My Safety Philosophy: Why I Practice (C)RACK

I always listen to Loving BDSM Podcast the day it comes out (Fridays), usually on my way to work. They’re always insightful, frequently hilarious and often make me think.  Today’s episode was all about the different safety philosophies within the kink community. Kayla and John discussed why they personally practice SSC – Safe, Sane and Consensual. As always, they’ve got loads of great things to say and I highly recommend you take a listen.

A cracked wall with flowers growing out of it. For a post on safety philosophies in kink.As I was listening, I realised I’ve written about safety tips for kink, but I’ve never actually written about my own personal safety philosophy before.

In kink, the three safety philosophies you’ll mostly hear cited are:

SSC: Which states that everything we do must be Safe, Sane and Consensual.

RACK: Which urges us to practice Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

And PRICK: Which asks us to take Personal Responsibility (in) Informed Consensual Kink.

Each of these has their merits and I will never knock anyone else’s safety philosophy as long as it’s based around the cores of safety and informed consent. Personally, though, I practice RACK. Let me tell you why.

What is “safe” anyway?

Very little in life is completely safe. We take risks in our life every day. It would be absurd to think that sex or kink could be completely free from risk. I take a risk every time I use a sharp knife to chop vegetables. I take a risk every time I get in my car (driving, when you think about the size of the machine you’re in and the speeds at which it moves, is fucking terrifying). And I definitely take a risk every time I let someone spank me, string me up in ropes, or get into edgy and emotionally fraught places in my psyche. (Yes, not all risk is physical. Mental risk is just as real).

Risk Aware, for me, doesn’t just mean knowing the risks are there but taking active steps to reduce them. We know driving is dangerous, so we wear seatbelts, don’t drive drunk, and don’t text while we’re driving. And in kink, it’s exactly the same.

Being risk aware means letting a partner know about any physical issues I might have that could impact our play, and keeping an eye on them during. It means letting my partner know about a pinched nerve or pins and needles in my hands. It means, when I’m Topping, getting proper education on the acts I want to do to another human being and not playing beyond my competence level.

So: nothing we do is, or can be, completely safe. Even vanilla missionary position sex with the lights out carries some degree of risk. By being informed, we can meaningfully mitigate risks to the best of our ability.

Who gets to define “sanity”?

I, like approximately 1/4 of the adult population (conservative estimate,) suffer from a mental health problem. Does that mean I’m incapable of doing kink responsibly? No, absolutely not. As a person with mental health conditions, I find classifications of “sanity” to be intensely problematic.

As long as I’m aware of where my mental health is at, and can communicate that to a partner, it’s generally reasonably safe and completely healthy for me to play. Which… circles us back around to that risk aware piece, doesn’t it?

At best, sanity is nebulous and difficult to define. What feels “insane” to one person might be “average Saturday afternoon” for another.

My unease with PRICK

PRICK is a fine philosophy, in so far as it goes. But it makes me feel a vague uneasiness whenever I hear it, and today I finally put my finger on why.

I’ve been involved in various ways in anti-sexual-violence activism for 6+ years. The phrase “personal responsibility” has been thrown at me and so many of the survivors I know more times than we can count. In those instances, unfortunately, it is taken to the extreme of meaning that you are ultimately responsible for everything that happens to you.

This means that a generally good philosophy (“look out for yourself, take responsibility for your actions and the impact they have on yourself and others around you”) has been co-opted and twisted to mean “if someone harms you, it’s your fault”.

It’s not that I’ll never play with someone who practices PRICK, but I would need to make damn sure that their meaning is closer to “we are responsible for taking care of our own and each others’ safety and wellbeing to the best of our ability”. That’s what a good philosophy of personal responsibility would look like.

Sadly, I just know too many people who say “personal responsibility” when they mean “if you get raped, what were you wearing how much did you drink why were you out late how did you not know that guy was a rapist?????

It all comes back to consent

Whichever you practice, you’ll notice that the one thing all these philosophies have in common is consent. Consent is at the core of everything we do. However, it occurred to me today that there is one key ingredient which none of these philosophies explicitly address…

The missing piece

Kayla and John so often come back to the importance of communication in their discussions on Loving BDSM. I often find myself nodding along, and am in absolute agreement with them that effective communication is at the core of everything we do. You cannot have safe(r) kink and sex without communication. You cannot have a good relationship without communication! And I don’t think we can meaningfully discuss good philosophies of safety without also discussing the importance of strong communication.

Therefore I present to you my new philosophy, adapted from RACK, which you are all welcome to use if it speaks to you:

CRACK: Communicative (&) Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

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When You’re Exploring, Not Everything Will Work – and That’s Okay!

This one’s late! Sorry sorry sorry! I had a really bad mental health day yesterday. Trigger warning: this post talks about consensual non-consent including rape fantasy.

