BUSTLE: How To Get Into BDSM, Even In A Pandemic

Do chains and whips excite you? How about clear lines of communication? Before you spend your last months of quarantine building a sex dungeon in your basement, try scheduling a virtual appointment with a professional dominatrix, submissive, or kink-friendly therapist to truly prep yourself for your journey into BDSM.

In order to do some of the homework for you, Bustle's sex and relationships editor, Iman Hariri-Kia, chatted with professional dominatrix Danielle Blunt to get the real first tips for starting BDSM.

What is BDSM?

BDSM is a portmanteau that can be interpreted a few ways, but Blunt defines it as "bondage and discipline, dominant submission, sadism, and masochism."

Where do I start?

Education and community are the most important aspects for anyone who participates in BDSM, but especially for beginners. Blunt suggests following professional subs and dommes (and tipping them for their content) to explore what you like and reading websites like KinkOutEvents for educational programming and finding community.

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How To Get Into BDSM, Even In A Pandemic by Lauren Tegtmeyer

Dec 1, 2020

THE BODY: How Practicing Kink Helps Keep People with Disabilities Connected to Their Desires

I pull up a headless mirror pic of my body dotted in perfect circular bruises from my thighs to my neck. “But look at how purple this bruise is,” I type and hit SEND.

Taking care of my disabled body doesn’t always spark joy. It involves juggling the exhausting tasks of physical strengthening, care coordination, and medication scheduling. But snapping a pic to show off any progress, like surviving an intense cupping session, for an impact play–obsessed hook-up across the country is one way that kink keeps me connected to my desires.

Kink and BDSM existed on the fringes of my life before 2019, when I developed chronic pain as a symptom of my disabilities. I’ve been a switch and a sub near and far. Being publicly flogged at your local Eagle is part of my vacation to-do list. And admittedly I’ve always been the kind of bratty exhibitionist to send a salacious pic or two. Thanks to an enthusiastic physical therapist and the support of other kinky, disabled loved ones, I have found that these and many other aspects of my kink practice are critical parts of my pain management and mental wellness as I’ve transitioned into disability.

After interviewing a handful of disabled people who practice kink this past week, I found myself in good company.

As daily chronic pain took over my life for the last year, my typically ferocious sex drive tanked. It felt like living with chronic pain meant making a choice between using my scarce energy to manage that pain through medical interventions or not manage it at all but have potentially unenjoyable sex instead.

However, an overwhelming consensus among the people I interviewed destroyed my binary thinking by affirming that kink allows disabled people to control pain and feel good in our bodies, something that might not typically happen in our daily lives. Intense pain, unpredictable symptoms, and confronting constant ableism may dominate a disabled person’s life. But kink spaces and practices can serve as a container with accessibility and adaptation in mind.

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How Practicing Kink Helps Keep People with Disabilities Connected to Their Desires by Emmett Patterson

Nov 23, 2020

ACLU: To Protect Black Trans Lives, Decriminalize Sex Work

Like pretty much everything in 2020, Trans Day of Remembrance is going to be different this year. It’s going virtual. But one thing that hasn’t changed is that transgender people are still being murdered for who we are. The list of names keeps growing. This year is the deadliest ever, and it isn’t even over yet.

Thirty-seven trans people have been killed since January. The real number is probably even higher. Trans people are often misgendered by law enforcement or don’t report attacks, so we don’t even know about most of the violence that happens to our sisters. Most of the deaths this year were of Black trans women. Many were sex workers. I am not surprised. As a trans woman of color and a former sex worker myself, I know what it’s like to be targeted for who you are, and to not have anyone to call for help because your job is illegal.

I’m lucky that I was never assaulted in my 12 years of doing sex work. I’m in the minority. But I have been robbed while working. My experience showed me the difficult situation that sex workers face when it comes to reporting: I wanted to seek justice, but I was too afraid of being arrested to go to the police station.

Read the Full Article Here: ACLU; To Protect Black Trans Lives, Decriminalize Sex Work by Kaniya Walker 

November 20, 2020

MBG: A Beginner's Guide To Erotic Hypnosis, An Orgasmic Experience For The Mind

Hypnosis has been used for centuries to induce dreams, recall memories, and transform habits. So it makes sense that it could also be used to elicit pleasure. That would be erotic hypnosis, also referred to as hypno-sex. But the erotic in erotic hypnosis means more than orgasms.

What is erotic hypnosis?

Erotic hypnosis is the use of hypnosis to elicit a particular sexual goal in some shape or form, whether it's a hands-free orgasm or just a pleasurable and relaxing state of mind. It involves one person guiding another person into a trance-like state using just their voice and then suggesting certain attitudes, behaviors, or actions.

"Erotic hypnosis has a way of enhancing the things that the subject already enjoys. It can draw things out that would otherwise stay hidden, allow the hypnotee to be more sensitive, and lower inhibition if that's what they want," hypnodomme and certified hypnotist Katherine Dire tells mbg. "It's a way of playing with sexuality in a way that is a little indirect."

