Wednesday, February 20, 2013

BDSM: What Happens at Private Play Parties



Some readers of this blog know that last summer I took an intensive three-day BDSM for Writers Workshop and I’ve attended Paddles, a public BDSM club in New York City (see here and here for details). As a result of folks I met in the lifestyle, I recently attended two play parties, one in a high-rise-building apartment and one in the dungeon basement of a single-story home, both within a half hour’s drive from Penn Station in Manhattan.

Both began as any vanilla party: people greeted each other, updated their friends on travel, health, kids, etc., sat around with munchies and drinks. At both parties alcohol was available but seldom imbibed. These were Play parties, not drink-fests. I didn’t get to talk with everyone, but among the guests in the two groups I met a surgeon, a college instructor, IT specialist, day trader, little-theater manager, opera singer, retired grandmother, nurse’s aide, and radio technician.

Let me give you thumbnail sketches of some of the participants. And by the way, all pseudonyms were chosen alphabetically from my Character Naming Book to protect the guests’ identities.

First, the male Dominants (an asterisk * indicates more info below):

Angus*, mid-thirties, the most Alpha (and loudest) of the Dominants, is married to his slave, Belva. Aggressive to the nth degree, he seemed to be the head of a loose group; he also considered Dottie his sub/plaything, although she and Carlos were together. The dynamic among the four almost seemed to be a family group with Angus its patriarch.

Carlos, slightly older, tall and soft-spoken with graceful hands, proficient in shibari, was fairly new to the scene and being mentored by Angus.

Emmett, short and stout, genial and avuncular, was the oldest Dom there, always with a smile on his face, more of a kinkster than a Dom. He spanked Flora off and on during the evening (and intermittently jailed her in a cage) because she needed to be punished for some infraction in her life.

Galen*, mid-fifties, quite a raconteur during the how-are-you stage, displayed his expertise in fireplay with Heloise as the oh-so-willing subject.

The female Dominants (or Dommes):
The highly Alpha Imelda*, older and coolly sophisticated, walked (I should say strutted) as if she owned the room. She treated Jack as he apparently wished to be treated—as a pain slut. Their session lasted the longest by far.

Katrina took charge of Lawrence, who was by turns handcuffed to the ceiling and splayed against the St. Andrew’s Cross. It was a loving dominance, lots of eye contact and caresses, whispers and light kisses interspersed with the flogger and a fur mitten with coarse sandpaper on the other side. They seemed to be in love as well as in play.

I might be wrong, but this latter couple plus Angus and his wife/slave were the only ones who lived together. The others, while emotionally connected and possibly exclusive to each other, lived separately and hooked up eagerly for these events.

But you want the nitty-gritty, right?

Several scenes stand out in my mind. First, Angus was a sadistic flogger, beating Belva (sometimes with two floggers, Florentine style, swooping and dancing around her handcuffed-to-the-railing, thong-clad body) until she could no longer suppress her forbidden tears. I had to hold my breath on occasion to keep from interrupting, but on chatting with her afterward, she said she welcomed the pain because the endorphins brought her to a state of forgetting. I wasn’t so gauche as to ask what she was forgetting, but it was obvious she loved her husband, who provided a needed service.

When Galen and Heloise set up their portable massage table and unpacked their gear, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch fireplay (some of you know that my sister’s face and neck are scarred from a kitchen fire and she was in intensive care for 21 days and in occupational therapy for half a year). So I chose a vantage point between two rooms, so I could watch the whippings in the Hard Room and just glimpse the fireplay now and then.

At the latter, Heloise eagerly offered her totally naked body to Galen’s alcohol-soaked wand, cooing and smiling and writhing on the massage table as flames licked her skin wherever Galen swabbed her, both front and back in turn, with 70% isopropyl alcohol. He followed the flames with a cupped palm to wipe the flame out of existence, and even fisted the flaming wand to douse it. Amazingly, neither reacted with so much as an “ouch”. To me it seemed almost like a magic show. Safety features —fire extinguisher, damp bath towels, hair bound out of the way—were evident. Oh, I should mention she was flogged earlier to get her blood flowing and body heated. That apparently mitigated the ouch factor.

