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Subject: The soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm FAQ list (Part 2 of 4)

This article was archived around: 14 Sep 1997 22:28:27 -0700

All FAQs in Directory: soc-subculture/bondage-faq
All FAQs posted in: soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm, alt.sex.bondage
Source: Usenet Version


Archive-name: soc-subculture/bondage-faq/part2 Last-modified: 20 August 1997 Posting-frequency: monthly URL: http://www.unrealities.com/adult/ssbb/faq.htm Copyright: (c) 1992-1997 Rob Jellinghaus Maintainer: Rob Jellinghaus (robj@unrealities.com)
The soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm FAQ List Where the kinky knowledge resides! Part 2 of 4 This list is posted monthly, on or around the 11th. Last-modified: 20 August 1997 Please send additions, suggestions, etc. to robj@unrealities.com If this posting appears truncated or damaged, contact me, also. The World Wide Web version of this FAQ is at http://www.unrealities.com/adult/ssbb/faq.htm Please make links to this page, rather than posting separate Web copies of the text of this FAQ. This FAQ list is copyrighted. The full copyright notice appears at the end of each part of the list; please respect it. *Introduction* Soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm is a Usenet discussion group, or newsgroup, about various topics including sex and bondage. This FAQ list is my set of answers to some of the most common questions in that group. You may find it interesting whether or not you've encountered s.s.b-b itself. This document contains explicit sexual information. If you do not wish to view such information, I advise you to skip this document. If you believe this document itself is obscene, I ask you to read my response to question 20. Check out what's new with the FAQ! There is an online {http://www.st.rim.or.jp/~tku/ASBFAQ/faq.html} Japanese translation of the FAQ! Thanks very much to the translators! There is also an online {http://www.webcom.com/wunibald/asb_faq/index.html} German translation! Not only that, there's an {http://www.nsm.it/smack!/italian/asbfaq.htm} Italian translation too! Not being fluent in any of those languages, I can't vouch for the accuracy, but that's OK with me. Any other translators out there? Books could be and are being written about these questions; remember, this is a thumbnail FAQ list. If you learn anything from this list, hopefully it will be how many questions there are to ask, and how much there is to learn! If you're concerned or curious about issues that you feel are breezed over here, see the very end of this FAQ for a list of wonderful books and sources of more information. And if you want more ideas or discussion about anything, well, what else is soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm for? *The FAQs Themselves* PART 1: 1. What do B&D, S&M, D&S, "top", "bottom" mean? 2. What is a "scene", and what is "negotiation"? 3. What is a "safeword"? 4. When is pain not pain? 5. What are some basics of safe SM, emotionally and physically? 6. Is everyone either a top or a bottom? 7. How can I learn to be a good top? 8. How can I learn to be a good bottom? 9. Why is bondage fun? 10. Why is whipping fun? 11. What is body piercing? What is "C&B" play, or "genitorture"? 12. What is cutting/play piercing/burning/branding/electrical play? What are "bloodsports"? 13. What is it about breath control? Is it safe to make someone pass out? 14. What are "golden showers"? How about "scat"? 15. Is anal sex safe? Why do people do it? 16. What is "fisting"? 17. Does the way I play qualify as "real" SM? What is "real" SM, anyway? 18. What is it about leather/latex/high heels/corsets/other fetishes? 19. What about shaving body hair and/or crossdressing? PART 3: 20. Why am I defending SM? 21. Is SM degrading or abusive? Were most SM people abused? 22. Why is SM taboo, and is SM criminal, unnatural, immoral, unethical, or unhealthy? 23. Isn't the bottom always in control? 24. Can someone _really_ be someone else's slave? 25. What are the "codes"? 26. My fantasies scare me. What if I get too into SM? 27. I want to throw a play party; how do I go about it? 28. I want to attend a play party; what is the etiquette? 29. What's the deal with this anonymity stuff? 30. Are SM people being politically and socially harassed? 31. Aren't there too many different topics on s.s.b-b? PART 4: 32. I'm sick of certain topics on s.s.b-b. How can I avoid them? Also, what's with all these ads? 33. I don't have access to soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm; what can I do to get information about the scene? 34. What are some books/magazines/organizations/stores/news archives where I can get SM information or toys, or meet people in the scene? *FAQs about the FAQs* Some simple questions, answered simply. o What about the alt.sex.bondage FAQ? Alt.sex.bondage was the first Usenet BDSM newsgroup. It is currently overrun by advertising (as is all the alt.sex hierarchy). When soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm came about, I asked if I could convert the a.s.b FAQ (which I wrote) to the s.s.b-b FAQ, and people said "sure!", and I never did it. Until now. The a.s.b FAQ is now merely a reference to this one. I'm delighted to see how much of the "a.s.b-of-old" feeling s.s.b-b has recaptured. (Now I have much more of a life than I did then, which is basically why this FAQ has slipped... hope I haven't let the community down too badly by doing so much realtime pervery rather than virtual....) o How long have you been running the FAQ? Since 1991. I've gotten a lot of thanks and suggestions in that time, and I hope to make more time to work on the guts of this FAQ, which is still (to my knowledge) the best free reference about SM on the entire Internet. (If I'm wrong about this, please let me know which sites are better, so I can add links to them!) *The Appendices* The appendices are available on the World Wide Web version of this FAQ, {http://www.unrealities.com/adult/ssbb/faq.htm} *Thanks for reading!* Hope you learned something! Remember, your sexuality is wonderful; treasure it and nourish it! Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 31 July 1997 ======================================================================= *10. Why is whipping fun?