Saturday, May 5, 2012
by Lady Elsa. Inspired by and adapted from "The Invitation" by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
It doesn't interest me how many floggers you own,
or what famous whipmaker crafted them.
I want to know what you feel as you use them, or as they are used on you,
and whether you consider the person on the other end as that happens.
It doesn't interest me how many years of experience you've had
I want to know whether that time was spent
in the service of something grander than your own agenda.
It doesn't interest me how many slaves you've had,
or what rules you imposed on them.
I want to know whether being under your control made them better people,
and what you learned from their service to you.
It doesn't interest me what events you've attended,
or what club offices you have held.
I want to know whether you can be counted on
to help tear down a dungeon at 3 a.m.,
and whether you'll miss a great workshop
because you're talking with a frightened newcomer in the lobby
It doesn't interest me how much leather you wear,
or the ceremonies or people you got it from
I want to know if what you are wearing makes you feel alive and real,
and whether the spirit of your tribe flows through you as you wear it.
I want to know if you can wrap up a sobbing, naked body in your arms,
of any size and gender, and sit in silent support
as they move through the dark passageways of the mind
that lead to their liberation.
I want to know if you can see beauty
in the practice of a fetish different from your own
and find and feel the humanness in that experience.
It doesn't interest me what type of genitals you have,
Or what types of bodies turn you on.
I want to know if you are of my tribe,
my people, my values,
my blood, my heart.
*Reprinted with permission of Lady Elsa. Original posting on FetLife here*
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Power exchange can be expressed by any action. The action that expresses the exchange of power is like the celery that carries the cream cheese. It’s a vehicle, neutral in itself, charged only by the fact that one person commands and the other obeys.
And power exchange itself doesn’t get us a pervert label. It’s part of the mainstream in intimate relationships. Consider “traditional marriage.” The difference, and the thing that gets us considered perverted, is the diversity of our expression and the fact that we choose it rather than allowing our culture to dictate it. Kink is part of that controversial diversity.
Despite all this, we perpetuate our own oppression by carrying social stereotypes into our D/s. Gender roles are a prime example. There’s no reason why doing the dishes should be either a female or a submissive task . . . yet I observe a strong trend towards assuming that subs/slaves are female and that their submission is expressed in domestic service. And I suspect that many of the problems Dommes and male subs face are based in vanilla gender expectations.
And we generate our own stereotypes and labels from within as well, thereby generating both misunderstanding and disrespect. Examples are myriad, ranging from relationship assumptions to the nature and capabilities of people based on whether they’re Dominant or submissive. I can’t tell you how discouraging it is to feel myself facing, as a submissive in my theoretically revolutionary community, a similar set of limiting stereotypes to what I face as a woman in the vanilla world.
So here we are, wanting community, sharing a deeply primal human experience, yet united primarily by our diversity. How can we talk to each other, learn from each other, when each of our relationships has its own vocabulary? Even the word “submission” is defined differently by different people, and each definition describes a valid experience.
I would argue that “education” is something to be approached with care. It’s human to want validation and reassurance that we’re succeeding in the dynamic we’re creating. However, creation is individual. As Marge Piercy said about writing:
“The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms
is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall . . .”
In M/s and D/s, what classes can offer us is techniques and somebody else’s preferences.
What we each bring to the table is ourselves. Our own experience, our own priorities and choices, our thoughts on what is right for us. Not for our neighbors. And we can bring open ears for the lives of others. I believe that if we could listen to each other’s lives without feeling a direct or implied pressure to be like them, if we could take what’s right for us while respectfully leaving the rest, if we could act towards each other based on understanding and acceptance of each other’s individual preferences, we could learn more and do less damage to ourselves and others.
To my mind, what power exchange relationships offer us is a chance to live one of the most demanding spiritual tenets I know of: the Wiccan Rede. “And it harm none, do as you will.”
Thanks for reading.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Due to popular demand, we'll hold again our "RLV for absolute beginners" 1-hour workshop in Fallen tonight. If you missed it last time, here's your chance to come and learn the basics about it, dispel some myths and see how it can be used to positively enhance your SL practice of BDSM. Everyone welcome, voice/text. Hosted by Eldric Westland at Fallen Angels BDSM Club and Dungeon.