I’d like to thank Sarah Brynn Holliday for becoming my latest sexy patron. You should check out her blog, she does brilliant work. If YOU’D like to support my work here, please visit my Patreon and pledge at any level. Even $1 a month means so much and you’ll get access to occasional exclusive content and get your very own shout-out here (with a link to your blog or Twitter if you have them.)

A close up on a map, magnifying glass and compass. For a post on exploring kinks and when they don't work.

So, onto today’s topic which, credit where it’s due, was suggested by my sweetie The Artist when I messaged them going “heeeeeelp I’m not inspired”! Today’s prompt from 30 Days of D/s (it’s nearly over, y’all!) is all about exploring your kinks together with a partner, in particular things you haven’t tried but would like to.

I’ve tried a lot of kinky shit over the years. Like, a lot. I’m not gonna say “name a kinky thing and I’ve probably done it,” because some of you have truly devious imaginations. But I’ve been doing this stuff for well over a decade. I have a lot of experience. At the start of our relationship, The Artist asked me what I hadn’t done and might like to try. I was just like “oh shit what have I not done!?”

Inevitably, perhaps, I’ve done some things that I do not care to do again. When you’re exploring an area as broad as kink and sex, you won’t like everything you try. That’s okay! Trying something and not liking it isn’t a failure. It’s a valuable learning experience.

I’m pretty big into consensual non-consent, or CNC – also known as “rape fantasy”. This is a really, really common kink especially among (people socialised as) women. I am nowhere near qualified to start delving into the reasons for that. Anyhow, I’m into it, and I practice it carefully with safe partners and safewords. Up until last year, my biggest fantasy was a group CNC scene, where several partners would ambush and ravish me. Um, to be honest, this is still one of my biggest fantasies.

But you know what happened when we tried to make it a reality? It didn’t work. Some combination of the time of night, my tiredness level, the people involved and my sense of disorientation combined to make it too much. I safeworded out and then spent the next two hours crying and apologising. What was wrong with me? This was my fantasy, why hadn’t it worked for me?

The truth is there was nothing wrong with me. There was nothing wrong with my partners, either – everything they did was 100% consensual! It was what we thought we all wanted! None of us did anything wrong. The scene just didn’t work out. Sometimes scenes don’t work, and that’s okay. Sometimes you can be absolutely sure you’ll like something… and then in reality, you won’t. That is also ten million percent normal and fine!

There’s an anecdote in, I think, one of Janet Hardy and Dossie Easton’s books. I’ve just spent an hour searching for it and can’t find it, which is really annoying me! Anyway, it tells of a woman who has always fantasised about receiving caning… until she finds she reality too painful. This is because fantasy isn’t accurate, realistic information. Fantasy is there first for fun and titillation. Yes, it gives you an insight into things you might like to try, but liking it in fantasy doesn’t mean you’ll like it in reality. You might, you might not. You might like a modified version. Either way, that’s completely okay!

I still have group CNC fantasies, and I may or may not try to act them out again at some point. If I ever do, I’ll use the information I learned from what went wrong last time to modify the scene. If I don’t, it’s still okay for me to enjoy the fantasy! Not wanting to do something for real doesn’t mean you can’t fantasise about it! Even trying something and having it go wrong doesn’t have to be a barrier to continuing to enjoy your fantasies.

The key to exploring, I think, is to try not to attach too much to one particular outcome. This sounds ridiculously “zen,” and I appreciate it’s really difficult. But if you approach trying something new with the mindset of, “it might work, it might not, but we’ll learn something either way,” the pressure to have it be the best scene of your life lets up almost immediately.

Approach with an attitude of open exploration, communication and the goal of mutual pleasure and discovery. You might find your new favourite thing. You might also find out that some things are happier staying in your inner fantasy world – and that’s valuable too.

Kinky item of the day: Spreader bars! For me, there is very little sexier than being spread open and vulnerable in front of a Dominant lover. Especially if they’re also slapping my cunt and/or ripping an orgasm from me with the Doxy. Try this lovely adjustable bar from Sportsheets.

The image featured in this post was reproduced here under Creative Commons Licensing.

Five Tasks and Rituals that have Nothing to do with Sex

Quickie-post today, dear readers, because I am up to my face in PhD research proposals. Today’s prompt in 30 Days of D/s is about tasks and rituals: the little things you do to help you feel more submissive or more Dominant, to “bring you back to your mental, emotional and even physical D/s space.”

A pair of hands offering a steaming mug, in black and white. For a post on tasks and rituals.

These things can often be sexual. In my previous D/s relationship, my tasks included things like rolling a dice and edging that number of times. There were times when he instructed me to wear Ben-wa balls to work every day, or to go to the grocery store without panties every day for a week.

These sexual tasks are all well and good, but D/s isn’t always about sex. Sometimes you just want to feel Dominant or submissive without your genitals involved. Here’s a few ideas for tasks or rituals and have nothing to do with sex.