* One way of thinking about whipping is as another way of touching someone. People who are just getting into SM frequently play with spanking; it's fun to be spanked! It's a punishment, it's a strong stimulus, it hurts very pleasurably. But if you've ever spanked anyone for a long time you know that your spanking hand wears out quickly! Well, that's what whips are for--to allow you to hit someone for a longer time, without tiring out. There are many varieties of whips (cat-o-nine tails, heavy floggers, canes, light braided switches, suede pussy whips, and on and on), all of which feel very different and which have their own individual effect. A whip-loving top will often carry a veritable arsenal of different floggers, but they are all extensions of the top's touch. Indeed, when I whip or cane someone, I feel as though I _am_ touching them--as though the instrument is an extension of my arm and my desire. There are deeper reasons why the variety is so diverse. A whipping scene will often start off very lightly, with the top using a small whip to sensitize the bottom and get them into the rhythm of the scene, switching to heavier and heavier whips as the bottom gets deeper and deeper, more and more receptive to additional sensation. Of course, the top may choose to lead the bottom on any kind of tactile journey the top desires--switching from stinging light switches to biting canes to soft fleeces. (Yes, it can feel GREAT when your top stops hitting you and suddenly brushes a velvet cloth against your back! Or maybe an ice cube....) It's all about physical sensation. Quite often people in the scene describe whips as being "thuddy" or "stingy". Thuddy whips land with a solid impact; they shove you, they feel like a cross between a hug and a punch. Stingy whips land with a bite; they feel like a cross between a scratch and a slap. Both kinds of sensation are enjoyable in different ways, and a skilled top can alternate thud and sting (and then some!) to create waves of sensation that wash their bottom into ecstasy. Most people enjoy a slow buildup when being whipped. This can culminate in an explosive climax of impacts, leaving both top and bottom drained and delighted. Or it can wind down gently, ending casually. Or it can stop feeling good suddenly, resulting in a safweord. Or it can turn into a galloping intense sex scene! But the general "start slow, build up, end intensely" tempo is common to many SM scenes: from gentle to stronger to WOW and then back to gentle, then a little stronger, then WOW!!... and gentle again. It's the motion of the ocean, as they say. It takes practice to know how to use this to blow your bottom's mind, but the more you learn, the more skilled you will be, and believe me, these skills-- teasing your partner and making them feel better and better and BETTER --are very useful in non-SM contexts as well! Whips aren't the end of the story. Some people use paddles--of leather or wood, sometimes with holes cut in them to decrease air resistance and make for a harder impact. Paddles produce a solid "smack!" which can feel like a super-powerful spanking. Some players like canes, which can be thick or thin, stiff or relatively flexible. Canes can produce some of the strongest impacts of all--the "whick!" of a quick-moving cane is distinctive. Not everyone can handle the intensely focused pain canes can produce, but those who can tend to greatly enjoy it. Wooden spoons and kitchen spatulas have been pressed into service as instruments of flagellation. For a while, erf bats were very popular in some San Francisco parties I went to. (Bonk!) If none of this makes any sense to you, well, if you have to ask, you might not understand. Whipping or spanking is sometimes used as part of a "punishment" scene, in which the pretext for the scene is that the bottom has been disobedient or naughty in some way which requires chastisement. This can be fun to do as role-playing, but it may not work in a more long-term D&S dynamic. Bottoms often find it erotic to receive non-damaging sensation from their top--and of course any scene causing permanent damage is not safe nor sane. If your bottom learns that the best way to get enjoyably beaten is to misbehave, you will have a very bad bottom on your hands. It is often then best to separate "play" punishments--which are intended to be fun-- from "real" punishments involving seriously broken agreements. Here is where reality and fantasy need to be delicately separated, and here is where the real world differs from S&M fiction. When whipping someone, be careful. Heavy whipping is usually done on the back or ass, simply because those are the parts of the body which can take it most readily. Be careful of hitting the spine, which can break the skin where the vertebrae come close to the surface. Stay away from the kidneys, as kidney damage can occur if you hit them too hard. Stay away from the neck, for the same reasons you avoided the spine. Be aware that if you hit someone hard enough (which may be lighter than you'd think) you will bruise them, and if you keep going you can break the skin, which is decidedly unsafe sex; and leather or string whips are tough to clean. For this reason, some dedicated masochists have their own toys which have come in contact with their blood, and henceforth can be used only on them. Whippings like this are very strenuous, but as with all SM, you can start out light and get only as heavy as you want! Bruises will heal (even large ones), as will light cuts or abrasions, but you should know how to avoid unintended damage that won't be so accomodating. One thing to watch for (a distant risk, but worth knowing): melanoma, a form of skin cancer, can be worsened by skin trauma. If you see a mole on your bottom's back that looks uneven, discolored, or different than it used to, avoid that area, and have them see a dermatologist. There have been posts on s.s.b-b that go into MUCH more detail about the hows and whys of flogging. If you want to know more, post to s.s.b-b and ask, or check out the resources. (This FAQ is not intended to be comprehensive in every area... though it would be nice....) Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= *11. What is body piercing? What is "C&B" play, or "genitorture"?* Piercings aren't just done to ears. People on this list have their nipples, navels, eyebrows, clitoris hoods, penises, labia, and other body parts pierced, and bits of metal permanently in the piercings. These are the bare facts, but this practice, it turns out, has a lot to do with SM. Getting a piercing, first of all, is an incredibly intense rush, on a purely physical level. It's a very powerful thing to willingly have someone push a sharp piece of metal through your body. It can be a level of sensation beyond any you've experienced in your life. Once you have the piercing, it can completely change the way that part of the body feels to you. One friend of mine said that his nipple piercings turned his nipples from little places that felt OK to full-fledged erotic zones connected right to his cock. He calls his nipple piercings the best thing he's ever done for his body and his sex life, and he seems damn sincere! The same goes for all the piercings in the genital area; they can really make sex more fun. There is some medical evidence that nerves around the pierced location become much more sensitive, so this isn't mere folklore. In case it wasn't clear, once a piercing heals, it doesn't hurt at all; quite the opposite! Some people get into play piercings, which are done temporarily with very thin needles, which are removed at the end of the scene. This