Smutathon

With the grim inevitability of the humourless, authoritarian and puritanical Theresa May being returned as Prime Minister with  a larger majority on June 8th , difficult times await for all those of us who are into BDSM or any kind of alternative forms of sexual expression. This is why we should get behind campaigning organisations like Backlash UK. This is  exactly what a number of us  who know each other from Eroticon are going to be doing on Saturday 1st July when we spend 12 hours chained to our laptops writing filth. Some of us are meeting in London while others are taking part remotely but joining the party via Skype.

We are, all of us, perverted or debauchd, both (me!) , or simply see sexual self- expression as fundamental to our identity. The battle against censorship and puritanical legislative restrictions on what we do with our bodies is a fight for everyone. But it is laso our personal battle. Please support us

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/smutathon2017

 

Taking Liberties

I have had a few weeks away from the scene for various reasons and this has coincided with a return of my anxiety. It is never far from the surface and can bubble up unexpectedly, a bit like the eczema I also suffer from.I woke up on Sunday feeling detained having hardly slept.  To be honest, I was dreading the day of kink that lay ahead.

Yet I went to bed feeling deeply happy. Maybe time spent with scene friends, old and new, was just what I needed.  And quality time with my slave. I popped into the BBB for an hour or so and caught up with few people before heading off to Leicestershire to what has become one of favourite places for kink events, Liberty Elite.

If you imagine how a 1970s swingers club probably looked like it won’t be a lot different from Libs and I mean that as a compliment. It is well appointed, extremely comfortable and has a decent sized play area where slave’s bottom received some long overdue attention.  There was a lovely buffet and we sat outside to enjoy what little sun there was. And this is the best bit. Libs has a patio and a large grassed area. It is also in the middle of nowhere  which means you can play outdoor 🙂

had taken a pair of boots and walked the grounds looking for some mud to get on them, for licking off purposes. sadly it was too dry although my slave did get to 2 laps of the field in honour of London Marathon day. But I am really hoping the next afternoon event will be after a day or two of heavy rain. Then I will have my fun.

Not Such an Ugly Mug

On my real name Facebook account I have a group of friends I have never met, men and women from all over the world who have connected with me because of a shared interest in sex workers’ rights. I really value these connection s with these people who are a mix of sex workers and activists, sometimes both. They are all deeply committed and fiercely intelligent, a number of them prominent in the struggle. I am honoured that they wanted to connect with me. I want to talk briefly about one of them.

Alex Feis-Bryce announced this week that he is standing down as Chief Executive of Ugly Mugs after five years in the job. Ugly Mugs (the name comes from an Australian term for a rogue punter) is a project launched with Home Office funding and with the support of the police,   to promote sex workers’ safety. Sex workers can sign up and receive e-mail warnings of potentially violent punters, make reports, anonymously if they prefer, and also report incidents to the police. There are links too to the Merseyside Model under which offences against sex workers are prosecuted as hate crimes.  Fundamental to the success of this is sex workers feeling that they can trust the police.

The biggest threat to this comes from the strident and seemingly tireless advocates of the “Nordic Model” under which the purchase of sex would be criminalised (as it has been in Sweden since 1999). Advocates claim that it involves the decriminalisation of the sex workers themselves although, in practice, the introduction of criminalisation of clients in both parts of Ireland has NOT involved the lifting of legal prohibitions on, for example, working together  for safety. These advocates, including many MPs (Jess Phillips, Harriet Harman, Carolinse Flint and Gavin Shuker to name but four) believe that sex work is “violence against women” although they seem oddly uninterested in actual violence against sex workers. Indeed some police officers in Sweden have said on record that they believe it to be acceptable collateral damage that will discourage others from going into sex work. But it is clear to me that by driving a wedge between police and sex workers it will make them less safe. This is why the struggle for sex workers’ rights, and the battle for decriminalisation are inseparable from the wider work of Ugly Mugs.   As Ugly Mugs has grown under Alex’s leadership he has become an effective and articulate advocate.