Imelda, on the other hand, showed muscle and stamina in putting Jack through a pain regimen which included a cock cage, ball gag, vicious paddling, heavy handcuffs and the like. Yet he seemingly thrived on it, accepting every blow with a blissful smile, even when he flinched or cried out. Wearing my research hat, I spoke to him and he avowed he loved the pain, had been receiving it for twenty years, and even allowed (or rather, Imelda allowed) me to try my hand on his already-reddened butt with a double-thick leather slapper. I had a way to go to match Goddess Imelda: He deemed my hardest whack a 6 on the pain scale of 1 to 10, and I didn’t hold back. Research, you know; I’m not really a sadist.

The spectrum between almost-vanilla and hard-core 24/7 Master/slave is almost endless, as I observed at these two parties. It’s a fascinating lifestyle, but not for everyone.

In my current Work In Progress (the sequel to Mercy and Redemption, out now from Ellora’s Cave), my characters will experience many of the scenes I saw as they explore where they are in the BDSM spectrum. Look for Redemption and Glory (tentative title) later this year.

Have you ever been tickled until you had to yell “uncle”? Been blindfolded during sex? A wrist or ankle tied to the bedpost? Maybe bent over the kitchen table and playfully spanked? Liked being roughly handled? Been forbidden to come until your partner allowed it? Congratulations! You’ve entered the world of BDSM. I’d love to have you share your not-quite-vanilla scenes here. 

12 comments:

  1. Wonderful post Cris. You are a very astute student, I wonder where this is going? : )

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  2. Fascinating post! The psychological factor in those who participate in this lifestyle is intriguing. I like the way you ask them questions about their experiences. Good call on not crossing the line with Belva, even though I am sure motivations for this lifestyle are very personal.

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  3. Hey Katalina, I wonder as well. I'm exploring it for more than one reason.

    Thanks, Laurie, for your comments. I agree, the psychology of it is a draw.

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  4. Very nicely recorded. Thoughtful and non-judgmental. Congratulations on pushing your own boundaries to watch the fire play!

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  5. Terrific Post Cris. The fireplay both fascinated and scared me. I winder how I would handle that, Maybe I can find out some time.

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  6. Fantastic post, Cris. You made me feel as if I was part of the meeting of this group of people. Look forward to reading more of your education on the subject.

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  7. I'm loving all your comments, Kasi, Kathye and Marie, but hey, none of you answered the question in my last paragraph. *grin* All in the name of research, you know!

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  8. Fascinating post, Cris. I enjoyed reading about your observations and experience. Great descriptions. Some BDSM play isn't easy to watch. The needle play was difficult for me at the club. :)Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Great recap Cris. I was at a club but the dungeon wasn't used when I was there however the other rooms were getting a solid workout. Some of my *visual* experiences ;) were caught in my recent EC release.
    This is a fabulous post and I love your ending. Perhaps many don't realize they have strayed over to BDSM at times :)

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  10. Thanks, Kathy,I agree about the needle play. But other stuff at the club was eye-opening.

    Hi Cristal, thanks for commenting. Isn't it great when we can incorporate real-life research into our books?

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  11. Great post, Cris. I'm just curious how many people are there as voyeurs? Is everyone open to play. (And to answer your question ... what happens in Vermont ... stays in Vermont ;) )

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  12. Hi Nina, both evenings, anyone and everyone was welcome to participate. A couple of them came because it was a night out with friends, even though they themselves came without a partner. They were all (except for me) in the Lifestyle so if they didn't play at that particular time, others had seen them play elsewhere. I think being a voyeur is simply another unavoidable and accepted facet of the BDSM lifestyle.

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