1. Text (/call/email/message) at a specific time each day

This is especially good if you’re long distance or don’t live together. Simply texting “good morning, Sir,” “goodnight, Pet” or some other variation on a daily touching-base can be surprisingly powerful.

2. Making their drink

I used to always make my ex-Master’s tea and then serve it to him in a specific way. Learning how your Dominant likes their drink and serving it to them is a lovely, affirming submissive action for the service-oriented among us.

3. Write a journal

Loads of Dominants task their submissives with journalling regularly. Whether this is open to your D-type to read or entirely personal is up to the two of you. It’s a great way to get to know yourself, explore your desires and experiences within the relationship, and check in with yourself to make sure you’re happy and functioning.

4. Eat or drink something specific

Massive disclaimer to maybe avoid this one if food is a trigger for you or you’re recovering from any kind of eating disorder. This could be something really simple like “drink 2 litres of water a day” or “eat a piece of fruit after dinner,” but it can be a nice way for a submissive to feel like they’re doing as they’re told and a Dominant to feel like they have a hand in their submissive’s health and wellbeing.

5. Repeat a mantra

You can do this to yourself in the mirror, to your partner, or even on your kinky social media if you like. Try something like, “I am beautiful and Sir loves me,” or “I am proudly owned by my Mistress”. Whatever works for you and your relationship!

I hope you find some inspiration here! What tasks and rituals do you use in your D/s relationship?

Kinky item of the day: remote-controlled vibes! Want to get your sub hot and bothered on the bus, gagging for it in the grocery store or worked up at work? These beauties have got you covered!

The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

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Stop the Drop: 25 Things to Do When Subdrop Feels Overwhelming

Subdrop is real. As Kayla says in today’s 30 Days of D/s prompt, what goes up must come down. Subspace is a kind of high, fueled by adrenaline and endorphins and all kinds of happy-fuzzy brain chemicals.

Subdrop is what can happen when those chemicals wear off and reality sets back in. For some, it can be as soon as the subspace high has ended, while for others it can hit a day or even several days later. A lucky few may not experience it at all. Everyone is different. I most often drop somewhere between 12 and 24 hours after an intense play session, though it has been known to be quicker.

A close up of a person's torso wrapped in a blanket. For a post on subdrop

Drop looks different for everyone. You might feel sad or depressed. You might cry a lot. Some people report feeling really listless or now on energy/”spoons“. When you’re in the middle of it, it can be overwhelming and completely horrible.

Not everything on this list will work for everyone. Pick out just one or two that speak to you and try them. Here’s 25 things you can do to help when you’re dropping.

Amy’s Top 25 Subdrop Remedies

  1. Cuddle someone/something! Your partner, a friend, a stuffed toy, your pet.
  2. Make your favourite hot drink and sip it slowly, noticing how it tastes and letting the cup warm your hands.
  3. Eat some chocolate or whatever your favourite sweet treat is. Not enough to make you feel sick, just enough to give you those feel-good chemicals.
  4. Cook yourself a simple, healthy meal and enjoy eating it slowly. Something with protein and vegetables.
  5. Watch your favourite film or an episode of your favourite Netflix show. Something lighthearted is better.
  6. Write in your journal.
  7. Post to your blog, if you have one.
  8. Share how you’re feeling on your kinky social media of choice. Sympathy and virtual cuddles from friends who get it can be surprisingly cathartic.
  9. Listen to a comedy podcast or watch some stand-up. Laugh until your tummy hurts.
  10. Curl up under a cozy duvet with a good book or a magazine.
  11. Meditate. There are thousands of free guided meditations on Youtube, or try the Insight Timer app.
  12. Masturbate! Orgasm can perk you up no end.
  13. Go for a walk. Preferably somewhere out in nature, but to the shop at the end of the street and back will work in a pinch.
  14. Sit in your garden, if you have one, or a nearby park. Fresh air is important.
  15. Buy yourself something, if you can afford to. This could be as elaborate as that dress you’ve been lusting after for months, or as simple as a fancy coffee.
  16. Tidy up your room or work space. I always feel better and more clear-headed when my safe spaces are neat and tidy.
  17. Take a bath or shower. Spend as long as you like luxuriating in the hot water. Use your most decadent shower gel or that fancy bath bomb you’ve been saving.
  18. Play loud, upbeat music. Optional extras: sing along loudly, dance around your room for the length of a song or two.
  19. Call someone you miss. Your mum. A grandparent. Your best friend in another city. Just pick up the phone, say hi and catch up.
  20. Create something. Whatever your creative talent is, use it. Play your instrument, bake a cake, write a page of your novel, knit a few rows of your latest project.
  21. Take a nap. Even an hour of shut-eye will help recharge you a little.
  22. Exercise. Hit the gym, go for a run, or do some yoga. Moving your body releases tension and clears your mind.
  23. Get your hair cut or your nails done. No drastic changes! But a bit of pampering can really raise your mood and make you feel good about yourself.
  24. Just sit with the feeling. This is a mindfulness technique. Sit, feel, and think: I am feeling rotten right now because I am subdropping, but I know this feeling will soon pass and I will be okay.
  25. Do something for someone else. Whether it’s a chore that’s normally your partner’s but they’re super busy today, or getting shopping for an elderly neighbour, caring for others takes you out of your own head.

