Tuesday, October 23, 2012

On BDSM and the Range of Human Desire

I started in the Seattle Scene in the early 1990's. I'd had three different people urge me to go to their CSpace BDSM 101 classes and hang out at the gatherings after. One was a gay couple I knew were into kink, another was a threesome, and the third was actually from the Bay Area, and he flew out for the once a month classes. It was kind of scary that first class and day, and there are lessons from that very first class on negotiations that I still keep with me to this day.

Since then I've played privately, at private parties, and at CSpace Gatherings. I've played in Seattle, the Bay Area, Boston, Columbus, and London. I've done rope bondage, cuff and chain bondage, flogging, cutting, and fire play. I've stripped naked in front of a roomful of people and been cuffed up, blindfolded, and flogged until my entire back was bruised solid the next day. I was also kissed, hugged, held, and wrapped in blanket after by the same crowd. I've organized a gangbang for a couple that had no idea how to go about it. I've played with bi, gay, straight people of both genders. I have seen a man tie his lifelong partner to a chair and throw her into a pool and let her go down until she couldn't take it anymore... the intensity of that particular scene will never leave me. I have no labels for that level of relationship, and after that I also know that I can never say that I've lived the lifestyle.

I can't submit. I do not dominate unless given a very special set of dispensations by someone extraordinarily close to me. I am a dead-solid technically competent top. I have bottomed. I can switch mid-stream. I admire but cannot touch master-slave relationships. I have also seen how those labels and how the media present them fail to cover the expanse of what people can explore when they have safe and mutual consent. I love how Torquere calls for BDSM stories, or leather stories, or kink stories. They do NOT call for "dominants and submissives", like some other publishers, who have just left out a vast number of people who have very kinky lifestyles.

I also understand that the Scene isn't one coherent body, by any means. There's this lovely conceptual schism between the East Coast Leather Scene and the West Coast Leather Scene because of how the leathermen chose to express themselves early. Where, in general, the East Coast leathermen are far more ritualized, formal with what can or cannot be done if you're a Dominant or if you're a submissive. The West Coast is far more laissez faire about the whole thing, explore what you want with someone that cares about being on the other side of it. I remember being in Boston and having people comment on how the titles used between people, the stance the sub took, and how they held themselves as being of a particular training group. Of course, individuals buck both systems.

The problem is that the people away from major city centers, who have no resources other than media and stories learn all their practices from some writer's or producer's take on what it 'should' be for their story. Or worse yet, outright fantasy.

The thing I love most about working with Kelly is that we both shoulder some of that responsibility when we write for publication. We try to make it safe and real, do our best to include examples of how negotiations really could go, and how aftercare has to work. How respect can be a huge part of the mix. There are people who play with humiliation, and all power to them for getting what they want; but I also want to show that it doesn't have to be part of the mix for those that don't want it.

There. I've babbled a while, too. *laughs*

I do want to leave the two lessons in that first class that have stuck with me, and hopefully they'll stick with you if you want to explore more. The first is kind of funny: Never take a complete stranger home to have them tie you up there, because they can then just leave you there and steal everything in your house. The sad and funny thing was that three different people in that room had had that happen to them.

The second made me think a great deal about my setups for the rest of my life: Never do something that you're not willing to explain to an EMT or an emergency room doctor.

*laughs* There. The serious part is over, I promise. And now Prizes!! Anyone that comments on this entry or asks a question, cool or not, has a chance to win a copy of any one of our NEW AMSTERDAM STORIES or, if they prefer, one of our DONATION STORIES, past or future, even. We usually publish a donation story, one of our explorations of our characters, once a month.

So now, for you... What is the one thing you most wanted to know about BDSM?

cheers,
H.J. Raine

11 comments:

Kristi P said...

Although I love my life as a vanilla homemaker, I also love visiting different "worlds" as I read. Everything from sci-fi to high fantasy to paranormal to historical to kink float my boat, but I prefer to find these worlds inside a romance novel. Why? The Happily-Ever-After! I'm addicted to happy endings. Is that a kink? Maybe a fetish? Niether? Not sure because I have no clue how to define anything. I'm slowly learning from your books and blog posts where you usually answer the questions I didn't even know to ask. So, thank you!

The New Amsterdam series is a favorite of mine for several reasons. (1) The personalities of the characters just leap off the page. (2) The respect included in any power exchange and every relationship depicted is readily apparent. (3) The writing is engrossing, and the language is beautiful. (4) The happily-ever-afters are soooooooooo good.

I hope you never tire of writing because I will never tire of reading your and Kelly's work...you've definitely taught me a few things.

CB Conwy said...

@ Kristi: If happily ever afters is a fetish, then I'm kinky as well! Hey, maybe I'm just plain kinky...

Kristi P said...

@CB Thank goodness you are! I've been re-reading Tom and Mischa again...

CB Conwy said...

@ Kristi: You naughty girl;). I just wrote a super short about the boy Jeff gives his first kinky experience in "Saturday Night, Live", by the way - I'll let you know when it'll be published...

H.J. Raine said...

@Kristi: I think it's a lovely fetish to have, and I happen to share it, too! *laughs* It is satisfying to have happy endings in books, in all kinds of ways.

H.J. Raine said...

@CB: *giggles* I'd HOPE you're a little kinky, given what you've written!

H.J. Raine said...

@Kristi I'm very happy our books have also helped you figure stuff out as to what is out there! You're very very welcome in that.

I also love hearing what it is that you love from our books, especially when those are the things we work to put in!! Thank you so much!

CB Conwy said...

@ H.J. Raine: I might be a little... adventurous now and then...

H.J. Raine said...

@CB Conway: That's always where it starts. XD

Lin McShane said...

Hey miss Raine!!
I am so happy I got the read your intro as I had no idea that you had such a wealth of knowledge. I have enjoyed reading all your stories. I have not had a chance to buy the new one yet but I know I will love it cause I loved the others.
I now know why I like your stories so much, because they could be fact and not fiction. You and Kelly write so well together, you complement each other. I enjoy the stories you both write together the most but to be honest I will read just about anything either of you right.
Keep up the awesome work. <3

H.J. Raine said...

Hi, Miss Lin!

Thank you so much! It's very cool to know how much you enjoy what we do and how we do it. Very happy that our experience does shine through.

Thank you so much for your interest and I'm glad that our books are satisfying.

We'll do our best! <3