Oct 26 2016

Episode 028: The Pageist Talks Kink on Film

Episode the Twenty-Eighth; Wherein the Pageist explores the good, the bad and the sexy things that happen when kink is portrayed on film.

.49 Intro & Announcements:

4.29 Part 1: Representation & Getting the Bad Out of the Way:

(Apologies to the filmmakers for calling your work bad)

11.42 Part 2: 50 Shades of Bullshit–What all media gets wrong about kink

  • Secretary (recap/review–spoilers be here!)

17.24 Part 3: The Good & the Sexy

25.00 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be reviewing either My Dad Wrote a Porno or My Life on the Swingset.
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • Subscribe, stream or download from libsyn here. All episodes are available in a pop out player on this page.

Oct 25 2016

Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness

[This is the text of the book review from episode 27 of the podcast. It includes notes in brackets of information I’ve learned since the episode aired and I gained access to internet at home i.e. internet that didn’t block certain sites, keeping me from sharing as much information as possible.]

This episode’s book review is Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness: Life, History and Culture in the Leather/BDSM/Fetish Community as captured by Steve Lenius. It’s a collection of articles from fifteen years at Lavender Magazine, as well as other places.

It was recommended to me by Dan and dawn of Erotic Awakening when I asked for something to read about Leather—the lifestyle rather than the material—and I certainly got what I was looking for.

Though, fittingly, I suppose, the first essay was how to make your own leather vest from raw leather. And I mean really raw. Fresh-off-the-cow raw. I have an entirely new appreciation for what goes into that process, let me tell you.

The book is in two parts: Part 1: The Leather, which is about activities. Then Part II is: The Life, which is more about community. Within those parts are chapters and within which are essays.

Each essay has the original date it was published and notes about anything that had changed by the time the book went to print in 2010.

In the introduction, Lenius says:

…the substance of this book is observation, reportage, journalism, some analysis, some commentary, some essays. The focus of this book, like the focus of the columns and other writings collected in it, is the leather/BDSM/fetish community and the life, history, and culture of that community. It’s about what it’s like to live a life in which leather and the leather community are significant parts. It’s about shared values and ethics.

That pretty much sums it up.

There are footnotes, which are great fun and show personal growth—Lenius wasn’t afraid to admit when he had been mistaken.

At the start of a review entitled ‘Sex Machines Book Features Local Celebrity’ our author begins quoting what he refers to as a very famous bawdy limerick that starts:

There once was a young man named Gene
Who invented a screwing machine…

I was not familiar with this limerick so I had to find it. It turned out there were two versions. I couldn’t decide which I preferred so here they are:

There once was a young man named Gene
Who invented a screwing machine
Concave and convex
It served either sex
And it played with itself in-between.

Second version:

There once was a man from Racine
Who invented a screwing machine
Both concave and convex
It could please either sex
But, oh, what a bastard to clean!

Never let anyone say The Pageist isn’t the classiest show around.

The book he reviews in this piece is called Sex Machines: Photographs and Interviews by Timothy Archibald and you know it went on Mount TBR.

There were two excellent essays back-to-back about what SM is actually about—one called ‘What’s the Deal with SM?’ and another ‘SM: It’s About Respect, Not Abuse’. There’s a lot in the book that pertains to the wider BDSM culture—not just Leather—those are two such essays.

In a piece called ‘Intertwined Histories’ Lenius talks about BDSM terminology used in the past such as ‘working on’ someone rather than ‘playing with’ someone and they called implements or toys tools. This makes sense to me because if you can cause permanent damage to a person it’s not really a toy. It may be fun for you and everyone involved, but it’s an implement. Of pleasure or the fun kind of pain, but a toy? Okay. I prefer tool.

There’s a piece about the last two centuries of SM, which is about the doctoral thesis of Robert Bienvenu, PhD. His thesis is on the development of SM as a cultural style in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, which covers the way SM evolved in Europe and America in both centuries—from silks and satins to leather; from flagellating only the buttocks for a good long time to having at anything that was safe to have a whack at. I’ll have links to his doctoral thesis: The development of sadomasochism as a cultural style in the Twentieth-Century United States in two versions—compact and expanded multimedia on the website when I can get copies.