I hope some of these techniques are helpful to you, dear readers. How do you banish the dreaded drop when it hits?

Kinky item of the day: Bondage candles! Ever tried wax play? It’s one of my favourites and it doesn’t have to be painful – it can be really sensual. Please only buy candles designed for this purpose, as regular household candles can burn much hotter – especially if they have dyes or scents added. Remember to take fire safety precautions and start slowly if you’re new to wax play.

The above is an affiliate link. If you buy through it or any of my affiliates, it supports the blog. All opinions are and will always be my own.

The image featured in today’s post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

So You’ve Been Told You Have Sub-Frenzy?

Sub-frenzy is the topic of the day in my #KinkMonth 30 Days of D/s series, and goodness I have a lot of feelings about this one. (I have a lot of feelings about a lot of things. Had you noticed?)

A woman's upper body, wearing only a black fishnet sleeveless body-stocking. She is holding her hands up in front of her and they are cuffed together with black leather cuffs. For a post about sub-frenzy

Hey there, newbie. I’m going to write this piece to you as I wish someone had written it to me, when I started out in kink close to a decade ago. I want to tell you the things I wish I’d known.

So maybe someone has accused you of having “sub-frenzy?” Or maybe you’ve been cautioned by your new kinky friends that this “frenzy” is something to beware of and avoid?

What is sub-frenzy?

Kayla Lords defines sub-frenzy as  “a moment that happens for new submissives, or submissives in new relationships, where they get a little intense about their submission, sometimes to the detriment of their own safety.”

Sub-frenzy can manifest in a variety of ways, from being willing to play with anyone who offers to wanting to call your new boyfriend “Master” RIGHT NOW TODAY. But in a nutshell, it’s such a desperation to submit that common sense and self-preservation fly out of the window.

How will I know if I’m in sub-frenzy?

Are you a new submissive, or a submissive in a new relationship? (Particularly after a period of little or no play?)

Are you so desperate to submit that you’d probably kneel for a brick wall if it would just smack your ass and call you a naughty girl?

Have you played with, or are you tempted to play with, Dominants you barely know just to get the submissive itch scratched?

Have you given, or are you tempted to give, your submission to the next randomer who messages you on Fetlife?

Are you making, or are you tempted to make, decisions that may be detrimental to your health, safety or mental wellbeing out of desire to submit?

Do you feel like you might just GO MAD if you can’t submit to someone right now?

If you said yes to any of the above, you might be in sub-frenzy.

What is this ‘frenzy’ crap? Don’t good submissives want to submit all the time?

No.

Good submissives are not doormats. Real talk time: being so desperate to submit that you make poor decisions is not only really dangerous, it’s also really unattractive to good Dominants.

If you’re looking for a long-term D/s relationship, a good Dominant will want to take time to get to know you and build a relationship with you. Even if you’re only after casual play, desperation isn’t sexy.

Okay, I’ve realised I might be a bit frenzied. What now?

Stop. Pause. Breathe.

Are you breathing? Okay, good. Now, I’m going to ask you to do something that is going to seem really, really antithetic to what every fibre of your being is screaming to do.

Wait.

Seriously. Just stop and catch your breath and wait. The best way to let frenzy pass is to acknowledge it and consciously decide not to give in to it. Give yourself a time-limit, if you want. “I am not going to play with anyone knew until I have been going to munches for three months” works well, or “I am not going to let my next partner collar me until we have known each other for at least a year.” You know yourself and what kind of timescale is realistic. Very broadly, in my anecdotal experience, frenzy will probably pass in more than a month but less than a year.

Frenzy is normal and it passes. I promise. But in order to keep yourself safe, you need to practice discipline and patience.

How can I scratch the itch to submit in a safe way?

Join your local community. Please. Meet some people, get to know them, get a sense of who the safe players are. If you meet someone you’d like to play with, do so in a public place like a play party to begin with.

Watch some good BDSM porn. Write and read erotica. Fantasise. Wank furiously. Read everything you can about the lifestyle and learn, learn, learn. (Fifty Shades of Grey and the Gor novels do not count.)

How will I know when sub-frenzy has passed?

Your desire to submit, though still there, will be somewhat less visceral and immediate. You’ll be able to think through situations with a clearer head and make decisions with your own best interests at heart. You won’t want to fall to the feet of every vaguely Domly person you meet. You’ll know some of the red flags of a dangerous Dominant to look out for, and the signs of a good one.

Good luck. This too shall pass.

