My mate Jupiter bullied me into going essentially. Up to about a year and a half ago I was quite involved in the BDSM public scene. I had folks I played with at events and my two girlies, Jupiter and Freyja, whom I still play with privately. Then I moved cities and fell into a relationship with my current partner. Suddenly, what with Jiu Jitsu and general life things, I had a lot less time and inclination to be out on the scene. I went to a few munches in the new place but didn’t really click with the different groups, and I drifted away. Jupiter insisted that the SM Dykes Conference would be amazing, as it was for her the last couple of years, and she needed the moral support to cope with facing an ex, so I went.
And actually, it was pretty good.
I went to five different workshops over the two days with topics on ways of using words for effect, different play styles, and flogging with emotion. There was an excellent speed-meeting event that led to lots of great conversations. Ooo, and there were two hands-on sessions, a rope workshop and a latex hoods drop-in, that I really enjoyed. Sessions I didn’t get to go to that I wish I had included a boot/shoe fetish one, a discussion on feminism and kink and a discussion about penises and cocks from a trans* and dom(me) point of view.
The event was open to women and people with links to the female community, so there were genderqueer people, transmen, transwomen, people in transition, people who want to transition but cannot yet for whatever reason and those who are only out in certain situations. It was a crash-course for me in pronoun usage, and it was an eye-opener for me for the kinds of difficulties trans* people face. The best thing though was seeing and hearing the joy and confidence they gained from being in a safe space, where they can be exactly who they are, without fear.
It also made the transphobic bullshit I’ve read about online regarding who gets to come to feminist events that claim to be safe-spaces even more obviously awful. Afaic, if you’re under the trans* umbrella, you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the patriarchy/kyriarchy and that makes you as safe as any other woman. Mind you, you get douchecanoes in all walks of life, so you go in knowing that and you trust people cautiously. Pfft. Anyway.
I was going to tell you about the workshops.
Lets start with rope! I love rope, from both sides, and I’m reasonably good at it, I think. I know how not to do unsafe stuff, and I can make it look pretty, or I can be practical with it. I’m a good rope bunny by all accounts, even if I’m not the most flexible person in the world. I can’t do reverse prayer position for instance and even hand to opposite elbow is a problem if left too long, but that’s for my top to worry about. One thing I need more practise with is getting the tension right. On myself it’s a piece of cake, on others, I’m still warring with “I don’t want to hurt you-hurt you”. Yay social conditioning to be “nice”.
The workshop was a beginners’ intro that required a single 10m length of rope and a willing victim. I did it with Jupiter and Freyja because it’d been a while and we had lots of fun tying each other up! No photos for obvious reasons, so you’ll just have to take my word for it how beautiful the two of them looked tied up from head to toe. Rope bondage on long hair is a thing by the way. Oh and someone else made a dildo out of purple rope and then a harness for the rope dildo! That was hilarious, and soooo cool! Definitely something I’d like to try some time, although if you’re going to make your own dildo out of rope, for goodness sake use a condom on it!
The latex hoods intro was good too. The woman running the session had hoods without eye or nose holes in different sizes so we could find out which ones fitted us best and what they felt like. I’ve played with leather hoods before now, and they were quite loose-fitting, compared to the latex ones. What I liked about the hoods was the sensory deprivation. You can’t see, you can’t breathe through your nose and all sounds are muffled. And from a top’s point of view, a helpless bottom is a good one, and oh my, does it look pretty!
In terms of practicality, putting on a hood is much the same as putting on a swimming cap so to get them on and off without choking yourself, it’s a wise idea to make sure the front edge is under your chin rather than resting on your windpipe. The presenter’s other great suggestion for if you’re just starting out is to get a basic hood for about £10-£15 with only a mouth hole and cut in nose/eyes/ears as you like. Bear in mind that some find latex hoods to be very claustrophobic so trying them out BEFORE playing an intense scene, in a relaxed, low-key setting is a must. No surprising your partner just because you think it’d be fun!!! I’d also keep the claustrophobia thing in mind during a scene as well, because emotions change and you can go from being fine to “oh my god, GET ME OUT” in mere seconds. I’ve personally been in this situation, and it is not good. Plan for avoiding it and for dealing with it if it happens so you don’t get caught out.
This is getting close to a thousand words, so I’ll talk about the intellectual sessions next time. I learned a lot and encountered new ways of thinking about things, which is something I always appreciate.