He may have links on the website that accompanies the book, which is lifeleatherpursuit.com. I don’t know because it’s one of the sites that’s blocked by my coffee shop office. I’m including the link to the website at any rate, as I’m sure it has lots of other information relating to the book. You’ll get to see it before I do! Exciting!

[There are not copies of the PDFs on Lenius’ site, but the essay about the thesis itself is. It’s here.]

In an essay called ‘Fear of Leather’, Lenius talks about various types of fears people have, and, oh, are they manifold, because everyone loves to judge one another, and what their genesis might be. Also, how to confront them. In this essay he says:

What if you’re one of those people who play the ‘My kink is okay, but yours is disgusting’ game? Maybe someone else’s kink, or the way they practice it, really isn’t safe—in which case some mentoring and education is in order. But more probably this game is another form of internalized kinkphobia. If their kink bothers you that much, ask yourself why. What buttons are being pushed? One of many possibilities: Maybe you secretly want to try it but are ashamed of your desire. What can you learn from your discomfort, and what can you then do with that knowledge?

Overall Lenius is articulate and level-headed about just about everything, really.

Some of the terminology surrounding trans issues is a bit outdated, but an inclusive sentiment is there and Lenius encourages people to be accepting of all people who feel drawn to the Leather/BDSM/fetish lifestyle.

Many things in this book remind me how fortunate I am to be in this community. There’s an essay entitled ‘Even Daddies Need Daddies’, which is about how there’s greater acceptance for people of all ages and relationships with age gaps are less problematic. Praise the bingo gods and bring on the middle aged ladies in business attire.

‘The Zen of Hankies’ is a multi-stanza haiku to the hanky code—it’s too long to read here, but it’s glorious. There are stanzas for all sorts of colours and activities. Maybe it’s on the lifeleatherpursuit website. Have a look.

[Alas, it is not.]

(If this is your first episode of the show—I’m not usually this haphazard—typically I know about the sites I’m sending people to.)

There’s a section on Leather titles and contests—their history, evolution and intentions. This includes his notes on judging an International Mr Leather competition and a profile of his perfect Mr Leather.

In that section he talks about the difference between intelligence and wisdom. Saying:

The opposite of wisdom is intelligence used in the service of ego, in which case ideas are used to measure worth and to impress others; the ideas become ends in themselves.

I used to be that person. That person was an asshole. It’s no good having more information than other people if you’re going to make everyone hate you. Commute your intelligence into wisdom—you get to keep all of your knowledge and people don’t want to punch you in the throat! Try it today!

In an essay about the language we use to describe ourselves and what we do he says:

Being sexually attracted to another man comes as naturally to me as breathing—there’s nothing ‘queer’ to me about it. I like the look of black leather or a nice, masculine uniform on a man; to me that’s natural and normal, not a ‘fetish.’ To me it’s not kinky, it’s just the way it is.

Correctamundo, friend. A popular topic amongst kinky people is, ‘If everyone were into kink would you still be?’ They discussed it on Perverted Podcast at some point and I’ve seen it discussed on FetLife. And I think… It just wouldn’t be called kink then. If a person says, ‘I only do edgy, dangerous things because other people don’t,’ I’d recommend they rethink their motivations. Making any life decision that involves your body or the chemical make up of your brain, which is what kink play does, based on someone else’s choices, is questionable.

That’s not to say that if something that already appeals to you also carries the frisson of the verboten that’s not just a naughty cherry on the bad, bad cake. But if you wouldn’t be interested in something at all because everyone was doing it. Well… congratulations. You’re a hipster.

What was I talking about? Oh right, how I totally get the whole, ‘I’m not kinky, this is just how I’m put together’, thing. It would be great if that’s how everyone approached other people and their preferences. From, ‘I’m a-romantic, asexual, agender,’ To, ‘I’m a poly, pansexual genderfluid try-sexual (as in, I’ll try anything once).’ And other people would say, ‘Whatever. Are you having the tandoori chicken or what, I’m starving.’

It would be understood that people are who they are because they just are and you don’t choose what speaks to you romantically, sexually, mentally or intellectually anymore than you choose what food you enjoy or what films you like to watch. You like what you like. Rather than trying to fix, shame or bring a person into a line that changes depending on culture, time or geographic area, we could find the things we had in common and, I don’t know, be happy. You could accept yourself and accept others.