is basically another kind of sensory trip, which some find very enjoyable. The needles don't _hurt_, exactly, but you certainly do know they're in there, and they sure do get those endorphins pumping! You don't want to try permanent piercings unless you've been personally trained by a professional; there is a lot of knowledge involved, and you definitely don't want to get stuck with a bad piercing. Play piercings are less hardcore, but you still want to make sure you know sterile technique (remember safe sex!). Does nipple piercing cause problems with nursing? Sometimes yes, sometimes no; there are stories both ways. There are many milk ducts in an average nipple, so the chances are good that nursing can still happen, but nothing is certain. For more information about piercings, see rec.arts.bodyart (or possibly later editions of this FAQ). "C&B play" stands for cock & ball play. "Genitorture" stands for "genital torture". This is a subject that makes some men clutch their nuts and run in fear, and makes other men instantly erect and greedy for more. The male genitals are at once the most vulnerable and most sensitive part of the male body, so of course many tops enjoy playing with them. Cockrings are rings that go around your cock, typically around the base of it, behind the balls. The penis becomes erect when the blood vessels at its base constrict (because of arousal), trapping blood in the cock and causing it to swell. Cock rings have a similar effect, prolonging erection in most men that use them. (They also constrict the urethra, which will make any orgasm more painful, or even cause ejaculate to back up into the bladder. This is not dangerous unless done repeatedly. Experiment to find out how much tightness is toomuch.) Most are made of leather, with adjustable snaps, so you can tighten or loosen them to fit (as well as remove them easily). Some are made of rubber. Some are even made of metal, but metal ones can be hazardous; if you put a too-small one on your non-erect cock, your cock may become so erect that you can no longer remove it--and if it is too tight, it will prevent your cock from softening. This may involve a trip to the emergency room and the use of bolt cutters. No joke. Some cock rings have multiple rings, for behind the balls, around the balls themselves, and around the base of the shaft. Some people like using _lots_ of cock rings, to stretch the balls out away from thebody. Safety tips: The broadest guideline is to go slowly until you know how much you can take. If the pain from a particular activity starts to spread into other areas of the body, or if the pain lasts for a long time after the stimulation ends, you have probably gone beyond your limits. You won't reach this point generally if you take your time. As with any SM practice, if you find yourself in pain later, or if you notice any abnormalities in your cock or balls when flaccid or erect, see a doctor. Of course, avoid any practice that seriously wrenches or twists the genitals; there are many ligaments and blood vessels in there, damage to which may make it hard for you to get hard. But the cock and balls can handle light whipping or slapping, provided it is done with care. Of course, cock and ball bondage can be done with leather strips, ribbons, velvet cords, etc. Be as ornamental as you please; tying up an erect cock can create a luscious work of art, and teasing it can be even more artistic. Don't expect C&B bondage to keep a cock hard indefinitely; cocks will usually get soft if not stimulated, and bondage which _will_ keep it hard may be dangerously tight. In any event, be sure you can remove your bondage quickly, as always. A great deal can also be done with female genitalia. Some women love having clothespins on their pussy lips; some love light whipping on their outer labia, or even their clitoris. Sometimes body piercings can be used for bondage; labia piercings can hold a pussy open very delightfully, or clit hood piercings can be tied up out of the way with thread, leaving the clit naked and exposed. Some women like soft fur on their pussy; others like to be alternately soothed and tormented until they can stand no more. Again, go slowly. Do NOT blow into the vagina, whatever else you do. Don't leave clamps on very long until you know how much your partner enjoys (and how it will feel to her the next day when the scene is over). Too much of one kind of sensation can become irritating quickly; change the stimulation, keep your bottom aroused and surprised. There are all _sorts_ of things that can be used on female genitals; one article I have lists "bamboo skewers, candles, cheese graters, clips, flyswatter, ice cubes, knives, latex squares, leather thongs, massage bongers, rabbit fur, ropes, scalp scrubber, silk, spoons, towels, weights, and whips" as items that can be useful in giving your bottom's genitals a ride they won't forget. (And no, you don't do this until you cause real damage, any more than you do with male genitals. Don't be scraping, scabbing, or scarring--these are the most sensitive parts of the body you're playing with!) Communication is paramount in female genital play; women's pussies vary as much as any other part of womens' bodies (or more), and responses will vary equally dramatically. In general, the same sort of rhythm discussed in the whipping section is useful in cunt play, though if anything the top needs to go even more slowly, as the sensations will be more intense and focused than in almost any other kind of sensation scene. One final tidbit: apparently, for many women, a common pre-orgasmic response is for the clit to retreat into its hood. If you are giving your partner some very delicious sensation (possibly combined with some just-right pain) and her clit disappears, DON'T STOP! (Unless you _want_ to avoid her orgasm... don't push this too far, unless your bottom's feet are tied down--she may kick.) And know your limits; if your bottom really wants an orgasm to end the scene, giving her one may make her EXTREMELY grateful to you, and waiting _too_ long may burn you both out. This is good stuff to negotiate about beforehand in any scene--how would you like the scene to end? Breaking such an agreement will engender mistrust, but honesty, as always, will help everyone get what they want. Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= *12. What is cutting/play piercing/burning/branding/electrical play? What are "bloodsports"?