Aubrey Composer: FCI Sex Talk ~5pm SLT~ The triumphant return of Sex Talk tonight 5pm to 7pm SLT. Join Aubrey Composer as we go back to basics and define fetishes, kinks, and the like in a (hopefully) engaging way in an inclusive environment Furry Creek Inn hosts events every 2 weeks. Stay tuned to the google calendar link on this page to attend courses of your interest.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Fireside Discussion hosted at 8pm at Dominus Slave Academy
Mirjam Munro's lecture on "Basic rules for safe sane consentual BDSM" (pt. 3 of 3) is STARTING NOW (11 am SLT) at the Ancient Theatre of the D/s academy. Text chat, the lecture can be enjoyed independently of having attended the previous parts. This image is Mirjam greeting guests as they Arrive
Dealing with Stress . As a Dom are you to not let it affect you with your sub? Should you show your sub that you are stressed , grief, or loss? Dose showing your submissive show you to be a weak Dom or one that is strong enough in themselves to show real feelings? As a sub should you step up and try to take care of your Dom ? As a sub when you feel lost or stressed do you need to tell your Dom? Dose it make you a whiny sub to talk about these things? This will be in Voice and text come join the talk !! With Shyone Bergan at Total Power Exchange and Chris Quartz
Monday, March 5, 2012
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Aces Provides public information about the Network.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
This tragic event made me think ... made me think of talents, the light that we have. It is what we show of it that will persist and survive the event of our life's end. It is what carries a meaning by the meaning it has for the heart and life of other people. Let's dare to stand in the light and shine to our potential.
Listen to "One Moment in Time", sung by Whitney Houston at the Grammy Awards:
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The following is from The National Leather International Association Domestic Violence Project online flyer. I have included the link to the original at the end of this post which includes phone numbers for the NLA-I, their main web site, as well as other resources. A.C.E.S. in-world also has a notecard that contains resources as well. Just ask an A.C.E.S. Facilitator or contact JeZeBeLe Dagger, Rory Glenwalker, Jovial Denimore, or our Ombusmen for this information.
"Know The Difference"
Since there is very little education or support in mainstream society about the BDSM lifestyle it may be hard for some individuals to define the line between what is domestic violence and what is not. Many individuals still have a tendency to label our activities, lifestyle, and BDSM practices as insane or abusive no matter how highly skilled we become or how long we have studied the techniques to master specific “crafts.” Domestic violence is when one person harms or misuses another, with the intent to control in nonconsensual ways. Domestic violence can occur between any two or more intimates. Many people believe domestic violence can only happen to submissives or novices. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of their race, gender, or role in the BDSM lifestyle. Non-consensual dominance and control, also known as “domestic violence”, may come in many forms: physical abuse, threats of physical abuse, emotional abuse, threatening phone calls, disturbances at a place of employment, and stalking.
Healthy BDSM is when two or more consenting adults consent to exchange energy, power, sensations, or experiences (however extreme) in ways that fuel their mutual happiness and increase self esteem. In a healthy BDSM relationship all parties involved are actively invested in the well-being of each other and themselves. Many individuals use “safewords” as a way to distinguish their level of agreement. However, there are a number of other healthy BDSM practitioners who do not. The use of safewords is NOT the only way to distinguish consent.
If you are having lingering feelings that “this isn’t right” or that “something is wrong with this picture” then there is a cause for further consideration. It may not be abuse, but it is important to listen to your internal alarms and explore any areas that you are concerned with. An unhealthy BDSM relationship will have one (or more) partners acting in ways that create harm to someone. This harm can be physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, sexual, social, or economic. In an abusive relationship you may notice the following:
• Abuser may coerce or force a victim into agreements without their full informed consent, especially longterm contracts with newcomers.
• Abuser may manipulate a victim into financial or emotional dependence without taking precautions should conflict occur or the need to leave arise.
• Abuser may exert non-consensual control, dominance or abuse of a partners children or make demands that go against maternal or paternal responsibilities. (I.E. Restricting access to children as punishment.)
• Abuser may use threats of abandonment or loss of current contract if new demands are not met.
