Often we talk about sexual freedom and exploration, but we have a responsibility to our partners, both the one- night stands and the ones for life.
1. Knowing When To Say No
Sure, we desire sex and myriad experiences with all sorts of beautiful people, but when your partner is too debilitated to consent, you should turn down sex. Not only when they are drunk or under the influence, but also when your potential partner is emotionally or physically broken and using the sex to fill a void. This is because you become this person’s crutch and you risk hurting them more than helping. It is no longer good clean fun. It is taking advantage. The same could be true if your partner is a virgin. If you’re not prepared to care for the person should they want/need your continued presence, this is probably not the right encounter for you.
Ok, so there is this concept of pre-consent, aka you and your partner have decided sometime immediately before the act that it was alright to have a drunken tryst. Perhaps the being taken advantage of is part of the fun itself. But quite frankly, that is a slippery slope, and you might want to get it in writing just to cover all of the asses.
Being allowed to touch someone is insane. Really. Think about it. There aren’t many people you are allowed to touch period, let alone intimately. So should you choose to have sex with someone, no matter how demeaning or dehumanizing the sex act, you must always show respect to that person before, during, and afterward. Making someone feel shame for an act you both enjoyed and consented to is a very shitty thing to do. Plus, if you want to do that freaky shit again, you might want to show your gratitude. Don’t go trash talking to all of your buddies about that blah blah blah you did last night. Don’t post anything on social media. Just be a thoughtful human being.
Kind of building on the respect aspect, understand that every time you’re allowed to touch someone’s body you have a responsibility to care for them. Understand that you could set the tone for how they view sexuality, other women, other men, and themselves for the rest of their lives. A good experience goes a long way, but a bad experience could traumatize. So if his penis is tiny, don’t shame him. Coach him on eating and fingering. If she doesn’t have enough confidence to have sex with the lights on, start off with candles and build up her body confidence.
Now, I know, it isn’t your job to build someone’s self-esteem or be responsible for their hang-ups. Self-love comes from within the person themselves. However if you’re not willing to take responsibility for your actions and acknowledge the reality of your role, you might want to stick with number one: say no.
Photo Credit: Liz Lawley
Awesome Rope Harness - NSFW
Single Column Tie Tutorial
I'm gonna tell you how I fared (hint: poorly). But in the mean time, try this one on for size! Again no rights to this video.
Double Column Tie Tutorial
Ok so if you guys want to follow along with me, this is the video I'll be teaching myself from. Again no rights to this video, but this couple seems adorable and their teaching style is accessible.
Rope Care Video
So here's a bit more about rope selection and rope care. I'm still searching for a good rope finishing video, but in the mean time, take a look at some of the rope information and prescribe usage here. I have no rights to this video.
Safety First: Getting Started
Hey people! Sorry for the delay. Because there should have been two posts by this weekend, I’m gonna let rope month spill into February.
Alright, let’s jump in. So in my interview with Stricturism, a mentor of sorts, I learned a lot about the basics. All of the information you find in the quotes is from him.
So we’re ready to rumble. We’ve decided we wanna tie someone up, but we don’t know what kinda rope we should use.
“You want to use jute, you want to use hemp rope, or you want to use, um, a polypropylene synthetic rope you can get at Lowe's. You want it to be anywhere from 6mm to 8mm in diameter. The wrong kinds pf rope are things like sisal or things that have rough edges.”
Stricturism goes on to say, “Rope that is natural fiber, which is in my opinion the best, hemp or jute rope, I make my own, you have to finish it. You sand off the edges, you burn off the little bits, and you oil with a very neutral mineral oil to make it pliable. Remember, you don’t want to use anything with little pokey bits. That’s not good.”
I, myself, have the run of the mill synthetic rope since it was a super cheap impulse buy. I’d argue any of the three will run you 10 to 20 bucks for 25 feet. I did a Google gander and saw that there are different varieties and quantities that can be purchased online for more (or less) money. Do your research and find something you like.
My question: Walk me through the safety. Gimme some steps! Let’s pretend I have no experience. I wanna go tie up fill-in-the-blank girlfriend/boyfriend. Where do I start?
“Find someone who you recognize as someone who you want to emulate. And just like anything else, be it baking a cake or learning how to fight, you emulate what they do.”
“Then you learn which part is done for fringe benefits and which is done this way simply because it’s safer, and branch out on your own.”
I'll admit, I totally skipped Step 1. I thought that after learning the safety part I could just jump right in and figure it out as I went. The reality is, having a mentor and copying them means you can learn the basics and increase your creativity. A stronger foundation means less danger when ya get a little...inspired.
Now that we’ve bought rope and found a role model, we can strip down to our birthday suits and gitter dunn, right? WRONG! Practice before you play and keep your clothes on.
“Spend a couple hours, you know, find someone fun to tie up. And with all their clothes on. That’s one thing I always stress to people. Everyone wants to get nekked while we learn howda do rope. No. Don’t. Because once people start taking clothes off, their attention wavers. Nobody’s paying attention. Keep your clothes on. Just a T-shirt and a pair of shorts or underwear. Whatever. Aaand, put on a good three-hour long movie, put on The Godfather. One or two, cuz three sucked ass. And just have that playing while you go over the same ties over and over, until you can just wake up out of a dead sleep and perform it.”
Because we want to really learn rope skills, we have to respect the craft. It’s easy to imagine getting worked up by the kinky group project and jumping back into old reliable sex without even fully exploring the rope possibilities.
