We Are Like Ships in The Night

Sometimes friends mention things in conversation that give you a jolt because they express things that have been gnawing away at the back of your mind and make you think about them in a more focussed way. This happened a while ago as I enjoyed a pub lunch with fellow blogger Eye. She commented that many, if not most, friendships on the kink scene are essentially ephemeral. And this got me thinking.

I had been thinking anyway about how kink friendships differ from vanilla ones, in particular how there is often a weird kind of dislocation. This is particularly true of friends who have been play partners. I can think now of say half a dozen people I am no longer in contact with, who have been naked before me, who I have flogged and caned, spat on, humiliated in other ways, people, in short with whom I have enjoyed moments of great intensity and intimacy. And yet there are so many things I don’t know about them that even casual acquaintances in vanilla life know. I have explored the darkest recesses of their souls, they have bared themselves before me in more than physical ways, and yet, I know nothing about them.

Maybe it is because I know nothing that they are able to have these moments of intimacy. They know too, as I know, that we can disappear out of each other’s lives and they may never be able to find us. I suppose I am fortunate in never having had a major falling out with anyone on the scene although I have been close to others who have, and know just how traumatic these things can be. Mostly I have lost contact with people because, as in vanilla life, we move on, we change, or maybe stop going to the same events. Then there are the people who decide that the kink scene is no longer for them, who press the button on Fetlife and just disappear, knowing that we will not be able to find them. A couple of my former play partners have done this. I respect their choice and will not try to look for them.

A few months ago, at a private party, I met a dominant lady who shared my passion for vintage clothes, and specifically, Vivien of Holloway. She accepted my invitation to join in my play with my slave and we became friends on FetLife . We agreed to meet up again at the BBB and wear our Vivs. The other day I decided to message her about the next BBB and noticed that her profile too had disappeared. She was never really a friend as such but someone I felt I would like to have got to know better but this is not to be.

Falling out is not pleasant but I can handle it, drifting away from people you no longer feel much in common with I can handle too. But the sudden disappearance from the scene of people you liked and respected is different. It always leaves me with a feeling of wistful longing. Even in matters as ephemeral as kink it is sometimes nice to say goodbye.

It’s Painful but Is It Art?

Playing in public at clubs means that you are going to be watched. There are those who find this a distraction.  I realised early on that I didn’t and remember an occasion, early on in my domming career when I was so absorbed in the scene that I didn’t notice that a dozen people had gathered round, in silence, to watch. It was only when I turned round to select another toy to hit my sub with that I saw them, totally absorbed in what I was doing. But I was more absorbed still and pleased that only my play partner existed fort me in that hour. That is as it should be. We play for each other and not to put on a show. Or do we?

I find that at the big public events, such as the Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar or Cirque de Chaos play primarily is about putting on a show. The noise and general business make it difficult to get into the required headspace, on the one hand, and I also found it difficult to read the verbal and non-verbal signals from my sub that I need in order to pace the scene properly. I think I tend to err on the side of caution in these circumstances although my slave would probably beg to disagree. I also worry about losing equipment as has happened a couple of times over the years.

I think that, in a sense, all play is performance, even private play without an audience.   I once had a conversation with a highly experienced pro domme who told me that domination was all in the head and that she could dominate any one of her regular clients in sweatshirt, jeans and Uggs. Allowing for the possibility that there are people out there with an Ugg fetish, I don’t entirely agree. When we play we are taking ourselves out of the drab real world for an hour or two, we are creating our own theatre and the costumes we wear are part of the fantasy we create.  The aesthetics of BDSM  have become increasingly important to me over the last year or so. I have a range of traditional fetish out fits in PVC and latex and so on, but have also played in a schoolmatronly skirt suit, in my lovely Vivien of Holloway repro vintage. The latter can be quite disconcerting. Latex, PVC and boots are the sartorial language of sadism and dominance. Feminine 1950s repro vintage isn’t. It can be hard to come to terms with a girly girl in a cerise rose circle dress and pink petticoat who smiles as he wields the cane and the whip, who hurts and humiliates with genuine relish. It is, as they say, a mindfuck.

The dressing up, the make up, the attention to detail are as important as the planning of the session, the skill in using the toys. It is an act of self giving to turn myself into the Goddess that my slave needs me to be, to help him into the headspace, to lure him into the theatre where he can be his true self, where he and I indulge our fantasies and where the pain and the marks I inflict are balm for the stresses  of daily life. Let the curtain rise!