Kinky item of the day: A leash! I loooove leashes. Nothing makes me feel more submissive than being led around by my Domly one. Ours just came from a pet store. No need to spend a lot of money. [Remember: don’t be super obvious or you risk involving the store staff in your kink non-consensually!]

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The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

5 Pervertables You Probably Have in Your House Right Now

Hey, did you know October is Kink Month? Join the conversation over on Twitter!

Pervertables are basically innocent everyday items, reimagined for naught and devious purposes. As today’s 30 Days of D/s prompt is all about pain, I thought I’d tell you a few of my favourite household pervertables for sadomasochistic purposes. They’re great if you want to get your kink on but you’re on a budget, if you want to try a new sensation without blowing loads of cash, or if you find yourself somewhere without your toybag and want to have some fun.

Three kitchen utensils including a wooden spoon on a bright blue background. For a post about pervertables

Clothes Pegs

Clothes pegs are amazing! Plastic ones with soft pads on the teeth tend to be a bit less vicious, whereas wooden ones are often more pinchy. This can vary enormously so do test them sneakily on your finger before buying if you can.

Use them on nipples, labia, clits, cocks, or most sensitive fleshy areas (keep away from the face and neck.) Try putting a line of clothes pegs along your masochist’s back, tying them all together with string or twine, and pulling them all of at once. (Don’t surprise someone with this the first time you do it – it’s quite intense and not for everyone. Consent, y’all.)

Pro tip: if you leave them on for more than a few minutes, they’ll hurt like a motherfucker when you take them off. This goes for any type of clamps.

Wooden Spoon

Arguably the ultimate household spanking implement, wooden spoons deliver a surprisingly sharp whack. Much like with canes, the pain comes in waves – initially when the blow hits, and then a few moments later as all the nerves fully register the impact. Implements like this are pretty safe when used on fleshy places like butts, though do start slowly and gently. You’d be surprised how much one of these can hurt!

Hairbrush

Traditionally associated with over-the-knee spanking, hairbrushes remain ever popular hitty implements. Different sizes, shapes and materials feel really different. Make no assumptions, build up slowly and communicate lots with your partner about how it feels. One brush will not feel the same as another. Use the back of the brush (i.e. not the bristles) and bend your sub over the bed or your lap for a delicious sexy spanking.

Ice

Ice is brilliant! You can run it over the body for a cold tease, press it to a nipple or clit, trail icy droplets over them, or even put a small piece of ice into the vagina (make sure they’re well lubricated first, or the ice can stick. Not what you want!)

Ice play doesn’t have to be painful and can be quite sensual, but it definitely can be painful if that’s what you want. Typically, ice in very sensitive places will become painful quite quickly. You could also try pressing it to one spot for a few seconds. Don’t let your partner get too cold, though – get them dry and warm after ice play.

Kinky item of the day: I just listed them! Go forth and pervert. (And tell me YOUR favourite pervertables in the comments or on Twitter.)

Ginger

At some point I’m going to write a whole post on figging – the practice of sticking a piece of peeled ginger up someone’s butt. But for now, just believe me when I tell you, that shit is INTENSE. The best description I can come up with is that it’s an intense burning sensation.

Some people love it, some hate it. If you’re curious, give it a go, but don’t expect to be able to keep it in long… and remember, the burning can take a little while to fully settle down even when the ginger is removed. (On my first experience, I had some discomfort for about an hour afterwards, which settled down a lot when I took a really thorough shower.)

Kinky item of the day: They’re all listed above! Go forth, pervert innocent objects, and don’t forget to tell me your favourite pervertables in the comments.

The image featured in this post was offered for use via Creative Commons Licensing.

It’s Okay to Play When You’re Depressed

It’s #KinkMonth! I’m celebrating by writing a post each day inspired by Kayla Lords’ fab 30 Days of D/s. A week in and I can say that it’s been a brilliant and enlightening experience – I’m already thinking about things I hadn’t considered, or hadn’t considered in a long time, and looking at approaching them from different angles.

Today’s prompt is all about negative emotions:

How do you handle negative emotions like anger, jealousy, and fear now? How do you expect that to be different in D/s?

A cute black dog looking up at the camera. For post titled It's Okay to Play When You're Depressed - the dog refers to the Black Dog metaphor for depression.

If you’ve been doing kink for any length of time, you’ve probably heard “don’t play when you’re depressed,” “don’t play when your mental illness is flaring up,” or some variation thereof. While the sentiment kind of makes sense, I don’t think this is useful or even realistic advice. Let me tell you why.

For some of us, managing our mental health is a daily reality.

Statistics state that 1 in 4 adults will suffer from a mental health condition during their life. For some of us, these conditions are permanent. I have depression and anxiety which, well-managed though they are, aren’t going away.