What has this to do with BDSM? The answer is that professional providers of domination (or submission) are also sex workers. Indeed the term covers a very wide range of service providers. including men. Some pro- dommes that I engage with online actively support the struggle even if there are others who, disappointingly, reject the label.  But I think there is a further point, which is that political attacks on sex workers are part of a wider backlash against the free expression of sexuality.

Alex is moving on but leaves a strong legacy.  I would like to thank him for all he has done and wish him all the best for the future.  And, dear reader, I hope that you will too..

THE REAL DEAL?

Two weeks have passed since Jenni Murray’s infamous piece in the Sunday Times on why trans women are not “real women” and passions have cooled. It may be that most people have forgotten it already. But it certainly polarised opinion at the time. Twitter is not a place for subtlety and nuance and two rival camps quickly established themselves, supporters of Murray thanking her for saying what all women felt but were afraid to say too publicly, whilst opponents shouted “TERF” and “transphobe.” I fall into neither camp, but want to say, what I, as a trans woman, think and how I see relations between cis and trans women.

To begin with, it is necessary to point out that the piece is written in more measured terms than some recent contributions to this debate and it is refreshingly free from the abuse that the likes of Bindel and  Greer seem to revel in. The argument is, in essence, one have heard radical feminist make. It goes like this: I have nothing against people who identify as transgender but they can never be real women. They do, of course, suffer prejudice and discrimination. This is wrong and I support them on their struggle to be treated with dignity and respect but their struggle is separate from the women’s struggle. Indeed attempts to link the two are actually harmful to women as the battles that women fight in terms of reproductive rights, etc can be erased by the wider struggle particularly as the trans community is made up of people who were brought up male, in other words with privilege and who carry over male attitudes and behaviour onto their new identity. Trans advocates tend to be vocal, they can be intimidating and, cis gendered women’s issues get drowned out.

To illustrate her point Murray refers to two trans women she once interviewed. One, a priest of the Church of England, had nothing to say about the institutional misogyny of the Church but was quite keen to talk about her frocks. The other, the TV presenter India Willoughby was, apparently, unable to see a problem with the sexist work dress codes that many women were rightly getting angry about a few months ago.   The inference we are expected to draw, it seems, is that trans women are shallow, concerned mainly with appearance and unwilling to understand, or engage with, significant issues that affect cis gendered women.

It is difficult to avoid thinking that she has effectively put up tow straw women to knock down here and I know from my own experience that they are not typical.

But to return to the main argument. In one sense Murray is simply defining real as having, or having had, a uterus. Real is simply a synonym of cisgendered and in this sense, that argument is trivial. Nonetheless what Murray says touches on an important issue. For it is undeniable that social and legal control of women’s bodies revolve around reproduction. Menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation and menopause are elemental physical experiences for cisgendered women, and are at the root of control, superstition and oppression that women, at various times inm history have suffered. Trans women, by definition, cannot experience these things directly.

It is, however, a leap of logic to suggest that trans women cannot understand these things or cannot support the struggles of their cisgendered sisters. And there is not, I think, a dichotomy between trans and cisgendered women’s issues, but rather continuity on a spectrum of discrimination, and overlap.  Consider the bathroom laws on some US states. These were justified as protecting cisgendered women against the threat of violence from sexual predators masquerading as trans women as if men intent on rape and sexual assault need to put on a dress and go to the ladies bathroom to find victims. In fact a number of those humiliated and forcibly removed from bathrooms have been cisgendeed women who were considered by security people not to look feminine enough. There is, therefore, a real sense in which the discrimination suffered by trans and cis women overlap and intersect. I think too that rights are indivisible. The achievement of, for example, racial equality, actually benefits white people too, just as gender equality can be liberating for cisgendered men. The same goers for trans rights.