* First questions first. Cutting is the SM practice of using a scalpel or other fine blade to make shallow cuts in the top layer of your partner's skin. Play piercing is using very fine needles to pierce your partner temporarily, removing the needles at scene's end. Burning is using high temperatures somehow in an SM scene; note that the goal here is to play with heat, not to actually burn your partner, since burns are not friendly injuries to heal. Branding is, well, branding--using small, shaped, highly heated pieces of metal to burn small scars into a partner's skin. Electrical play is playing with electricity. And finally, "bloodsports" is a generic name for any SM practice that involves blood. Obviously, all these SM practices are potentially very very dangerous, as any of these things, done wrong, could result in permanent injury. Properly done, none of these practices result in any damage that requires more than minor first aid to clean up and cope with. Also, ^I cannot give enough information in this FAQ to explain how to do these practices safely.^ You need to learn from an experienced top, and you need to see it done in person, before you will really know how to play this way with your partners. That said, onward we go with a feeble attempt to cover some of the groundwork. First, cutting and bloodsports. The ground rules: cleanliness and safety. Most cutters I've seen use rubbing alcohol or Betadine to clean the skin area on which they're going to cut. The top wears latex gloves to minimize contact with their partner's blood--remember, blood carries HIV, and cutting (bloodsports in general, actually) involves blood. The usual instrument for cutting is a surgical scalpel, which is sharp enough to make a smooth, clean cut; using duller blades can leave a ragged cut which doesn't heal as well. Cuts are made on areas of the body where the skin is not stretched tight; for example, the shoulder blade, or the buttock, or the front of the thigh (though this can be problematic). Cuts are NOT made anywhere that the skin becomes taut, since such places won't heal well (the cut'll keep getting pulled open). Only one layer of skin is cut--the very topmost layer. Deeper cuts don't heal well. And cuttings generally don't form loops, as the skin in the center of the loop can be cut off from its blood supply. When the cutting is complete, the whole area is generally bandaged. Are you getting the extent of the possible screwups in a cutting scene? It's definitely as edge-y as edge play gets! If you want to know more, see _The Lesbian S/M Safety Manual_ (in the resource list at the end of part 3). The best safety advice: be taught by someone who knows how to do cuttings safely. Play piercings are a milder (somewhat) form of bloodsports. Again, the bottom's skin must be cleaned, and the top must wear latex gloves. The needles used are sterile surgical needles available from medical supply stores or serious SM shops. The top pinches up a bit of skin (right around the nipples is one favored area), and slides the needle through. Each needle doesn't necessarily hurt that much, but your nerves definitely know it's there, and the endorphins start to flow ^very^ quickly. After a while, the needles are removed and put into a disposable sharps container, and the bottom gets bandaids if any are needed--generally the holes are small enough that they clot immediately. Again, the best way to learn this is from someone else who knows how, personally. There are other forms of bloodsports. I've seen one scene in which a top (after cleaning their bottom's skin and donning the requisite latex gloves) used a syringe to draw some of their bottom's blood, then fed their bottom their own blood. This scene was as hardcore as bloodsports gets, yet was (as far as I could see) very safe from the standpoint of AIDS transmission. And I can only assume that that top had had some medical training--I will not even BEGIN to talk about safety considerations for drawing blood, since I have no idea what they are. Now, on to burning--actually, temperature play in general. Molten wax can be mild or intense. The higher you hold the candle, the cooler the drops will be--to a certain extent. They'll definitely make your bottom yelp no matter what! Don't use beeswax candles, though--they melt at a much higher temperature. If you like hot wax, you might like ice cubes, too.... Branding is an extreme form of temperature play. There are only a few people nationwide who do a lot of branding; Fakir Musafar, in the San Francisco area, is one. His magazine ^Body Play^ has some great articles about branding techniques. Basically, short curved pieces of metal are heated with a blowtorch, then pressed into the skin so as to make an ornamental burn. I really don't know much more about the safety concerns or possible snafus, so I'll mention no more here. Don't go off half-cocked and try ANY of these practices without doing the legwork yourself to talk to experienced players. Electrical play is using electricity of one form or another to generate sensation. This is another advanced form of play which can be fatal (lethal, deadly, murderous) if done improperly. Any electrical play that involves current flowing through the body should ONLY BE DONE BELOW THE WAIST; any current above the waist or through the heart can induce immediate cardiac arrest. There are two main kinds of electrical toys I've seen. One is a TENS unit (Trans-Electric Nerve Stimulator, or something like that); these units typically are battery-powered, with control of pulse intensity and pulse frequency, and two leads that can be attached to electric cock rings, dildoes, or what have you. These can produce sensations ranging from a mild tingle to a thrilling trembling buzz to a serious jolt. Remember, below the waist only! And I wouldn't even use any such unit unless its sole power source was a 9V (or weaker) battery; no way am I letting anything plugged into a wall socket send power through my body! The other sort of toy is known as a "violet wand"; these rather resemble hand-held power tools with little glass bulbs sticking out of one end. When turned on, the bulb glows violet and crackles; touching it will cause static sparks to jump to your skin, with an associated "zap!" and a sharp shock. These do not send current through the body, and are safe for use anywhere except the eyes or major nerve clusters (i.e. the top of the spine)--though prolonged use will burn the skin. Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 18 November 1996 ======================================================================= *13. What is it about breath control? Is it safe to make someone pass out?