It’s actually really ableist to imply that someone who is suffering from a mental health condition can’t engage in kink, BDSM or sex. Why should only neurotypical people be able to enjoy kink? Why should mentally ill people only be able to partake in it on especially good days?

For some people at some times, playing can actually help.

Sometimes, when I’m bone-numblingly depressed, a good hard fucking or a nice cathartic spanking – the kind that makes me cry – can really help to lift my mood. It could be the rush of endorphins. It could be the feeling of being wanted. Maybe it’s the sheer release that comes from being pulled out of my head and into my body. I don’t know. Maybe it’s all of them in some combination. All I know is that sex and kink (including masturbation) can be really wonderful tools in managing my mental health.

Only you know your own limits.

Having said all this, there might be times where your mental health is in a place where playing really isn’t wise for you, but you’re the only person who can make that decision! You know your mind, your body and your condition, if you have one, the best. You know what types of scenes will work for you and what is likely to trigger you or be mentally unsafe, as well as if there’s a point where you can no longer meaningfully consent. No-one else knows these things as well as you do.

“Don’t play when you’re depressed” is vague and subjective to the point of meaninglessness. Different people’s definitions of “play” (as well as their definitions of what constitutes a good or bad mental health day) vary wildly.

Instead: cultivate self-knowledge and communication.

Learn your triggers, your tipping points and your safe limits. Look out for your partner’s best interests and expect them to look out for yours. Communicate, communicate and communicate some more!

Be excellent to yourself and to each other.

Kinky product of the day: A classic Wartenberg Pinwheel, which is great for sensation play and less scary than it looks! (It doesn’t break the skin. Promise.)

Note: this post was not sponsored. The above is an affiliate link and if you buy through it, I may make a small commission. All opinions are and will always be my own.

The image featured in this post was offered under Creative Commons licensing.

How Not to Punish

If you’ve just now found the blog, you may not know that October is #KinkMonth! Go check out the hashtag, and also don’t forget you can get 15% off at Lovehoney until 15th October when you spend £50 or more.

I’m celebrating by writing posts inspired by the topics in Kayla Lords’ brilliant 30 Days of D/s project. Today’s prompt was all about punishment and discipline. Kayla and John ask:

A white male fist punching downwards onto a hard surface. For a post on how not to punish your submissive.

As a submissive, are you willing to allow a Dominant to discipline or punish you in your relationship? As a Dominant, are you willing to require discipline or give out punishment? What kinds of punishments can you imagine for bad behavior?

First, some disclaimers:

Note the First: When I talk about punishment here, I am talking about the type that is genuinely intended to correct or admonish someone for perceived or actual negative behaviour. I am NOT talking about “funishment,” wherein the idea of “punishment” is used as part of a game, roleplay or kinky scene. In other words, “funishment” isn’t intended to genuinely correct any behaviour.

Note the Second: I’m going to admit this straight up: I’m skittish about the idea of punishment. Yes, even in 24/7 D/s relationships. I lean very strongly towards the side of “adults are not children and punishment does not belong in a respectful relationship”. However, I also acknowledge that this is largely as a result of my baggage from non-consensual “punishment” dynamics in my past. I 1000% respect the right of other consenting adults to feel completely differently and to include punishment in their relationships.

Therefore, here’s a short list of things to be aware of if you do decide to include punishment in your D/s relationship. This is aimed at the D-types, but I would implore submissives to please also be on the look out for these things happening and seriously reevaluate if they do.

Don’t Punish in Anger

Please never, ever, ever punish somebody in anger. Even if you’ve agreed you can punish your submissive when they fuck up, when you’re angry in the immediate aftermath of the mistake is not the time to be dishing out punishment. Being angry opens you up to the risk of going too far, hurting someone (physically, mentally or emotionally) in a way they haven’t consented to, breaking consent and permanently destroying trust. Just don’t do it. Ever.

Don’t Punish for Real, Serious, Possibly-Relationship-Breaking Transgressions

I’ll probably catch some flack for this, but if your submissive has (for example) cheated on you or something equally serious, that’s not the time to start whaling on their ass. Even if spanking is something you’ve explicitly negotiated as a punishment. A fuck-up, mistake or betrayal that epic requires you to sit the fuck down as equal adults and have a very serious conversation about the state of your relationship and where to go from here.

Don’t Punish With Triggers

Triggers are things that evoke a serious and visceral negative emotion or “flashback” as a result of past trauma. They can take all kinds of forms and it’s your responsibility to be aware of these and avoid tripping over them as far as you can. Absolutely do not use them against your partner in punishment. For example, if your partner has an abandonment trigger, punishing them by not speaking to them is likely to be devastating. If they have childhood trauma from being spanked, throwing them over your knee and hitting them will cause real and genuine harm. Using triggers to punish someone is abuse.

How do YOU feel about punishment? Tell me in the comments or tweet me with your thoughts.

