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Kink and Politics

Over the past two decades I have seen a number of BDSM organizations, clubs, parties implode due to politics in the kink community. I’ve also seen personal politics force people out of the community. I have to remind myself of a concept a former partner and I shared that said, “We (the BDSM ‘community’) are just a microcosm of the greater social community.” In other words, what you find in the BDSM community is only a representative of what you will find outside of it.

dontvteWhen I was a young girl I was very active in current events and I believed we, as individuals and as groups, could make a difference. Maybe parts of me have become hardened from life experiences or maybe it is indifference? Either way, a long time ago I began distancing myself from what I viewed as the negative forces in the world. First it was in small ways and then steps became larger and larger. One of the first steps I took at distancing myself from the negative energy that involves political things was to stop viewing television. It’s interesting to me to watch the reaction of people when I tell them I haven’t watched television in 15 years. Then I decided to stop voting. That was hard. It was particularly hard for me, because for many years I had a motto, “If you don’t vote, then you have no voice, and your opinion doesn’t count.” Holding myself to that standard was a hard pill to swallow. I have come to believe my views are not in alignment to that of my country. At times I have thought about leaving the United States and giving up my citizenship. I find myself at times isolated and unable to participate in some conversation due to my intentional detachment from all that is political.  My detachment is because of my strong opinions. I feel too often that I cannot align with the majority and worse I cannot be understood by the majority. The way I have dealt with this loss of voice is to choose to not participate consciously in the conversation.

KeepCalmBDSMIt seems apparent that I cannot escape politics even in my leather. Politics is alive and well in the kink world. There are times that I see a group struggle, a kink/fetish/leather person struggle, or our subculture struggle and it hard to stay quiet. I want my little world to be calm, peaceful, and structured! These politics cause chaos and thus… woe is unto me. I have to laugh at my silliness to think I can escape politics. I do try though, oh yes, I do try.

Last week I went to the New York Female sub/slave Forum Group that meets monthly at Purple Passion. When I moved to New York I looked specifically for an all woman’s group to fill what I had enjoyed in Florida at WOLF (Women of Leather Florida) and this was the one I found. Unfortunately I had missed the past two month’s meetings. I was extra happy to be attending, since I had finally gotten my little sister jade to come along for her first time at this group. I was disappointed to see the lowest attendance I can recall. Regardless of the numbers we had a good time and a great discussion. Frankly the discussion might not have been as good if it had been a large group. The size of the group made us all feel comfortable to speak very personally about serious issues specific to BDSM relationships. It was definitely not novice level topic and conversation. I left this meeting though thinking about how personal politics has possibly affected the attendance of this group. I like this discussion group and I realize that if I want this group to continue then I need to show up more consistently. So, this is how I vote now. I vote with my attendance. And the great thing is that I don’t have to choose sides. I can attend both this old group and a newer one that seems to be taking the place of the old one. It left me a bit sad that the attendance was so low and wondering if the women who used to attend really no longer see the value of this discussion and support group?

I attended my favorite group, MAsT Metro NY this past year with fervor. It seems that now this group is also in a growth or implode impasse. I love this group and it has been my home since the first month I moved to NYC two years ago. I literally joined as a member the first meeting I attended. I just knew, the way a mother knows a good apple when she see it. This group has been around for 13 years. A new group is forming, but its purpose is not take the place of the other existing group. People forming the new group as far as I know still planned to attend the older group and support it. Not that I participated heavily in the discussion, but at this point I have given up reading the online political conversations period. It smells too much of political jockeying for position. Instead swimming around the murky politically charged waters, last night I decided to shut down my outside voice and I will speak with my vote. I do not like this mixing of politics with my kink. I am starting to again remember why I prefer the quiet and look with disdain at politics.

The mixing of politics and kink would seem to be unescapable. I remember a BDSM pansexual social/educational organization called S.P.I.C.E. in south Florida. I stepped away from my leather community for a few years and when I came back it had imploded. I had the good sense to not ask questions. I was sad it was gone, but the fact was that the people I knew from that group were still around and after that implosion they chose to start something new without a board, without a membership, without by-laws, and instead with more of a dictatorship. I’ve got to be honest, I really do love my structure and dictatorship is something I can work with. I just need to know the rules and then I can make an informed choice to stay or leave. I am simple like that. So far, the new group without all the political hoopla is growing and flourishing. Interesting?

I have to accept that politics of one sort or another is going to seep into my world. I continue to believe that if you don’t vote then your opinion doesn’t count. I find myself having to vote, sometimes with my attendance and sometimes with a ballot. Very grudgingly I am using my voice. I am exploring and deciding again how much I want to accept and what I may have to leave behind. I can do without a lot of things in my life, but my leather community is not one of those things.

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What do you do in the meantime?

Reading, reading, and more reading, yea!

Reading, reading, and more reading, yea!

I’ve been reading Partners in Power by Jack Rinella for tomorrow’s Leatherfirst NYC book discussion and it has given me some thoughts about this past months MAsT meeting on the topic, “Masters without slaves, slaves without Masters: What do you do in the meantime?” If I had read this book before that meeting I would have remembered what I did before my most recent relationship and realized that in some ways it is what I am doing again, since I find myself single. Continue reading

Sacred Trust: The Responsibilities of Master and slave

…is the topic for this Sunday, August 3, 2014 MAsT (Masters And slaves Together) Metro NY meeting. The timing of the topic is perfect for me, because I am in the midst of looking at and defining what it is that I want from a relationship and Trust was number one on the list. I believe trust is a basic tenant of any healthy relationship. I feel that within power and authority based relationship that need for trust becomes intensified exponentially. As a girl, when I enter a hierarchical relationship, I am giving a person my trust and access what makes me most vulnerable. Opening oneself up, making oneself vulnerable, turning over your power to another, following obediently takes immense trust. A misuse of that trust has the potential to do great harm. Trust is sacred.