• Abuser may force victim to do things alone, together, or with others in ways that violate or compromise previous negotiations.
• Abuser may use name calling, mind games, denial of human necessities like food, water, shelter as needed, health care and so forth, especially in ways that reduce a victim’s self-esteem.
• Abuser may threaten to expose victim or your lifestyle to “vanilla” co-workers, family members, or children.
• Abuser may initiate Inappropriate or harmful punishments or withhold appreciation or affection as punishment.
• Abuser may deny a behavior is abusive and/or may minimize abuse. The abuser may also accuse you of making abuse up, not being submissive/Dominant enough, and so forth.
Link to complete flyer for the National Leather Association Domestic Violence Project
Sunday, February 5, 2012
I recently read an article about Trust on http://www.psychologytoday.com. It has greatly inspired me and made me think of implications of trust in the context of intimate relationships as well, even though this article deals with trust at the workplace.
In my opinion a lot of the thoughts presented by the author Nan S. Russell can be related to trust in the context of an intimate relationship too. We so often talk about trust and how important it is to make D/s relationships work, for example. I hope that this article may feed some contents and deeper level thoughts to the term "trust" that we so often toss in at discussions among people interested in BDSM.
I'd be glad if a discussion about the ideas presented could develop in the comments area of this blog.
7 Misunderstood Truths About Workplace Trust
- Authentic Trust at Work
Published on December 31, 2011 by Nan S. Russell in Trust: The New Workplace Currency
Trust is the most misunderstood word at work, resulting in perceptions of broken promises and trampled expectations. People mean different things when they use the word. But the new workplace currency of trust is centered on authentic trust. Authentic trust comes from authentic people.
Only when there is a commitment to the relationship is authentic trust built. When mutual commitments are delivered without concern for personal advantage or attempted manipulation or control, trust grows.
Consider these misunderstood truths about authentic trust - the kind of trust that builds workplaces and ignites engagement:
1. Trust is not always a good thing.
There are many types of trust. Non-authentic, basic trust can be unrealistic, naïve, foolish, or blind. Yet, many people still operate at work with this simple kind of trust most of us started with as babies. Childlike trust is not authentic trust. It's not the kind of trust that builds work relationships. Trust is not inherently good or not good. It's how and when it's applied.
2. Mistrust is not the opposite of trust. Control is.
Notice where there is a lack of authentic trust and you'll see controlling people. Giving trust is a choice to be made but once it's given, accountability tied with freedom is at its core.
3. There is always risk when giving trust.
Authentic trust is an action developed through critical thought and experience. It doesn't deny the past or ignore the possibility of future trust broken, either intentional or unintentional. Those operating with authentic trust weigh the risks and benefits before giving it.
4. Trust is a process.
Authentic trust is not a screensaver waiting in the background until it's needed. It's not the glue that holds things together. Authentic trust is a learned emotional skill. It involves an ongoing process of relationship building, where the relationship is more important than any one particular outcome.
5. Trust is about people not things.
Trust involves interpersonal engagement. We may use the word, associating trust with things as well as people, but one can't really "trust" their car. We confuse trust with "dependable" or "reliable." Authentic trust requires commitments made and commitments honored. It necessitates decision, action, and response.
6. Trust is conditional.
There are limits and conditions with authentic trust. When we say we trust someone, there is a presumed statement of conditionality. I may trust my mechanic to work on my car, but I don't trust him to do my root canal.
7. To get trust you must give it.
If you want to be trusted you must first give trust. You may be loveable, but that won't get you love - loving will. Sharing, not hoarding information gets you communication, and respect comes by respecting others. As a relationship process, authentic trust is no different. Contrary to popular belief, trust is not earned. You start trust by giving trust.
Authentic trust, like love, is cultivated, grown, and nurtured. We make authentic trust. We make it by what we do and how we do it. We make it by what we say and how we say it. We make it by showing up and being authentic. We make it by giving it away.
The article is adapted from my book, Hitting Your Stride: Your Work, Your Work.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
I have mused before on the nature of submission, on my experience of submission as a positive, active state rather than an absence of reactance - or absence of anything else, for that matter. Thinking more deeply - what is at the core of submission (and kink) for me? And I find that it is the same thing that is at the core of a primary relationship: intimacy.