Kinky item of the day: I’m pretty anti-punishment in my relationship but I LOVE funishment, being bent over the bed or someone’s lap and thoroughly spanked. Therefore today’s item is one of my favourite tools and one of the easier impact play toys to use: a classic spanking paddle.

Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you shop with one, I may make a small commission. All opinions are and will always be my own.

Tools to Help with Your Sexy Negotiation

 

If there’s one thing you should have learned about me if you’ve followed me on social media or read my blog for any amount of time, it’s that I am a geek about all things sex, kink and relationships. Like, seriously, I am always looking for new tools and hacks to make this stuff better and easier.

A yes/no checklist with a person's hand ticking the "yes" box. For a post on negotiation tools.

I’m celebrating #KinkMonth by writing articles inspired by Kayla Lords’ brilliant 30 Days of D/s project. Today’s prompt was all about negotiation! Kayla and John have this to say on the subject:

People read the word “negotiation” and imagine some sort of back and forth thing around a table in a formal way. It can be that, sure, but mostly it’s just the conversation you have to figure out what kind of D/s relationship you want for yourself. Submissives have the right to, and should, ask why a rule/task/ritual is being put in place and both sides should have the freedom to disagree, suggest other things, and make sure their needs are being met.

Negotiations aren’t a one time thing either. You’ll come back to this over and over again in your relationship. Will you have a contract? Do you need a checklist? What exactly does a negotiation sound like? 

So, in the spirit of this and my unending geekery, I thought I’d share with you my favourite tools for aiding with your kinky and sexy negotiations. You can adapt these for a new relationship, a changing relationship, or even exploring something new with the person you’ve been married to for twenty years. Tips and tools are there to serve you. Pick and choose the bits that work for you.

Tool #1: A really good Yes/No/Maybe checklist

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of these available for free on the internet. It’s essentially a huge list of different sexy and kinky activities. Uou go through and mark each activity as “YES I like that/want to do that,” “NO I don’t like that/want to do that,” or “MAYBE I would be open to trying that under specific circumstances”. You can either go through it together, or do them separately and then swap to compare. Either way it’s a brilliant tool to get discussion flowing, figure out what kinks you have in common, and maybe discover some brilliant new activities you didn’t know existed.

(Ask me how I learned what “figging” and “rimming” are.)

This one is ridiculously thorough and even includes a 0-5 scale for rating how into something you are.

Tool #2: Google Docs…

…Or any other browser-based shared editing system! This is a great way to share a checklist and compare answers easily. Maybe have a list with a column for each of your answers, side by side? You can even edit it as you explore and your limits evolve and change.

Tool #3: Pervocracy’s ‘Concise Kink Worksheet’

The Yes/No/Maybe list is wonderful, but it’s also LONG. When you’ve established you have some compatible kinks and are wanting to get down to playtime, this sheet suggests talking points and cuts straight to the core of the things you need to know in order to have a safe, sexy and satisfying play session.

Tool #4: Instant Messenger

Facebook, WhatsApp, Signal or even boring old text messaging. Is having those early negotiations face to face too hard? Do you find yourself getting tongue-tied trying to talk about the things you want to do? Don’t underestimate the power of getting the conversation moving in written form… even if you live together! You’ll have to move face to face eventually if you want to actually do the kinky fun. But there’s no shame at all in doing some of the preliminaries in writing. (It can actually be really useful to be able to refer back to what you both said later, too.)

Tool #5: The 30 Days of D/s project!

Kayla’s 30 days of prompts are brilliant for beginners to kink and D/s, to be sure. But they’re also useful for the more experienced among us to delve more deeply into our thoughts and feelings on all things kinky. I’ve been doing this stuff for *cough* years and I’m getting tonnes out of this project. You can use it as blog prompts, journal ideas, conversation points to bounce around with your partner, or even just things to quietly think about and maybe come back to later. It’s FREE too (unless you want all 30 days in one easy workbook, in which case it’s a stunningly good value $4.99.)

Bonus Tool #6 AND kinky item of the day: The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book (not affiliate links) are still among the best and most informative guides out there for people new to kink and looking to get started… or even as a refresher for those with a bit more experience!

If you enjoyed this post and would like to support me, please consider becoming a sexy Patron, buying me a virtual coffee, or shopping with my affiliates in the right hand sidebar.

Self Care for ‘Con-Goers

Mr CK and I are off to a kinky Convention for the weekend tomorrow, so it seemed like a good time to revisit this piece I wrote last year on taking care of yourself at a Con(vention/ference,) update it with some new things I’ve learned and share it with y’all.

A white cat with black patches on its face sleeping upside down in a patch of sunlight looking blissed out. For a post on con self-care
Kitty says: take a fucking nap!

‘Cons can be an intense time, as anyone who has been to one will know. All the fun things to see, do and learn, plus the late nights and the heady feeling of being among Your People can be quite a potent cocktail. (And that’s before you mix in a few actual cocktails, which many of us do partake of when at events.)