A quick disclaimer: I am not a slave. I do seek a hierarchical relationship, so since this are my thoughts about the topic tomorrow. I will use the M/s and O/p terminology for simplicity sake. I mention this, because there is an enormous difference between a slave and a girl within the BDSM culture. I do think a girl can fit into an M/s household if the Master finds purpose to have such a person belong. Okay, now some more thoughts on the topic… Continue reading

Service and the value of property

Today I plan to go to the Brooklyn Public Library and participate in the Plaza Swing Series. They are offering a free mambo dance class and I get to listen to Orlando Marin, the last of the great mambo kings of NYC. Often enough in D/s, M/s, and O/p relationships we hear the question asked about what a submissive or slave brings to the table. I offer as food for thought, that by learning to dance, by opening my ears to hear and experience Orlando Merin’s music, I am increasing my value.

I’ve often heard people focus on things like administrative skills, bootblacking, cooking, cooking specialized diets, domestic and household maintenance, and clearly those are all valuable skills sets, but I desire to belong to someone who wants more from me. Can I do those things listed? Frankly, yes. I feel I should be in constant growth in all areas, so as to be a well-rounded person. I constantly search to enrich myself culturally, through music, theatre, dance, sports, current affairs for example. And I believe that adds to my value as someone’s potential property.

I carried on this topic for a short while with my sister jade and I asked her why she thought that people more often associate our value to things along the line of labor type tasks. She discussed with me the general influence of historical slavery, specifically Roman, Asian, and the geisha which she has studied. One can fairly easily search for information to substantiate the economic value and need for slaves to the state on past eras. Jade, being the wonderful sister that she is, pointed out to me that slaves that were educated and had artistic skills were of great value and added to the prestige of the owner’s household.

Last year I recall receiving a notification from the MAsT NY men’s only group about a toga party that had a discussion topic of Roman slave history and of course a lesson on the proper way to tie a toga… 😀 Perhaps my friend boy kevin will help me out and find the presenter for our MAsT Metro NY group. I will reach out to him and see what more information I can get on this topic. I plan to revisit this topic of Service, and Value of property in the future when I have gotten a chance to do some research.

For now, I am off to dance mambo, and listen to Orlando Marin, The Last Mambo King of NYC.

What Do You Want From Your Relationship? v 1.0

MAsT Metro NY is having their monthly meeting on July 13, from 2:00 – 5:00 at the NYC LGBT Center and the discussion topic is, “What do you want from your M/s Relationship?” I have never been in a M/s relationship, the closest would be an O/p style relationship that I explored for a few months with a man who lived here in NYC. I was very content in the relationship and found him to be an exceptional dominant. Unfortunately, at the time our lives did not sync and it would have to remain long distance and that was something I was not willing to do. You don’t have to be in a M/s relationship though to look at this question and simply apply it to whatever hierarchical or power exchange relationship you engage in. This question upon first glance seems like it should be easy to just make a list, but replies like control or accountability for example merely scratch the surface. We need to dig deeper if we want to understand and express to others what we mean when we use these words.

Some of the initial words and ideas that came to my mind were structure, consistency, vision, intimacy, affection, trust, honesty, loyalty, challenged to grow, contribute, and acknowledgement. That is a bit of a list and I sat down to think about what do I mean when I say these things? I am going to work on defining what these things mean to me and come back after the July 13th meeting with a report on what I brought, what I learned, and what changed in my mind and on my list as a result.

MAsT Metro NY

On the first Sunday of every month a group called MAsT Metro NY (Masters And slaves Together) meets to explore Master/slave and other power exchange dynamics. Although I do not fit into a M/s structure, power exchange is something I very much desire in my intimate relationship(s). An other expression that some feel is synonymous with power exchange is authority exchange. Plus some, like myself, find appeal in hierarchical relationships. Each meeting customarily has a chosen topic or a special speaker who has a subject of interest that they share their knowledge of with the group. What makes his monthly meeting special in the NYC area is that the focus is on How to do relationships versus How To do XYZ style of “play”.

So, this Sunday I went with my best girlfriend and participated in a lively topic on “Reconciling M/s Structure to Accommodate Change”. It seemed like a timely topic considering the evolving status change in my relationship. The discussion started with how relationships can evolve and moved to how restructuring can be an aid in longevity of relationships. There was a lot of participation from both sides of the slash. One person who is a bit newer to the scene asked about what service was? There were many views of what can constitute service and that generally the types and forms of service are as wide and varied as the types of dynamics that can exist. Then we moved from a round circle discussion to separate groups, dividing Dominants in one space and slaves/subs into their own separate space. These separate safe space circles have always been a favorite of mine and are a unique part of their format.

After the meeting nearly everyone joined up and walked over to a diner to socialize. There we encountered possibly the worst waiter we have had in a long time. He got nearly every order wrong. He then went on the argue with each person who had a wrong order, telling them they were wrong about what they ordered. I think this happened to five people, before I so brilliantly explained to the person who had inquired during the meeting, “What is service?” that “What this waiter is doing, is NOT service!” In spite of the bad service, it was a good Sunday with  my friends at MAsT.