp, it holds knots like all other hemp rope does (i.e., very well). It’s good stuff.

(No, I am in no way affiliated with Twisted Monk; I’m just a satisfied and rope-intoxicated customer.)

If you’ve never been the recipient of face/head bondage, I highly recommend it. It’s very intimate, as you might suspect, which leads to some amazing energy between the top and bottom; at least, it did with T. and me. I haven’t yet tried to perform face bondage, so I don’t know what it’s like from the top’s POV, but I can tell you how it *seemed* to affect T.

He was practically buzzing with power, if that makes any sense. It was clear that T. was fully aware of just how powerful putting rope on someone’s head can be. And as the bottom, let me be clear: it’s VERY powerful. It’s intimate and hypnotic, and the feel of the rope is soft and soothing, yet I was really aware of the fact that, yeah, my HEAD was restrained, and T. had the rope in his hands.

Enjoying the feel of the ropes, and the amazing intimacy and vulnerability and awareness of how powerful T. felt all combined to make the experience one huge rush for me. I’ve heard the term “ropespace” used before, and I think I finally get it now.

Happy New Year, indeed.

Saturday night, T. and I went to the party I mentioned earlier. There was Christmas-themed merriment, and even a low-budget kinky gift exchange (we got a bag full of wooden clothespins, embroidery floss [good for CBT], and thick black rope, all of which we will put to good use [and by “good,” I mean “devious and evil”]). 

One of the other guests was a femdom who plays pretty hard, and that’s what T. was really wanting. So that’s what he got. I helped a little, but mostly I watched, which was fucking HOT. I forgot how much of a voyeur I am. (Voyeuse?) 

I secured T. to a St. Andrew’s cross — his wrists were tied with rope, but his legs were secured to the cross with pallet wrap (green for one leg, red for the the other — holiday cheer abounded). He asked for a blindfold, because he likes to wallow in the beating and not be distracted by anything else in the room. 

The femdom told him that, since they had never played before, she was going to start off pretty hard, to see at what point he’d call yellow, so that she could get a sense of his limits. Heh. She worked him over with a vast and vicious variety of floggers, from a soft thuddy deerskin one, to one made of WIDE strips of leather (about 2 inches each), and some nasty ones that sting like hell. The only time T. called yellow was when she used a riding crop with a cat-shaped end (not the exact one in the link, but close) on his ass. He can take canes and crops and such, but has to warm up to them, and that’s not really what she did with him. So she went back to flogging with a mesmerizing force. 

Seriously, it was hot as hell to watch. First of all, her form with the flogger is really lovely — fluid (but controlled); in fact, so fluid that you don’t really realize just how fucking hard she’s hitting until the poor victim yelps and yowls and screams.  

Mostly, though, watching T. react to each blow, trying to twist away but unable to, yanking on the ropes around his wrists and pulling his legs away from the cross as much as the wrap would let him — yeah. So hot. He’s so beautiful like that, and I admit that part of it is purely aesthetic, because I love watching the muscles in his back work as he struggles in the ropes. But I also like the struggle itself. 

After about 15 minutes, the femdom paused and came over to me and said, “You’ll have to tell me when he’s had enough, because I’m not familiar with his reactions.” I chuckled and said that I would, but that T. has a wide masochistic streak and probably wasn’t close to having enough. And I went over to T.’s side, and stroked his back and told him what a good boy he was being, and adjusted his blindfold, and asked him if he wanted more. He immediately nodded and said yes. I rolled my eyes and gestured to the femdom to keep on beating. She handed me a flogger and told me to join in if I liked. (Of course I like!) 

I flogged T. a little, but it was a little difficult with an unfamiliar flogger — you get used to the weight of your own floggers, and their length, so that you know how far away to stand to get the desired impact on a naked ass. But I adjusted decently, and flogged a little bit. 

Then I picked up the kitty riding crop (yeah, the one that had made T. call yellow earlier), and started just tapping him lightly with it, all over his back and shoulders. Tapping very very quickly, though, with the flat of the cat end, which stings, but in a brief, staccato way. He didn’t call yellow, but it made him squirm and struggle mightily (though futilely). 

Then we tag-teamed on the flogging for a little while, and then I let her finish up. I could tell that T. was getting tired, although he was doggedly hanging in there, not wanting to be finished. I could ALSO tell that the femdom was getting tired — beating on someone for that long, that strenuously, is WORK! So I asked T. if he was ready to be finished (rather than asking him if he wanted more, because he probably would have said yes to more), and he nodded slowly and said yes. 

I got him down from the cross and gave him water and a blanket and super-snuggly aftercare for a while. And then he got dressed and we rejoined the party.  

I felt a teeny bit guilty later, that I got so much enjoyment from so little (comparatively) work on my part. But, really, not *that* much guilt. 

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