* Some people enjoy playing with cutting off their air during heavy scenes. This can be as simple as squeezing someone's neck while you kiss them deeply, or as complex as a full-head latex hood and gas mask over a straitjacket. As your air is cut off, you can feel sensation more intensely; it is also a deeply intimate thing to allow someone else to be in control of the very air you breathe. One simple explanation is that the body's natural reaction as orgasm approaches is shallow, rapid breathing--just like in breath control. Needless to say, there are many things that can go very wrong; if you pass out and someone isn't there to cut you loose and make sure you're breathing, you can die. Not for novices. One simple way to start is to try squeezing your lover's neck gently as you make love to them. If it feels good, they will let you know, most demonstratively. And you can stop instantly just by letting go. In _any_ form of breath control, it is critical that all equipment be fail-safe, and that the bottom's breathing is only impaired by the top's _direct_ action--not by anything (noose, gas mask, etc) that would continue to obstruct air if the top (for example) fainted suddenly. Many people die each year practicing "autoerotic asphyxiation"--wherein someone will masturbate while restricting their own breathing, and one night they wait too long to take the bag off their head or release the pressure on their neck, and they black out and die. Some think, "Well, just play with a partner, then, if you want to black out." However, losing consciousness, even for a moment, _can_ trigger cardiac arrest. This is why making your bottom black out is almost certainly a much riskier idea than you would think. The same goes for anesthesia. Sometimes people think, "Hmm, it'd be hot if I could drug my play partner--like in the movies--and she'd wake up all bound!" Even if your play partner likes this idea, don't do it. There is no safe way to force someone into unconsciousness; anesthesiologists spend their lives learning how to do it, with the best equipment, and still mishaps occur. Don't play with ether, or chloroform, or suffocation to unconsciousness... unless you and your partner really want to take a substantial risk of death. More experienced people than you have died. Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= *14. What are "golden showers"? How about "scat"?* Another kind of play, also known as "water sports". Basically, some people enjoy urinating on their lovers, or having their lovers piss on them. Pissing is really a very intimate thing; your urine is a part of you, it's warm and wet, it feels good to let it out, it comes from your genitals. Some get a thrill of power from having someone bound beneath them who can do nothing but take it as the shower lets loose; others get off on being made to pee, to wet their pants, it's naughty and they need to be punished for it. Safety-wise, urine is essentially sterile; it's not necessarily free of HIV, so it's not safer sex to drink someone else's urine. Also, urine contains mostly salts that your body is trying to eliminate, so drinking it again will strain your kidneys. If you're drinking urine, make sure to drink lots of water as well. Some people are into scat play, which is playing with shit. I don't know any who are, but they're out there. Scat is obviously even less safe than water sports; in particular, hepatitis and intestinal parasites can be spread by oral contact with even a tiny bit of feces. People who enjoy rimming (oral-anal contact) should be aware of this, and clean themselves VERY thoroughly at the least, although even thorough cleaning will not eliminate all risk. For more on this, see the next question. Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= *15. Is anal sex safe? Why do people do it?* Anal sex, practiced properly, is as safe as any other kind of sex. And people do it because it feels good--the anus can be an intensely erogenous zone. In fact, far more straight people than gay people practice anal sex! The anus contains more nerve endings than any other part of the male body, and more than any part of the female body except the clitoris. It's no wonder that anal sex is a part of many peoples' sex lives. "Anal sex" can range from simply stroking your or your partner's anus with a lubricated finger, to actually sliding some fingers inside your partner and stroking them, to full anal intercourse. All these things are physically very pleasurable, and if you simply wash your butt, there's nothing repulsive about them. The anal taboo is very old, but there is no necessary medical reason for it if you know what you're doing. If you're concerned about staying clean, by all means make sure you've gone to the bathroom before playing, and wash your ass--outside and, if you wish, inside, with an enema. If you want to feel clean in order to enjoy anal sex, it's not hard to be as clean as you want. (It is also very important, though, to use safe sex techniques, which I describe a bit further on.) The main guidelines for anal sex are Communication, Relaxation, Lubrication. You see, your anus consists of two rings of muscle, dubbed the external and internal sphincters. Your external sphincter is under your voluntary control--you can relax it at will. But your internal sphincter is _not_ under voluntary control. If you are tense, your internal sphincter will be tight, and trying to force anything into it will hurt, which will make you (and it) even _more_ tense. So the rule in anal sex is to go slowly; you can't force your way into enjoying it. Communication: talk about what you're going to do before you do it! Don't just roll your partner over and surprise them; they won't be relaxed and it won't be fun. Make sure you both are comfortable with the idea of anal play. Relaxation: listen to your body. If your ass wants to be played with, you will know; if it doesn't, don't rush anything. Lubrication: your anus doesn't lubricate, so you need to use a WATER-SOLUBLE lubricant such as KY Jelly or Probe. Use LOTS of it; it's clean! The more lube you use, the more comfortable you will be. And finally, communication again: if you haven't played with your anus before, the sensations will be intense and strange. You may feel like you are having a bowel movement when your partner slides their fingers out of you; it takes some experience to realize that this feeling is deceptive and that what you're feeling won't result in a soiled bedsheet. It's not enough to just clean your anus, though; your partner should also use a latex barrier (a glove for fingering, a dental dam or a piece of (non-microwaveable) Saran Wrap for licking, and a condom for fucking) when having sex with you. This is true in general, but especially true for anal sex; unprotected anal sex is the riskiest kind of sex with regard to transmitting STDs of any sort. Also, using protection often increases the sensation of safety and clean- liness, which helps many people relax and enjoy the experience more. (Some say that anal play isn't as risky as all that. The facts are that in some cities intestinal parasites, spread by unprotected anal sex, have been considered a serious sexually transmitted public health problem, with thousands of people infected. Decide for yourself how much risk you want to accept.) And anything that has come in contact with the anus should be cleaned thoroughly (or thrown away, in the case of latex barriers) before coming into contact with the mouth or vagina. I already mentioned that it's not a good idea to force anything. Let me be more emphatic: if you feel pain in your ass while you're having anal sex, STOP. Too-rough anal sex can stress and possibly tear the anal lining, which can lead to very serious infections. Anal sex does NOT mix with force, and should