For me, sex, kink and D/s are vehicles for intimacy. That state of committed, connected, loving vulnerability is what holds the erotic/energetic/spiritual charge required both for sexual arousal and for the gratification of being controlled. And for me, that intimacy is equivalent to (and reserved for) life partnership. It’s all facets of the same jewel.
Compliance, on the other hand, is either unrelated or opposed to intimacy. When I use the c and q system in a discussion, I am not in an intimate relationship. On the contrary, I am engaging my adult self in collaboration with (hopefully) other adults to maintain a social consensus that allows us all to speak and be heard. When I choose to be polite to the nice police officer to avoid the consequences of saying what I really think, that is the opposite of intimacy. Following hierarchy or laws does bring up the ethical issue of when one decides that a custom or law is too unjust to obey; I think this is related to, but not equivalent to, a Dom/me, sub or slave’s need to evaluate the health and sanity of commands.
Because of the above, I share the feelings that someone expressed during a recent discussion. Equating my submission to my Master with my complying with hierarchy or law feels both inaccurate and disrespectful.
When I was a City girl in the Gorean town of Herlit, I was not in a submitted relationship. Herlit’s City collar gave me a place to belong, a place to contribute, the felt protection of a group, a recognized role in an established social context. My complying with the “rules” of that role was something I did with joy because it reinforced the belonging, but, for me, it was not submission. I think that sense of belonging is completely valid and valuable, and that many SL D/s households offer exactly that to their members, both in Gor and in D/s.
I believe that the experience of community and power exchange is multifaceted, and that different people get qualitatively different things, at different times, from a number of separate activities that are all labeled “submission.” We need more words. We need better ways to respect each other. Respecting each others’ kink or family structure is too superficial. We need to respect each others’ emotional, energetic and spiritual reality, and recognize the limitations of our language.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
In the Cult of the Duck (COTD)**, the safety and well-being of submissives is never far from our hearts. Eager to protect our community, we have benefited by the lessons of history and the paths of those who have gone before, and in a grand Old Tradition we introduce the justice arm of our organisation: the COTD D/s Council of Inquisitions. The Council’s motto is borrowed without permission from the ever-thoughtful Vasquez, of Aliens fame.
First we honor the Duck, Duckus Maximus, The One True Leader of our Cult. His titles within the Council: “Le Petite Inquisitore,” more formally “Le Inquisitore Canard,” or, in His most fearsome role, “Duckquemada.” Then to facilitators and sim owners in the Council we provide the title of “Inquisitore,” which tag must be worn during all official and unofficial questionings and spreadings of rumor. We reserve the title “Le Grande Inquisitore” for those few who can demonstrate extensive experience initiating and directing Witch Hunts. For the general public, we provide the more direct title of “Bloodsport Fan.”
Our reference in the Council of Inquisitions is the Duckeus Mallificarum. This venerable judicial handbook outlines the three elements necessary for predation: the presence of a Dominant, the implication of power exchange, and the dissatisfaction of a submissive. Based on the presence of these three elements, the Duckeus lays out how to disseminate accusations, encourage ostracizing behavior and even formally charge the guilty party while the Inquisitore skillfully avoids any personal consequence or the need for messy face to face confrontations.
The D/s Council of Inquisitions is standing by to provide inquisitions in the wake of YOUR relationship disappointments . . . or for those of friends, acquaintances or total strangers that you heard about at a random munch. Call at the first vague hint of displeasure, there is no need for proof or even that the accusation be plausible. Remember, there is One True Way to perform effective character assassination. Our anatidine Inquisitors have earned their Feathers. Don’t try your inquisition at home . . . call COTD, shiver as you watch our trained professionals whip friends, acquaintances and uninvolved bystanders into a blood-seeking frenzy!
**The Cult of the Duck was founded by Ryn Hax and Meadow Theas, and is The One True D/s Self-Mocking Cult. Unlike other, inferior cults, COTD does not rely on mocking from outside the organization, but provides mocking from within as our primary Cult activity. COTD was hatched in the nest of recent flaps regarding such hot topics as cults and witch hunts.