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?

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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.

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.

Vile Bodies

I  am old enough to remember Spanner. It is the jokes made in the office where I worked at the time that stick in my mind. I remember thinking that it seemed illogical that consent could be a defence to an assault in a boxing ring but not to the infliction of pain in a BDSM context. But that was all. I am ashamed to say I rather enjoyed the titillating stories in the tabloid papers and did not think about the wider implications. I was, after all, only dimly aware of the huge part that BDSM would come to play in my life.

That was all nearly thirty years ago and the reason why I attended a conference at Royal Holloway College in early September. At times this day was heavy going with one presentation following another and some of the delivery being a bit on the dry side. An honourable exception was Myles Jackman who was both entertaining and well informed. His presentation was, however, a sort of appetising side dish (or maybe unappetising in view of what he had to say) to the main course which was academic lawyers and criminologists, (some of them with a personal commitment to alternative sexualities) sketching out the bones of theoretical perspectives on the control of our bodies and the politico-legal discourse surrounding it. This work will draw on Spanner and its implications but move far beyond it to look at what has happened since. There was too much said in the course of a long day to summarise what every speaker said , and my notes are sparse and illegible, ere but I will just set out a few thoughts:

In terms of the case itself homophobia has been cited as a main theme. The judgement, it has been argued, was not homophobic as such although I do wonder whether the case would have been brought at all today, when Clause 28 and the AIDS moral panic seem a distant memory. two themes emerge,  manly pursuits and homophobia. Nonetheless when Lord Justice Templeman addressed the question of the seeming illogicality of accepting consent as a defence against an assault charge in the case of combat sports but not in the case of BDSM play he made specific reference to combat sports being  ‘manly diversions’ the implication being that being kinky or gay or both is ‘unmanly’. Isnot this whjat popular prejudice has said about gay men since time immemorial?t

I will not pursue the issue of homophobia here, but will turn instead to the real significance of the case which is much more interesting. It is, of course, that this was an example of the  state sanctioned policing of bodies.

This, of course, raises all sorts of issues of the [political significance of certain sexual ;practices. And questions these practices. For example is BDSM genuinely transgressive and subversive or is it simply a form of hedonism without wider significance? If the latter, why is it stigmatised and, as we have seen, potentially criminalised?

So why the urge to control what we do with our bodies? A couple of speakers offered neo-liberal free market capitalism as a potential explanation. Where economic efficiency and profit are ultimately the only things that matter the human body has value only as factor of production. If bodies are to be productive in economic terms the capitalist state must intervene to proscribe activities deemed non-productive. Enjoyment is subversive by opening up perspectives of human fulfilment that go beyond work and the consumption of fetishized goods.

There are a couple of problems with this. Whilst I accept that the social construction of the family, of gender identity and sexuality have undergone significant change in the last two hundred years and that much of this change has gone in step with the development of industrial capitalism I am a little wary of taking this argument too far. The argument has a certain whiff of functionalism not to say crude reductionism about it.  What are the mechanism by which the legal dispensation around sexuality and its expression are changed in response to the needs of capital? This is not clear. Secondly we can observe that the control of sexuality has changed significantly over the last hundred years or so within the context of a mode of production that has remained essentially free market and capitalist. A notable example of  this is the decriminalisation of homosexuality begun in 1967 and ending with the laws to equalise the age of consent. I would suggest that the politico-legal debates about sexuality are, to a degree at least, autonomous.  Furthermore, some functionalist and reductionist arguments deny the meaning sometimes even the possibility of struggle. Those of who  identify on the LBGTQI spectrum (this includes a number of the participants at the conference) are not, and never have been, passive recipients of proscription , persecution and so on. We are active in creating our identities and in resisting attempts to make us conform to norms and regulation imposed from above. This recognition is important since, surely, one of the aims of gaining a better theoretical  understanding of these issues is to inform struggle. Theory and praxis if you will.

A  further point is that capitalism is a flexible also chameleon like mode of production. Anything can be commodified and exploited for profit. There have even been attempts to patent genetic sequences,  attempts to commodify the very stuff of life. The same is true of sexuality. Kink, gay sex etc etc can all be exploited for profit and, at the same time, rendered harmless. We need only look at homosexuality and look as the way being gay has gone mainstream, how gay culture has ben captured in the corporate embrace. Not for nothing have alternative Prides been held as a protest against the depoliticisation of mainstream gay culture.

What I am arguing here is that the relative autonomy of the political and legal sphere creates a dual threat, The battle against criminalisation will not end in victory if the price is the corporate embrace and the mainstreaming of our sexual practices. I love BDSM precisely because it is transgressive.

And talk of commodification brings me o n to areas that were touched on but which it would be fascinating to see developed as this project progresses. not developed and which could usefully form part of the project not least because some of them are forming new terrains for struggle, sex workers rights and the rights of porn producers and performers moist notably. Prominent in the campaigns that threaten the livelihoods of both sex workers and porn producers are radical feminist.

Radical feminists are not only hostile to sex work and porn, however much these may be expressions of female empowerment, they are also hostile to BDSM generally, (femdom very much included) and all manifestations of transgenderism. In fact anything that has the possibility of being transgressive and subversive of the gender binary and accepted expressions of sexuality they are against. In their fight against patriarchy and gender they end up paradoxically as agents of the patriarchal capitalist state doing the enforcing. None of this is new but worth saying again. But in the struggle for true sexual freedom they have nothing to contribute. It is the queers, the kinksters, the perverts, the trans men and trans women who can take the battle forward, both intellectually and in terms of political action. And a conference on a sunny September day at Egham was not a bad place to start.

We finished off with wine and snacks in the Colonnades of the lovely main building before heading  to the pub afterwards where I had rather too much wine. I vaguely recall staggering around Egham with Roz Kaveney trying to find the station and then waking up the following day with a bad head. But that, as they say, is another story…..