NEVER be used as a way to inflict pain. And if you find yourself bleeding from the rectum, go see a doctor IMMEDIATELY. (Don't be embarrassed--they've seen it all before... just get yourself taken care of!) That said, I need to clarify what I meant by STOP if you feel pain. That is what you should do: stop moving. The pain may just be your sphincter muscle complaining about stretching a bit, and when you stop pushing it will stop hurting--and possibly relax some more. If it doesn't stop hurting when you stop moving, THEN you want to pull out (slowly) and take appropriate action. If it does stop, wait a little, then begin again... your ass will let you know if it wants to stop altogether. (So pay attention to it! Getting drunk is NOT a good idea, as you don't want to block out any pain you may feel. The FAQ List No-Prize for Worst Sexual Product goes to an "anal lube" that contained oil (and therefore couldn't be used with gloves or condoms), AND which advertised itself as being best for anal sex BECAUSE it contained benzocaine "for greater comfort"! If anyone did hurt themselves through using it, I hope they sued the hell out of the company.) If you want more information about anal anything, see Jack Morin's book, listed at the very end of the FAQ. Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= *16. What is "fisting"?* Everyone (well, almost everyone) knows what finger-fucking is. Whether in ass or pussy, it's terrifically enjoyable to stroke someone inside. (Fingers up a man's ass, if aimed properly, will tickle his prostate gland, which feels AMAZINGLY good... just a little tip!) And people are generally comfortable with the idea of finger-fucking with more than one finger. But not as many people have been exposed to the idea of inserting a _whole hand_ into the ass or pussy... which is, in simplest terms, what fisting is. Yes, it's anatomically possible, and yes, it's EXTREMELY pleasurable. (I haven't experienced it, save vicariously.) That said, it's now very important to explain what fisting is _not_. You do _not_ make a fist and ram it home. Fisting is one of the most intimate and complete ways to touch another human being, and it is something that has to be worked up to slowly and gently. There have been many posts about fisting on s.s.b-b, talking about the proper technique, the safety concerns, the fantastic feeling of openness and connection, the magical plane that two people fisting can attain... it's an incredibly intense way to make love. I can't do justice to the firsthand descriptions others have written, but I can mention some of the safety concerns. First of all, cut and file all your nails until every finger is as smooth as it could _possibly_ be. Your fingers will be in some very delicate places--places that may not have pain receptors. You want to make sure you minimize all chance of causing damage. Use latex gloves. AIDS is a matter of life and death. You will probably want to clean your bottom's GI tract out. What else are enemas for? Be gentle with enemas; warm water is best. Don't use detergent in enemas. Some people enjoy putting alcohol (booze, not rubbing alcohol!) in enemas; if you do, use a VERY VERY VERY DILUTED solution, since it will get absorbed _real_ fast, and the bottom won't be able to expel it if they get too drunk. (I don't know a precise dosage, since this seems a bit too risky for me.) Use LOTS (and I mean __LOTS__) of lube. Push it in with your fingers. Make a huge mess. Get it all over your hand, the back of your hand, between your fingers. Keep applying it as you go. You can't have too much lube. Remember, oil-based lubricants dissolve latex. Some people like KY jelly; others say it dries out too quickly. In the UK, a substance called "Aqueous Cream" is the creme de la creme. Others use "J-Lube," which is a powdered concentrate that when added to water produces incredibly slippery goo; it's sold in veterinary supply houses! (Some people still use Crisco with latex gloves, on the theory that the Crisco is just the best lube, and the gloves don't break down _that_ fast. This is risky, but it's an option.) Go slowly. Start with one finger and work up. DON'T RUSH. Be sensitive to your bottom's feelings. You are trying to persuade part of their body to open for you, to admit part of you deeply inside it. The energy will move back and forth, and you'll ride it, coaxing and pushing, in and out, moving your bottom into a trance. Keep communi- cating with your bottom; gags, or role-playing where the bottom feels inferior or is told to stay quiet, are not conducive to the kind of relaxation and open empathy you'll need. If your bottom suddenly hits their limit, you'll know; their orifice will clench tight shut suddenly. DON'T PULL OUT. Stay right where you are until the contraction ends, THEN start pulling out. You can pull a muscle or two if you try to back out in the middle of a reaction like that. If this happens, it's OK; you'll know to go slower next time (if you both want to try again). But assuming all is well.... When you reach five fingers, you're almost there. Now is when you want to be most sensitive and most aware. Your bottom is going to be flying on pain and pleasure; a sudden flinch and you'll find the asshole (or whatever) doesn't want you anymore. Respect that, and pull out (slowly!). But if your bottom's bottom wants it, then you'll slip your knuckles inside, folding your thumb inside your fingers, and (so I've been told) your hand will NATURALLY form a fist--you DON'T need to clench your hand or anything else! Now the real fun begins... explore, entice, pleasure your bottom, who will be in heaven... and when it comes time to pull out, do so slowly and naturally! If you have more questions (as always), post to s.s.b-b; there have been some GREAT pieces on fisting in the past, and there will be more if you ask for them. Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 12 December 1995 ======================================================================= *17. Does the way I play qualify as "real" SM? What is "real" SM, anyway?* Sometimes on a.s.b, people will post wondering if what they do is "heavy" enough to be worth talking about. How can a mere novice who just got spanked for the first time presume to post about how it felt, when there are people out there who wouldn't even have noticed it? The answer to that is twofold. First, there are an infinite number of ways to play. This is one of the reasons I like SM to mean Sex Magick; Magick doesn't need to involve pain, or intensity, or bondage, or role-playing, or anything at all. Sex Magick is whatever you do that fulfills a fantasy of yours. **There is no right or wrong way to do SM, as long as it is consensual.