Reasons someone may want to practice erotic hypnosis:

  • Increase awareness of touch, mind, and sensation
  • Control pleasure during or after trance
  • Induce hands-free orgasms
  • Enhance role-play and fantasy
  • Experience something "taboo"
  • Transform a kink or fetish
  • Let go and relax

How it works.

Every session starts with you and your hypnotist laying the foundation. You'll talk about your goal for the session, your soft and hard limits, and insight into your life. The more pieces of the puzzle they have, the better.

Then, the hypnotist suggests you into a trance.

During hypnosis, a person's attention leaves their immediate environment and clings to "inner experiences such as feelings, cognition, and imagery," according to research by hypnotherapist Ann Williamson.

You enter a consciously induced trance that mirrors lighter trances you already experience at least twice a day. When we wake up and run off our list of to-do's, when we recap our day before bed, and when we zone out mid-drive and miss our exit—all are types of trances.

How you experience a trance depends on the suggestions the hypnotist makes. Your relaxed state of mind can resemble sleepiness, grogginess, fuzziness, or floating. "Everyone experiences hypnosis differently. Some get extremely relaxed, some get turned on, some don't experience anything, and some get amnestic," says Dire.

You stay in that deep state of relaxation until the session is over or something snaps you out of it.

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A Beginner's Guide To Erotic Hypnosis, An Orgasmic Experience For The Mind by Alex Shea

Nov 21, 2020

VICE: Canada Just Opened Its First Shelter Exclusively for Sex Workers

Canada’s first shelter exclusively for sex workers opened its doors on Monday in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

The temporary shelter, run by WISH, a support organization for women and gender diverse folks in the street-based sex trade, operates 24/7 and offers on-site laundry, washrooms, hot showers, a lounging area, and 23 beds, three of which are reserved for COVID-related isolation.

The new shelter also shares a backlot with WISH’s long standing drop-in centre, where clients can meet with nurse practitioners and access meals, among other programs. A safe respite site is also available.

WISH executive director Mebrat Beyene told VICE News the organization had been hoping to unveil a permanent shelter for sex workers, but the pandemic changed their plans. Instead, WISH opened a temporary emergency shelter, in partnership with BC Housing and the city, with plans to renew it in a year.

Read the Full Article Here: VICE: Canada Just Opened Its First Shelter Exclusively for Sex Workers by Anya Zoledziowski

JEZEBEL: A Biden Win Is Not a Victory for Sex Workers

In the run-up to the presidential election, leading sex worker rights advocates are trying to anticipate the impact of either candidate’s win—and it’s the possibility of a Biden presidency that elicits both deep concern and cautious optimism. While most of the advocates I spoke with strongly favored Biden over Trump as a candidate, none considered his theoretical presidency to be a default win for sex worker rights. Penelope Saunders, executive director of Best Practices Policy Project, a group dedicated to supporting sex work advocacy, observes that many of the politicians running against Trumpism are aiming for the restoration of the Obama-era. “The hope is that politics will return to normal—and ‘normal’ for sex workers’ rights is not good,” said Saunders. “We have to hold in our minds that [a Biden victory] is not a victory for sex workers.”

It’s only by comparison to President Donald Trump that Biden can be considered “good” on sex worker rights. As Kate D’Adamo, a partner at the social justice collective Reframe Health and Justice, puts it, “Under Biden, it is gonna be tough. Under Trump, it’s going to be a lot harder for a lot of people.”

Read the Full Article Here: JEZEBEL: A Biden Win Is Not a Victory for Sex Workers by Tracy Clark-Flory

November 3rd, 2020



INQUIRIES JOURNAL: Pain and Power - BDSM as Spiritual Expression

The popularity of traditional religions are on the decline as Western society strives towards secularism. People are increasingly identifying as non-religious as religion disappears from the public sphere, but this does not mean that the drives and needs that religion addresses have declined. People may be moving away from particular symbols and maps of meaning but they are still finding and inventing systems to fulfil their existential questioning, increasingly in areas that are traditionally seen as secular. One prime example of this ‘secular religioning’ can be found in the practice and subculture of BDSM.

BDSM is the umbrella term used to describe the consensual participation in Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, and Sadism/Masochism (most kinks fall under this umbrella). It is intentionally participating in the play of pain, power and (often) sex. The focus on the intersection of these powerful, primal forces in the human experience makes BDSM a fertile ground for spiritual expression. BDSM can be analyzed as a ‘secular religion’ by looking at the psychology of pain and power, religious ways of hurting, and BDSM as ritual.

Pain is the most familiar and universal characteristic of all human experience. It is a sensation that is inexorably bound with mental and cultural experiences and is often accompanied by an intellectual or emotional judgement. All embodied experiences, including pain, are a mix of “biological facts and cultural consciousness (metaphors, emotions, attitudes).” (Glucklich, Sacred Pain, 14). Pain is not the same as suffering. Suffering is not a physical sensation but an “emotional and evaluative reaction to any number of causes, some entirely painless.” (Glucklich, Sacred Pain, 11). Pain can actually be a solution to suffering. As Glucklich put it, pain can be a “psychological analgesic that removes anxiety, guilt, and even depression.” (Glucklich, Sacred Pain, 11).