Bristol Again

What sticks in the memory about Eroticon is often not the sessions, interesting and stimulating though they are. It is, for me at least, conversations, impressions, and the thoughts inspired by these that I treasure, and the feeling that is has been an enormous privilege to spend an intensive weekend in the company of seriously bright people who are totally into sex, sexuality, kink and all things related.

Here are some memories of 2016 (in no particular order).

Discussing needle play over breakfast with Remittance Girl, who was able to capture from a theoretical perspective why it could be seen as deeply transgressive, this as I ate a sausage and egg sandwich.

The wonderful Off Centre cafe, superb breakfasts, great coffee and a really friendly atmosphere.

A spanking lesson from Pandora Blake with huge thanks to Simon Spanked for agreeing to be spanked by me so that I could practice.

Overcoming my nerves to read in the final session and trying probably unsuccessfully, to hide my embarrassment as DJ Fet  straightened my dress., a part of which had become tucked into my panties.

Ashley Lister’s anal poem, a riot of glorious bad taste.

Making a flogger, a cute little pink one. I think I know whose cock that is going to be used on.

Talking about the awfulness of radical feminism with Girl on The Net over a cigarette. I’ve been a target too and they didn’t even know I was trans!

The unceasing loveliness of F Leonora Solomon, including dinner with her on the first evening where we joined by the equally lovely @ouizzi and @exposing 40 and feeling bad because I hadn’t submitted anything for Leonora’s anthologies. I will, I promise.

An impromptu rope lesson from Charlie J Forrest in the bar with thanks to the Other Livvy for being my bunny (well as much as anyone can be for me with my non-existent skills!)

Discovering in the bar on the last evening that Anna Sky is a fellow Vivette (that’s a lady who wears Vivien of Holloway dresses by the way).  That’s now at least five of us in the kinky Vivette sisterhood. I’d love to hear from anyone else.

And, prior to that, persuading Exhibit A that  he really needs to buy a Viv men’s shirt or two.

And Eye for being Eye, generous, funny and clever.

Outing myself to Kay Jaybee  who has known me for two years on social media under a different name.

Shutting my eyes to hear Jonathan aka Earotica  read the good version of the story extract he had written to illustrate his talk and realising what a lovely voice he has. I could listen to him for hours…….

Space doesn’t allow me to mention everyone and apologies if I missed you. I just want to say that every conversation I had enriched my experience. Thanks to everyone I engaged with. I was actually quite  taken by Michael Knight’s idea of buying an island and us all going there. I think I would burn the boats though!

There is one person I haven’t mentioned yet and that is Ruby. As you know, Ruby, you have indirectly changed my life.  We have never really had much time to talk and I hope we do one day get the opportunity. I am totally in awe of your dedication and hard work in making this event happen, again and again. I know, too, that it is not only my life that has changed through Eroticon. You can be so, so proud of what you have done. Thank you!

Ruby is bowing out and has gone out at the top as the great sportswomen do.  I don’t know what is happening behind the scenes to get somebody else to take it on, but I do know this: Eroticon is too wonderful, too beautiful an event to be allowed to die.  I know too that we WILL all meet again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eroticon Again

Wow! It’s hard to believe that Eroticonlive is only ten days away. So here is a brief intro about for me for those of you who are going.

What is Your Name? I am Lady Celine @TVMadameCeline on Twitter.

If you had the opportunity to rename yourself (or your blog) what would you pick?

Tempting Eve

What are you most looking forward to at Eroticon Live and/or is there anything you are nervous about?

This will be my third Eroticon and I look forward to this as a weekend with friends. I’m not nervous about anything although I might be if I’d volunteered to bottom for Pandora 🙂

Have you planned which sessions you will be attending or are you more of a spur of the moment kind of person?

I incline towards anything to do with kink or with the campaign against censorship so DJ Fet’s session on Humiliation and Degradation is a must.If it’s only half as good as her rope demo last year it will be awesome. I also look forward to hearing Pandora Blake as well.

What essential items to your life will be bringing with you to Eroticon Live? (you can have a maximum of 5)

Phone, cigarettes and a latex dress for the party. Maybe a flogger or two because you never know……

A new cocktail has been made in your honour, what would be the key ingredient and what would it be called?

Strawberries, cranberry juice to make it look red and menacing, and enough vodka to bring any man to his knees and keep him there. I would call it the Humbler

And finally… Complete the sentence; I have yet to…..

I have yet to leave Eroticon feeling other than inspired.