** If you agree to it, and if it feels good (during and after the scene), it's the right thing for you to be doing. This FAQ list is really just a series of suggestions; take them or leave them, it's totally up to you. (There are players out there who get way heavier than I ever will--into realms that I personally consider unsafe and even a little insane. Heck, for some people, being whipped is an insane idea. But the most important thing is the consensuality and the mutuality of the play--that everyone involved in the play _wants_ to be doing what they're doing, and that everyone can call it quits if need be. What other people think is not relevant; it is _their_ play, and _their_ choice as to what risks they wish to assume.) Second, the "intensity" of a scene has very little to do with the level of "physical sensation" involved. Again, the magic is in the way it makes you _feel_. We were all novices once; we all know the thrill of trying something new, taking your dreams and making them real. _That_ is what makes SM intense and enjoyable--that ineffable rush of new horizons unfolding, the incredible sensation of trusting someone else with your body and your mind, or of receiving the gift of control over someone else. It doesn't matter whether you get there through S or M or B or D or none of the above; once you're there, it's fantastic! AND, it's worth posting about! Sometimes, discussion on a.s.b veers into a heated debate about what is involved in "real" dominance and submission or "real" BDSM play. The fact is, given the diversity of players and playstyles in "the scene"--and in fact the number of _separate_ "scenes" in "the scene"--it is hard to pinpoint any one behavior as the benchmark by which "real" is defined. The principal common thread I can see is that people into SM are seeking to explore their fantasies about power and/or sexuality, to bring some of their dreams into their personal lives. One thing is sure: attempting to set strict boundaries around what is and isn't "real" SM, or what is and isn't "true" submission or pain play or roleplay, is an endeavor fraught with peril. More often than not, people who believe they know the definition of "true" SM are interested in flaming others who disagree, rather than in honestlysharing their perceptions while remaining open to the views of others. As with any labels or preset "norms" of human behavior, one can debate endlessly about whether the "norm" is really "normal", or one can speak from one's personal experience. The latter generally leads to better and more revealing discussions. One topic that does come up in this context, though, is whether only consensual SM is real SM--or rather, whether the term "SM" excludes any behaviors that are not consensual. As I stated in the beginning of this FAQ, I use "SM" here to refer to acts between consenting adults; most a.s.b posters and people in the scene likewise use "SM" as short for "consensual SM." There is no doubt that many people who practice consensual BDSM enjoy fantasies involving acts of nonconsensual bondage, dominance, submission, sadism, and/or masochism. But when it comes to real life, consent is of fundamental importance. A story may include nonconsensual acts and yet be an SM story; an SM relationship can become abusive while remaining an SM relationship; but when people here on a.s.b and in the larger scene talk about SM as it ought to be and should be (and in my experience, as it usually is), they mean consensual, healthy SM. Some people state, "SM originally referred to the practices described in the writing of the Marquis de Sade [to whom consent was irrelevant], so modern SM people are lying when they say consent is important in 'real' SM!" They're simply playing the "change the definition of 'real' to one which I can flame about" game. Besides, if we _were_ all lying in order to deceive people into playing with us (so we could then abuse them), we would be doing ourselves a massive disservice by educating people about consent and about negotiation--knowledge which would serve to protect people from us! You'll need to judge whether we mean what we say about the importance of consent. A frequently heard acronym on a.s.b is "YKINOK"--which stands for "Your Kink Is Not OK." a.s.b is largely composed of postings by people whose sexual practices are considered unhealthy or at least weird by many others. We recognize here that different people really do have different sexualities, and different preferences. Hence, we try to avoid blanket statements such as "Behavior X is WRONG!" or "Behavior X is NOT OK!" or more generally, "_Your_ kink is NOT OK!" We would instead say, "Your kink would not be OK _for me_. Here are some of the risks I see in that kink. How do you deal with them?" From that point, discussion and education can flow, as they cannot from a flat YKINOK. (And conversely, we don't say, "Your kink IS OK!"--since there are almost _no_ behaviors that _everyone_ enjoys. The OK-ness of consensual practices is, and must be, determined on an _individual_ basis.) Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= *18. What is it about leather/latex/high heels/corsets/other fetishes?* All these things--erotic clothing or objects of whatever type--are "fetishes". A fetish is any object which has sexual connotations for you. If it makes you feel sexy to wear it, or to see it on someone else, it's a fetish. There's nothing wrong with having fetishes; in fact, it's a rare person who _doesn't_ have any! Some people are turned on by armpits; some by painted toenails; some by good old lingerie. The techniques of negotiation and communication that I've already talked about can also come in handy in exploring your particular fetishes, whatever they are. Leather is one of the most basic fetishes in the scene. Leather skirts, leather chaps, leather harnesses, leather cuffs, on and on. Likewise for latex. Much of the appeal of these two substances, it seems to me, is in their tightness and their shininess; clothes made out of them enhance your awareness of your sensual self, and restraints made out of them can cling like a second skin. In general, leather and latex are two really big categories of fetish--and a fetish is defined as something that turns some people on; if you have to ask, you probably won't understand! Leather clothes absorb fluids; don't get them wet. Plain water will damage the leather; blood or other bodily fluids will also leave their scent in the leather. You can use saddle soap and water to clean your leather, and neats-foot oil to keep it supple and in good condition. Latex doesn't absorb water-based fluids, but oils will damage it, and prolonged exposure to sunlight will cause it to break down. When putting your latex on, apply lots of talc to yourself and to the insides of your latex; this will make it easy to slide it on. Don't pull the latex with your nails, or it'll rip; likewise make sure you cut your toenails before putting on latex stockings. After removing latex clothes, wash them with water to remove oils, then dry them (and some say powder them) for storage. There are also PVC clothes ("wetlook" clothes), which are usually black, shiny, and stretchy. PVC is basically plastic-coated fabric, and is