We should practice the techniques over and over again, because “it’s just like learning another language, you have to dedicate the time to doing it. Say I’m gonna take a half an hour every day and work on a single a single column tie, double column tie.”
Which makes sense. Because let’s be real, you’re gonna want to grab the rope in the middle of the night, at a time when you want to impress. You don’t wanna be fumbling around and lose the power dynamic you’re hoping to create in the first place.
Now, you’re ready to go. But let’s talk emergencies. Let’s talk about things when they aren’t going so hot.
Stricturism’s five-minute rule
“I always tell people gimme five minutes. When you’re in a situation, what a lot of people do is they’ll be tied in a situation enjoying themselves or maybe they’re tired or maybe they’re too warm or they’re too cold or something has changed inside them. Don’t wait until that moment to say ‘can you untie me?’ Gimme the five-minute rule. Just say ‘Hey, five minutes.’ That way, I know five minutes from right now you need to be totally untied. Because I’m gonna untie everything backwards.”
Safe word and medical-grade shears
However, when shit hits the fan, Stricturism recommends having a pair of medical-grade shears on hand.
At times when you don’t have five minutes, use your safe word and then you can use the the rope chopping scissors to free your partner and find out what’s wrong.
Remember, this is meant to be fun. Talk to your partner(s) and really explore their specific needs for their specific bodies.
Alrighty! That’s how we get started. Next time, we’ll talk about choosing safe words and I’ll show you my latest rope project.
A Look at Monogamish
A few years back, I encountered Dan Savage’s “Savage Love.” I never became an avid listener or reader, but one thing that truly resonated with me was the monogamish idea.
So we’ve got monogamy, more of a one-on-one equation, and monogamish, one-on-one with a twist.
My understanding of monogamish is simple: mutual embracing of all of your partner’s needs. So yes, if you all of a sudden want to go out and have a gangbang where firefighters jizz on your face, that’s awesome! BUT you do have to acknowledge that that may not suit your partner’s needs. In that vein, monogamish is a dialogue between two people dedicated to each other, about what they need from each other.
Dan (Mr. Savage if you’re nasty) advises people to be “GGG—good (in bed), giving (of equal pleasure), and game (for anything--within reason).” What I take this to mean is open-mindedness on both sides of the equation. The ish in monogamish seems to inherently denote multiple parties. However, I feel like for Savage it can also mean a movement away from the stiff traditional monogamous mindset i.e. you’re with me, don’t look, touch, or fantasize about anyone other than me.
Let’s look at this from a novice BDSM perspective:
Game for anything
Game for anything means that your partner will at least listen to any idea you have about sex. This doesn’t necessarily mean going along with it, but at least listening and brainstorming a way to satisfy that need or idea. Sometimes just being allowed to bounce something off your partner and break it down is refreshing. When there isn’t a way to do this, you get into the realm of shame, and that shit’s for the birds. Unintentional shame has no place in BDSM. This open dialogue exists to eliminate shame and create safe spaces where we can be as freaky as we want to be, so you and your partner can explore all ranges of kinky stuff.
Giving of equal pleasure
When you’re game for anything you can then start pleasing and satisfying your partner’s deepest darkest fantasies. This pleasure is not just physical. Pleasure is also visual and mental. Often, you don’t have to receive physical touch to feel pleasure. I find that, when I top, 85% of my pleasure is visual and mental. Power dynamics fascinate me, with all the different ways we submit or dominate in the spheres of our daily lives. While power is not always equal in relationships or sex, pleasure should be. Subs should feel like they’re getting what they need. Doms should feel like they’re getting what they need. Switches should feel like they’re getting what they need. This includes the after care ointments, chocolate, and conversation. Everyone should come away feeling pleased and comfortable thanks to the monogamish foundation of openness.
Good in Bed:
Game for anything + Mutual pleasure = good in bed.
My main sexual desire is to constantly push my boundaries. The idea of constant casual vanilla sex bores the living daylights outta me, while the idea of casual BDSM sex evokes a certain Jian Ghomeshi non-consensual psycho bullshit type of terror.
The complaint I have the most about sex is that my partner for that moment, whether long term or short term, wasn’t listening or paying attention to the situation or my verbal/non-verbal instructions. For relationships, this inattentiveness was mostly due to not being game for anything and becoming uncomfortable during the dialogue about sexual needs. Monogamy should offer a safe space for you to push the envelope as much as you want with someone you trust, ideally. Nothing should be taboo. The ish factor should offer that leeway for multiple partner play and general experimentation. That gangbang fantasy? Yea let’s try it? Golden showers? I don’t see why not! While you’re safe and trusting you can do whatever you like and be a sex rock star to your partner.
I’ve been wondering how to apply monogamish to my relationships. It just feels like it’s easier in theory than practice. Feelings are real, as is jealousy. Navigating real emotion while keeping a constant open mind while exploring multiple partners and pushing sexual boundaries, you will certainly encounter difficulties and challenges. I think that the dialogue and trust help me get through the hard stuff, but I’ve found that letting shit go is the most important thing. Letting go of the fear, letting go of the insecurity, and letting go of the hurt when you misperceive your partner’s motivation. In a way I feel like monogamish is only for the dedicated couple. It is far too much work for a couple who isn’t serious about each other. Or, maybe by starting off monogamish, relationships have a better success rate. But this is a conversation for another day.
He tasted of cigarettes and whiskey; He tasted good.
At the end of the night, I was overwhelmed by how good a time we had. I kissed him. He tasted of cigarettes and whiskey; He tasted good. Around 1:30AM, I jumped in a cab home from the bar in a very pensive mood.
Quest is a switch in training