As I blogged last year Eroticon has played a big and, at the time, unexpected part in my life. A chance conversation at the bar in 2014 proved to have far reaching implications. And last year, my Eroticon debut en femme as it were, was simply beautiful. This is a gathering of awesome people and I look on Eroticon as a kind of family. I really can’t wait!.

 

The Prostitution Thing

Prostitute is not a word I like. When used about those who provide professional sexual services it is heavy with stigma, used either to convey contempt or to imply that the person is a helpless victim in need of rescue. It is often used too by lazy journalists. Take the case of the professional dominatrix who was for six months in a relationship with the Culture Secretary John Whittingdale. and who was described as a whore, a Miss Whiplash and so on.

Now most people who are reading this don’t need to be told that the job of a professional dominatrix is in many ways much more complex than that of a full service sex worker. She needs clothing, equipment, and specialised premises. She also needs skill and experience to engage in the various activities safely, Above all she needs empathy and psychological insight.

In saying this I do not want to be seen as driving a wedge between pro dommes and other providers. . although one pro domme (a lady for whom incidentally I have enormous respect) once upbraided me in an online exchange for comparing pro dommes to escorts when I referred to them as hex workers. I felt this comment was unfair. I had never suggested that she, or anybody else for that matter, had sex with clients.

There are reasons for thinking too that the rigid demarcation on some people still see between domes and escorts is anyway quite recent. The distinction is I think quite recent. A couple of years ago I found a fascinating article about the world of professional domination written in the early 1990s, just before the internet emerged as a real game changer for those who provide professional domination services. The piece was illustrated by ladies’ cards from which it is clear that, at that time, many dommes also doubled up as escorts.

But I think the key point is this. All of us who engage in BDSM are expressing an aspect of our sexuality. This very much includes the clients of pro dommes.  A pro domme I spoke to once put it like this..

“I do consider myself a sex worker. OK I don’t actually have sex with clients but it’s all about making people come isn’t it?”

The term sex worker embraces a large number of service providers many of whom do not have genital sex with clients and indeed some, such as webcam girls, may never even physically meet their clients. Melisa Gira Grant in her book Playing the Whore had no hesitation in making the connection. And this is surely right. The attacks on sex workers, the demands for the criminalisation of clients for example, need to be seen in the wider context of attacks on sexual freedom, for example the attacks on mainly BDSM porn and the creeping demands for ever more draconian internet censorship. These are attacks on all of us with alternative sexualities. So the next time someone proposes a law to criminalise the purchase of sex remember…..you and I could be in the firing line next. Get out there and make your voice heard.

Bathroom Balls

This week the Foreign Office took the unusual step of issuing a leaflet aimed at travellers to certain states in the USA. Unusual because this sort of thing is usually only done for countries  with repressive political systems and/or cultural norms very different from our own, essentially to help people not get into difficulties with the authorities. This leaflet is intended for transgender people and is necessary because the legislators of some southern states find our genitals really fascinating.

Now in all the years I have been using communal toilets I have yet to have sight of anyone’s genitalia. And, like most people, I am not interested in what people have between their legs unless they happen to be sexual partners which, I can assure you, is a small minority of the people I interact with. Yet, there are those who take a very great interest in what people have between their legs, particularly if they are trans. Some US states have enacted laws obliging people to use only the toilets corresponding to their birth sex which, if it were to be enforced, would mean that everyone would need to submit to a genital examination before being admitted.

This is not, of course, about bigotry…..really . We are told it is to prevent embarrassment and to protect women from sexual assault since, apparently all trans women are rapists. On the first point it is hard to see what embarrassment could result since all trans people of any gender use cubicles, And as for the second point, it is beneath my dignity to engage with it.

So ladies this could mean you have a man in a suit and a hipster beard walking in or a petite feminine lady in a dress using the gents, which in some cases, would expose her to risk off assault. But if trans people are to be denied rights, hey let’s do it properly.

And this is not just about the law. Most trans people who use the toilets corresponding to the gender they identify with have felt uncomfortable at some time. Some of them may try to avoid using the toilet at all when out, which is not a good thing when you’re having a meal washed down with a few drinks. It is no coincidence that trans people of all genders suffer an above average incidence of urinary tract infections.

This whole episode says most, however, about the people behind it. Do they feel threatened by us? Why? If they could look beyond the ends of their noses, or whatever other appendage they have, they might see that the open acceptance of trans people can be liberating for everyone both inside and outside the bathroom.