washable, as well as relatively inexpensive. Of course, good old lingerie can be very arousing indeed. It's often true that a little clothing is even sexier than none at all. Erotic costumes and attire can add a lot of spark to a scene; they can set the stage like nothing else. The mind is the biggest erogenous zone, and role-playing and mock acting can be very very hot. whether combined with any other elements of SM, or not. As for corsets and high heels: they're both restrictive garments that enhance the curves of the body, and that work really well as part of SM play--they can enhance the domineering tread of a mistress or hobble the steps of a slave. They are some of the classic fetish items. High enough heels can make it altogether impossible to walk, which can be very sexy! Corsets, properly applied, can dramatically change the shape of your body, while intensifying sensation through- out. And corsets and high heels, like any fetish, can be combined with many many different kinds of scenes. Other fetishes: dirty jockstraps, boxer shorts on women, formal clothes on men, cowboy gear, uniforms (police/military/what-have-you), nurses' outfits, harem girl attire... the list goes on and on. If it turns you on to wear it or to see your partner wearing it, why not make it part of a scene? (A button I heard about recently: "Are you into casual sex... or should I dress up?") In general with fetishes, anything goes! If you find yourself becoming more involved with a fetish than you want to be, then you can take steps to look at your behavior and determine if you want to change it. But if you like it, and your partner likes it (or likes that you like it), and if it's consensual all around, then go for it! And if you like fetish clothing, check out the alt.sex.fetish.fashion newsgroup--it's young, but it's growing.... Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= *19. What about shaving body hair and/or crossdressing?* Another fetish many people have is smooth skin, with no body hair. Shaven skin is silky soft, completely and utterly naked, and very vulnerable. Shaven legs, armpits, or genitals can feel very different indeed than hairy ones... and since the name of the game is sensation, naturally shaving and SM can go together! Since shaving is conventionally a female activity, it carries an added charge when men are shaved. It can be at once humiliating and enormously arousing. Many men enjoy shaving themselves in order to play with cross-dressing (dressing as a woman); hence I mention these two topics together. Shaving first. How to shave? Use a sharp razor and a bowl of hot water; splash water over your leg (or wherever) and lather with shaving cream. Then shave _with_ the direction of the hair (i.e. shave down the leg towards the ankle, or shave from the navel towards the crotch); going against the direction of the hair can lead to ingrown hairs when it starts to grow back. Shave with short strokes, dipping the razor frequently in the bowl to remove the hair. If you shave only seldom, you may go through a couple of razor blades doing your legs alone. Some people who shave infrequently use an electric razor first to remove most of the hair, then a hand razor for the remainder and on the sensitive areas. (Electric razors tend to pull hair, and they are most annoying on genitals.) Some people swear by waxing (using sticky wax to pull hair out) or by other non-shaving methods of hair removal; to each their own. Shaving can be part of a scene; I've seen many gay-male SM movies with big male tops forcibly shaving their prisoners, and I've also seen dominatrixes washing then shaving their bottom's asses. (It's hard to reach back there yourself, and being bound while a razor GENTLY strokes your most sensitive region is... well... VERY intense!) Then once they're shaven, you can go on to all sorts of other fun. About crossdressing: many men enjoy dressing in female clothes, either because the clothes feel good, look good, or are humiliating to wear. Whatever the reason, there's no doubt that lots of people enjoy this sort of thing. Makeup is often part of this sort of play, as well. Many women also enjoy dressing up as men; switching gender roles can open up a vast range of possibilities. Some people call this "genderfuck"--i.e. fucking with one's perceptions of gender, or fucking someone who's assuming a different gender, or both. There is a spectrum of attitudes among those who play like this. Some just enjoy wearing opposite-sex clothes because they feel nice. Some fantasize about actually being a person of the opposite sex, and use those fantasies in their scenes. Some people want to take it to the point of going out in public dressed as, and acting like, the other gender so accurately that they pass--i.e. are mistaken for the gender that they're assuming. They may find doing this enjoyable because of the fun in faking people out, and/or the thrill of successfully transforming oneself into one's fantasy image. Some people actually feel that their biological sex is fundamentally at odds with the gender they feel themselves to be. They may feel like a man who happened to be born with a woman's body, or vice versa. These people are known as transsexuals, and may have operations to change their bodies and genitals to more closely correspond to the gender they most identify with. Transsexuals are still very widely stigmatized; it is not easy to live in this very gender-based and sex-role-oriented society if you don't conform to the standard pattern, and transsexuals definitely do not. And while many of the kinds of genderfuck I mentioned are "play", transsexuals are not playing; their gender identity is a vitally serious issue to them. (Though when they _want_ to play, there are few people who know more about it :-) It's important to realize that these groups of people are distinct; just because a man enjoys wearing panties underneath his business suit does not mean he has any desire to get a sex change operation. As with all aspects of human sexuality, gender and gender play encompasses a wide array of levels, and honest communication is the only way to know what a particular person is into. Gender play can be combined with all the other things in this list to create some extraordinarily powerful sex magick. As always, listen to your desires, decide how much you actually want to make real (and how quickly), communicate, and play! Previous section Created 10 August 1995, last updated 10 August 1995 ======================================================================= Hope you learned something! Remember, your sexuality is wonderful; treasure it and nourish it! Contents copyright (c) 1992-1997 by Rob Jellinghaus. Redistribution of this FAQ or portions thereof from soc.subculture.bondage-bdsm to any online or offline publication requires permission of the author (robj@unrealities.com). Copies for individual use are OK. -- Rob Jellinghaus robj@unrealities.com http://www.unrealities.com/robj