The theories of scholars who have “set the agenda for the cultural construction of embodiment” over the last few of decades, such as Micheal Foucault and Julia Kristeva, require that pain discourse “reflect the way cultures ‘construct’ the individual as a self and as a member of the community.” (Glucklich, Sacred Pain, 14). According to Glucklich, theories of pain fall into four broad categories: normative (a theological argument for the value of pain within a specific tradition), critical (“a conversation with the first stance, in which the theorist has not altogether disengaged his discourse and reduced it to a separate level”) , descriptive (the reasons for using pain are the ones stated by the practitioners themselves, whether explicitly or symbolically), and reductive (explains the use of pain by reducing it to a more abstract “fundamental” level of description such as biology, sociology, or psychology). Glucklich posits that reductive theories are the only real explanations for religious pain.

He goes on to describe several psychological models of pain that are related to religious understanding of pain and power: juridical, medical, military, athletic, and magical.

Juridical pain is punishment by “some personal agency (such as God, satan, or demons) or by some impersonal mechanism such as karma.” (Glucklich, Sacred Pain, 16). This punishment can be seen as just or entirely unwarranted (such as with the biblical case of Job). As Glucklich iterates, “pain may be taken as punishment, but the loving punishment inflicted by a metaphorical father, by God, in order to educate those whom He loves. It educated them for patience and perseverance, which are necessary for salvation.” (Glucklich, Sacred Pain, 21). The juridical model accounts for a large percentage of the cases found in religious literature, and many pain patients still use it’s language in secular and medical situations today.

Within the medical model, religious sources often describe pain as medical and evaluate pain as a beneficial experience. This is not a claim that pain is a pleasant experience but that pain benefits, or heals, the soul. This is the idea of pain as spiritual medicine and it’s values are echoed in the classical medical notion that the cure can be as painful as the disease.

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Pain and Power - BDSM as Spiritual Expression by Alicia Charles D'Avalon

Nov 1, 2020

New NHRC Advisory Recognises Sex Work as Work, Addresses Key Women's Issues

In a major victory for women’s rights in India amid the COVID-19 pandemic, campaigns led by several advocacy groups have resulted in the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issuing fresh advisories to states.

The NHRC advisory on the rights of women, in the context of COVID-19, was issued on October 8. It was based on impact assessment done by experts. The NHRC had constituted a “Committee of Experts on Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Human Rights and Future Response” in order to assess the impact of the pandemic on the realisation of the rights of the people, especially the marginalised sections of society. The advisory addresses important issues for women workers like Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), Anganwadi workers, migrant and unorganised workers, adolescent girls and women in prisons.

Read the Full Article Here: New NHRC Advisory Recognises Sex Work as Work, Addresses Key Women's Issues by Sumedha Pal

October 10th, 2020


DAZED: BDSM is Fun, Science Confirms

For people who aren’t particularly open when it comes to sex and sexuality, BDSM can be difficult to understand, even though previous reports suggest that its practitioners tend to have better sex. Now, a new study suggests that the pleasure associated with BDSM is also scientifically provable.

Published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, the research involved taking blood samples from 35 Belgian couples – recruited via FetLife, a popular social network for the fetish community – before a consensual BDSM “play” session at a sex club. More blood samples were taken after the end of the session, then analysed to measure the change in hormone levels. Meanwhile, a group of 27 people not interested in BDSM (the control group) ran similar tests at a sports club.

The results show that the biological effects of a BDSM interaction are a clear indicator of increased pleasure. For dominant partners, this is mainly linked to the power play aspect of the interaction, which caused a rise in endocannabinoid levels (which are linked to feelings of bliss and contentment). For submissive partners, on the other hand, the results showed that the hormonal change isn’t associated with power play, but with pain play.

Read Full Article Here: Dazed: BDSM is Fun, Science Confirms by Thom Waite

September 24th, 2020

CROSSCUT: Already Stigmatized, Sex Workers Have Fewer Choices in a Pandemic

Sex work for Ganesha Gold Buffalo was never an easy job. Sometimes it was fun. Sometimes it was a necessity. Usually, it was enough to get by. And, as a transgender femme, it was one of the only jobs Gold Buffalo could rely on.

“I like to say that girls like me, girls like us, always end up in the realm of sex work in some way,” says Gold Buffalo, who uses the pronouns it and itself. “Because of our marginalization, we’re not only cast aside and devalued … but we’re hypervisible at the same, hyperfetishized.”

Still, it was steady work. While much of Gold Buffalo’s finances has come from its work as an organizer with the Black Trans Task Force, sex work was a key supplement. Gold Buffalo’s year hinged on paid go-go dancing gigs it annually lined up throughout Pride month, as well as money made for adult videos. Besides that, with so many others like Gold Buffalo in the sex working industry, too, it was a way of finding friends and community.

Read the Full Article Here: CROSSCUT: Already Stigmatized, Sex Workers Have Fewer Choices in a Pandemic

by Manola SeCaira

September 14, 2020