Not Losing My Religion

Philip Larkin once wrote that, if called on to construct a religion, he would make use of water. When I construct a religion I will make use of kink. For the two have much in common and not just because the word itself comes from the Latin for tying or binding. I mean, if we are talking domination and submission it doesn’t really get more domly than being an omnipotent being does it?

Religions do things like imposing chastity on their adherents, setting tasks, prescribing bodily positions, respectful language, and if, like me, you were brought up a Catholic, there are few things that evoke BDSM rituals more vividly than the humiliating ordeal of confession. Add in the attractive aesthetic elements of Catholicism and you have something that just cries out to be twisted into a kinky parody in the way that much BDSM practice consists of high ritual parodying power relations, reproducing them for pleasure.

Reproducing religious ritual in a BDSM context is something that I find a massive turn on. And here is a fantasy I want to share with you. .

In the dungeon I become a Goddess. I walk among submissives of all genders, who at My approach, bow their heads and genuflect. I take My seat on the throne and they kneel, take out their rosaries and pray to Me

“Hail Mistress” they intone in a rhythmic monotone as clouds of incense rise up, partially obscuring Me from their adoring gaze. Then, one by one, I summon My worshippers to the darkness of the confessional where they bare their souls and tearfully lost their faults and the myriad ways they have failed to please Me.

Crushed and fearful they listen as I impose the penance of lashes with the whip. The others, yet to confess are forced to kneel and watch as I secure the sinners to the cross and write absolution in a criss cross pattern of agonising stripes on their back. I experience a deep joy that explodes into ecstasy as they beg for mercy (there can be none) and scream with pain.

By the time I have punished and forgiven each one the dungeon is silent except for occasional muffled sobs of pain and shame. My arm aches from the effort of cracking the whip time and time again. I am spent. But one ritual remains.

I call out one of the faithful, make him kneel before the altar, hand clasped in prayer. I lie on the altar throbbing with lust and desire. When ordered he will climb up, will pleasure Me, swallow My juices in the sweetest kinky Eucharist and then come down and take Me, his Goddess, all his for the next few minutes of Paradise.

Why Corbyn is right on Sex Work

The debate on sex work, particularly the debate in feminist circles is a minefield for te unwary, a place where ideology trumps reason and one which may be leading to the implementation of policies that are not supported by any serious evidence, and may be harmful to many vulnerable people, mainly women. Jeremy Corbyn merely said what most informed observers think, that the best way to protect sex workers from violence and exploitation is to decriminalise prostitution. This was a courageous step and one think for which he is now being pillories.

I don’t want to go into the detailed arguments again but just say that decriminalisation of sex work is advocated by such well-known pimping organisations as the World Health Organisation, by charities working to help vulnerable sex workers such as National Ugly Mugs, and by pretty much every serious academic expert on the subject (many of whom are women). I have read widely on the subject in the last three years and find the arguments against criminalisation of clients, against “End Demand” and against the so-called Nordic Model cogent and well supported by evidence. Many of these making them are either sex workers, women or feminists, frequently all three. Jeremy Corbyn is saying nothing remarkable, in fact he is taking a rational and considered position.

Yet he has stirred up a hornets nest with many senior Labour women (none of whom, to my knowledge, has any specialist knowledge of the area) rushing to condemn him and repeating the tired mantras about the pimping lobby, about the need to rescue “prostituted women” and so on. These women are remarkably intolerant of anyone daring to disagree with them. Caroline Flint, for example, has blocked on Twitter a number of sex workers who had the temerity to ask her to provide evidence to substantiate her claims. She even blocked National Ugly Mugs. This refusal of elected representatives to engage in discussion is rather depressing.

I accept that some people are trafficked into prostitution although there is no reason to believe that they are other than a small minority. I accept too that many sex workers may not particularly enjoy their work and would rather be doing something else. If they are to exit sex work , however, they will still need to earn a living and the crusaders have not provided much in the way of serious proposals for how they might do this. Criminalisation will actually make the plight of those who are trafficked worse. The Police Service of Northern Ireland opposed the bill to criminalise purchase of sex in the province precisely because it would divert resources away from the investigation of trafficking and because they know (which the likes of Harriet Harman seem not to) that sex workers and clients are often a valuable source of intelligence about trafficking victims.

Anyone who thinks that criminalisation will reduce trafficking has evidently not looked at the history of the criminalisation of drug use over the last 50 years, or indeed the story of the prohibition of alcohol in the United States between 1920 and 1934. The story of prostitution abolitionism bears certain similarities. As in the case of narcotics and alcohol, many of the advocates are genuinely high minded and idealistic people who have a genuine moral aversion to the things they are trying to ban. I do not doubt their sincerity. But if they are not stopped, they do will cause a lot of harm to a lot of vulnerable people.