Things can also go from “Awesome” to “Burnout” really fast, and I’ve been doing this long enough now to learn a few tricks to come out the other side still physically and emotionally intact. Follow these seven easy steps for your best ‘Con ever.

1. Biology Comes First

Sleep. If you know you need six hours of sleep to not be a walking zombie, don’t try to get by on three. Take a freaking nap if you need to.

Eat. A lot of events provide food, so you really have no excuse – but even if food isn’t laid on there’s bound to be a lunch hour. Don’t forget to make time to have dinner between the day’s activities and the evening entertainments. Carry snack bars, nuts, fruit or chocolate in your bag for a quick pick-me-up. And for the love of all that is kinky, eat breakfast.

Hydrate. Beer doesn’t count. This is especially important in the hot weather we’ve been having lately!

Carry any medication you need or think you’re likely to need (more on this in point 5.) Find out who the First Aiders are and who to go to if you need urgent medical help. In an emergency, any passerby can run for help for you.

In short, take care of your body and your physical wellbeing first. The rest will follow.

2. You Don’t Have To Do Everything

You know how it’s better to leave a really awesome scene going, “wow, I would have loved to go further!” rather than, “holy shit, I went too far?”

‘Cons are the same.

You do not have to go to Every Single Session. Promise! You do not have to scene with every hot person you meet. If you’re there with a partner, you do not have to do every single scene idea you’ve ever come up with or try every single piece of kit the venue has to offer. You do not have to be the first to arrive and last to leave each day.

There’s always other events. There’s always next year.

By all means, immerse yourself and experience your event to the max… but know your limits and don’t try to push yourself beyond them in service of “Must Do Everything.”

3. Have Someone Looking Out For You… And Look Out For Them In Turn

If you’ve come with a partner, partners, friend or group of friends, you’re in luck here as you’ve got a ready made support person/network. Look out for each other. You don’t have to be glued to one another’s sides, but check in and say, ‘hey, how are you doing? How are you finding it all?’

If someone’s struggling, ask what they need. It may be a hug, a snack, a chat about what’s bothering them, a nap, or even just some quiet time. If you’re struggling, ask for what you need.

If you’re there alone, never fear! You’ll soon make friends and if you click with someone, don’t be afraid to ask if they’d like to agree to look out for each other and maybe check in later to see how you’re both doing.

If nothing else, make yourself known to an organiser or crew member as a nervous newbie and/or solo attendee. Any good event staff member will help you find your feet and look out for you as best they can.

4. Think About Your Boundaries Before You Come

You know how you shouldn’t renegotiate established boundaries mid-scene? The same is true mid-‘Con.

If you’re coming with a partner, discuss beforehand the kinds of play you might like to do together and anything you definitely DON’T want. Is play with other people on the cards or not? Under what parameters? Are you going to do everything together, or go to separate workshops and compare notes later? You don’t need to structure your weekend super rigidly, but even a basic game plan can help you feel prepared.

If you’re coming alone, think about what you might want to do and not do. What workshops interest you and which are a “FUCK NO?” Which are a “maybe, if I’m in the right headspace?” Do you want to play? With specific people? Are you open to casual play? Casual sex? Nudity? Hugs, physical touch?

And, crucially, stick to these boundaries. Don’t suddenly change your mind in the heat of a moment that you could very easily regret. Again, you can always push yourself further next time.

Honour your own limits the way I hope you’d honour anyone else’s.

5. Carry The Things You Need (Or Might Need)

Bottled water or sports drink? Healthy or sugary snacks? Medication? Simple painkillers in case of a headache? Notebook and pen for journalling? Cuddly toy or other comfort item? Favourite blanket?

Whatever it is, if you know you will need it or feel safer or more comfortable having it on hand… have it on hand! Or at least know where it is and how to instruct someone on where to find it.

6. Have An Aftercare Plan

‘Con drop is real, y’all. When you get back from a fantastic, physically and emotionally intense time, you’re likely to feel tired, drained and possibly even a bit fragile.

Just like you’d make aftercare provisions for a big scene, do the same thing for the ‘Con.

I always take the Monday following a weekend event off work – I know there’s no way I can be fully functional again so quickly and my job requires me to be on top of my game. I typically sleep late, take it easy and possibly do some nice or fun things for myself and my partner.

If you can, don’t be alone straight after the event. Try to be with a friend or partner who understands and with whom you can decompress and talk about your experiences. If you must be alone, reach out on FetLife or Twitter as it’s very likely others will be experiencing the same things.

Eat nice food, cuddle your partner/friend/pet/stuffed toy, have fun things on hand that you enjoy doing. Relax.

7. And finally… HAVE FUN.

Try not to worry – everyone’s at a ‘Con to have a great time and the organisers and crew should be on hand to help with any problems you may have.

Breathe, pace yourself, and ENJOY.

Go forth and be kinky, y’all.