And finally a word on my experience. I have a wide circle of cisgendered women friends, two of whom are very close friends. Most women I meet, socially or otherwise, have no difficulty in accepting me as a woman. Some of them have given me support, encouragement, advice,  and love that I have found truly humbling. And really all I want to do is to get on with my life and enjoy these friendships. I know that I will never be as a cisgendered woman in so many ways, I know too that I would never wish to privilege trans rights over, for example, reproductive rights, in the feminist movement. I know too that it doesn’t matter to me that whether particular people want to describe me as not a real woman although it is disappointing that someone I always had enormous respect for should jump on the bandwagon like this. Some points she makes are pertinent and trans people need to answer them. But too often she falls back on cliché and caricature.    At the end of it all I am who I am. And that’s fine by the people who matter to me.

Sitting Around

My first experience of face sitting wasn’t in a BDSM setting. It happened when I was 10 and a jealous older sister of a school friend. She overpowered me and sat on my face, wriggling as she did so, and made no move to get up as I screamed and beat the ground furiously as I struggled for air. She did this more than once and it was part of a pattern of seeking to humiliate me and more. This was the same girl who tied me up and locked me up in a coalscuttle and I have no doubt she really wanted to harm me. She certainly terrified me.

After that face sitting played no part in my life until two years ago when ATVOD included in their ludicrous list of banned activities in their war on porn or rather their war on sexual activities that women enjoy.  But still I felt no desire to do it.

Now I have a sub who loves having my butt, actually quite a bony in these days with all the running I do, on his face, and as I gain experience I have come to realise it is rather sensual. Maybe there is an element of humiliation for the sub. Maybe it’s the thought that my genitalia are just a tongue length away.  For me it’s the symbolism. As a form of breath play it is a powerful form of control. And the thought of my sub, directly underneath me, utterly helpless, is intoxicating.

I know that Harriet Birch hated me with a passion all those years ago but if I don’t exactly remember her with fondness I don’t feel any bitterness. I wonder whether she was one of the people I have met on my journey who helped plant seeds of kink within me? And I also wonder what she is doing now?

Double Trouble

There is, as they say, a first time for everything and Monday this week saw my first experience of double domming. There really couldn’t have been anything better to do on a day when the rain lashed down and hammered on the roof of the former industrial building where the dungeon was located. We were at the very top of the building so got the full sound effects as we put my slave through his paces. As readers of this blog will know I am still relatively new to domming myself but my partner in crime is even newer and keen to learn. And it was a huge learning experience for me too. I had planned and scripted the session and discussed it with her over lunch the day before. I had to make one or two late changes as I had originally planned a couple of activities she wasn’t yet entirely comfortable with, but from this perspective it went smoothly. I always worry about timing but this is something you can only learn from experience. Essentially, the trick is not to try to fit too much in, and I find that half a dozen activities works best. There were a couple of things I really wanted to do but which I had to defer to next time. I can’t tell you what these were as the slave will probably read this and, well, I would hate to spoil the surprise.

So I had the task of leading the session and guiding my fellow domme but without stopping her showing spontaneity. Also for a good session it was important for the chemistry to work between her and the slave. Feedback I have received suggests this happened. And also, of course, the chemistry between the two dommes.

Most importantly, it has helped to restore my confidence. I went through a real low patch recently and was starting to doubt my own abilities. Did I really want to do this? I even got as far as clicking my way towards the Delete Account on Fetlife? What, I reflected, if I just disappeared as others have before? As I reflected I knew that I couldn’t. I would have hurt too many people. It is not time for me to be gone yet, nowhere near in fact. And I have learnt something else. As a domme you want to appear strong and powerful, in control all the time but sometimes you just can’t. I have learnt that, sometimes, being open and honest about your problems with your sub can teach you a lot about them as people and no, it doesn’t have to impair your dominance over them. I really feel that my bond with my slave has been strengthened by this experience.

And double domming was a great way to get my mojo back, not least because having a third person there reduced the emotional intensity that can occur in one to one sessions and made it fun. Even my slave had a smile on his face…..at least until I took out the nipple clamps!