The Vanilla View

Some time ago I attended a meeting of a TV/TG support and social group in a gay bar just round the corner from the Nightingale Club where the monthly Birmingham Bizarre Bazaar is held. Conversation soon turned to the BBB which one lady had mentioned as a safe space in which to spend the day dressed (which, of course, it is). Another lady commented that I would surely find shocking the things I might see there, what with whips and gags and those things you stick up peoples’ bums.

“Well” I said, “probably not You see, I identify as kinky and BDSM is a big part of my life. I enjoy hitting people and sticking things up their bottoms”

The meeting fell silent and the lady who was so appalled hasn’t spoken to me since. This was all a bit disappointing. I still fail to understand why people who identify on the LBGTQ spectrum have a problem with the accoutrements of consensual BDSM and feel the need to cut a fellow transwoman who identifies as kinky.  There is stigma and prejudice enough, as most of those reading this will be only too aware, without such reactions from those one might expect to be more understanding.

So it was a degree of apprehension that I invited my friend Jane to join me and my slave and ta the February BBB. I haven’t known Jane that long. We met through a shared interest in vintage fashion last year and have met up on a few occasions since.  I told her a while ago about my kink and she seemed understanding and non-judgemental. I could have guessed that she would react like this. Ladies who are into vintage tend, in my experience, to be tolerant and accepting. Jane likes burlesque and there is a considerable crossover between this and fetish clothing. And my Vivs have always attracted admiring comments at fetish events.

Nonetheless it was an eyeopener for her. We went for lunch and she had more questions than I had time to answer. She was intrigued by the relationship I have with my slave and genuinely curious. She loved much of the clothing that was on sale and had even tried on a latex dress but decided against a purchase (even though I think she looked fabulous in it). But her main impression was about the people.

“Everyone was so friendly” she said “so normal. And I hadn’t expected there wold be so many women.”

And this is the point for me. Look beyond the toys and the clothing and you see people, old, young, able-bodied and not, all genders and sexualities, and none. Just people, among them some of the loveliest people I have ever known.  And I thought, too, how  good it is to have a vanilla friend who sees that.

A Short Sharp Shock?

There is a large group on Fetlife for those kinksters with an interest in imprisonment role play. Within this a number of kinks are catered for….some like confinement and constraint, others the interaction with the guards and the humiliation play that this involves, the shouts, the insults, the demeaning rituals. I can do the first but really enjoy the second, which gives full reign to my sadistic imagination. I have run two prison events now and had a great time on both occasions. I have tormented my charges with forced exercise, humiliating prison work details (well what is a toothbrush for after all?), interrogation, punishment with the strap and, most recently, made them eat prison cabbage soup. Given the numbers of Fet who profess an interest in this kind of play I expected a little more interest than  I actually had. But it seems that for most people this is a fantasy they are reluctant to turn into reality.

I suppose part of the reason must be that events run on the basis of consensual non-consent (as prison play has to be) seem to many to be for hardened masochists only. Yet they don’t have to be. Of course, you obey orders and take whatever comes your way. You don’t have a safe word and this can generate feelings of helplessness and vulnerability that may not be experienced in ordinary play. That doesn’t mean that I can do anything I want. This is, after all, CONSENSUAL non-consent. Discussion and negotiation of boundaries before the day are critically important. If you have too many limits this may not be the event for you and that has to be an element of being prepared to go with the flow but I have to respect limits and, equally importantly, read the reactions of my prisoners during scenes to gauge when they have had enough. In this sense it is not that different from more conventional play and yet………on the day it IS non-consent. I guess that makes people nervous. But get into the right head space and you can be taken to places far beyond the grim prison walls.

As I have written elsewhere I am still learning as a domme. I find prison days an incredibly rewarding learning experience. Humiliation and degradation are not things I can always do in other contexts and whilst I enjoy more gentle sensual play my sadistic side needs the outlet of being seriously mean to helpless victims. This includes getting inside their heads. It is not always about what you do but what you can get them to think you might do, in other words, preying on their fear of the unknown, the mindfuck

Best of all though, is the moment at the end when I pronounce the words “You are dismissed”, we move out of role and the nervous, scared prisoner breaks into a big smile that tells me he’s just had the time of his life. This is what makes it all worthwhile.