Except for people who like licorice. You all need therapy. I know you can’t help it, but… The rest of us have to see you eat it and see it in the shops and it’s not okay.

Was that the rant for the episode? I try not to have more than one per episode. Anyway. In a piece about symbols of pride there was something about how the colours green and yellow were used in Victorian England for the homosexuals to identify one another. I knew that Oscar Wilde and his cohort wore green Carnations, but I didn’t know about the yellow, as well. Lenius then says the acronym for Green And Yellow is ‘gay’. And that’s one of the explanations for how the big homos became known as gay. I don’t know if that’s true, but boy do I hope so, because it’s ridiculous.

It reminds me of one of the episodes of Ellen’s show—her sitcom—just after she came out. There was a very combative lesbian character being grouchy at Ellen about something. They were talking about language gay people use to talk about themselves—I believe—and Ellen said something like, ‘Well, what about “gay”? What does they mean? Are we supposed to be happy and cheerful all the time… though that really isn’t working for you, is it?’

It’s weird what sticks in your head, isn’t it? That was twenty years ago or something. Oh god, that was twenty years ago. I need a nap.

Also in the symbols writing is the explanation of the leather pride flag, which I didn’t know the meaning of. The black stripes are for leather, the blue is for denim, the white stripe is for integrity and the heart is love. It was designed by Anthony F. DeBlase and first displayed in the spring of 1989 at an International Mr Leather contest. Lenius stresses that the black and blue colours were not chosen to represent the phrase: beating someone until they’re black and blue.

I have to admit—until I’d read the book I had wondered if that was part of the intention though I figured the black had something to do with leather.

There’s a piece that was published in June 2000 called GLBT Pride, Leather Pride: Not Yet Obsolete. It’s about the need for pride and what it is and how so many people only know about Stonewall through history books. This piece was especially poignant after the Pulse shooting.

In the piece there’s this:

Oppression results from being hated, either by others or by oneself. To the extent I feel hated by others for being my kinky GLBT self, I am oppressed by them. To the extent I let them teach me to hate myself, what I am and what I stand for, I oppress myself. Pride can be the first step out of oppression, either for an individual or for a group. But this first step can be derailed by anger and hatred and a wish for vengeance against one’s oppressors. This is one of the justifications people use for fighting wars. It’s also why some gay people call heterosexuals ‘breeders.’ These are both examples of how anger prolongs and intensifies oppression.

Later there’s a particularly useful essay on BDSM versus abuse and how therapists can tell the difference. Another useful article is on what to do if law enforcement turns up at a play party or dungeon.

I would put money… well… I have cash since they won’t give us a bank account here… I’d put several pound coins on everyone listening to this show having at least one toy of the adult nature. There’s an article that was originally published in April of 2007 about sex toys and how some are toxic. The entire article [which is available on his site] is quotable and has a crazy-amount of important information. The title is No More Toxic Toys and I’ll eventually have a link to the website of the Coalition Against Toxic Toys or CATT. From the article:

When shopping for toys, CATT recommends using the ‘smell test’: If an item smells perfumey, or like a new shower curtain, it’s giving off chemicals. Medical-grade silicone, glass, stainless steel and stone have no odor because they are not emitting chemicals. A toy should also be considered suspect if it looks shiny or feels greasy.

They also note that just because a product is marketed as phthalate-free, which is one of the bad things that makes toys cheaper but terrible, doesn’t mean it is. There’s no government oversight to make sure companies are being truthful.

[The CATT website turns out to be BadVibes.org.]

Near the end there’s an excellent write up of an event with Cleo Dubois called ‘Secrets of Being a Good Top’. Yowza.

Topics covered throughout the book included puppy play, SM, bondage, practical leather care, body modification, rubber/latex, whips, knives, erotic shaving, fire play, how to build a leather wardrobe, the Leather Archives and Museum and the Museum of Sex. And all sorts of other things. I’m not covering a fifth of what’s in the book. It’s pretty comprehensive and because it’s a best-of-the-best of fifteen years of writing there aren’t really any weak selections.

Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness provides an outstanding foundation in all things Leather for someone new to the lifestyle or someone like myself who is simply curious about the various terminology. Leather seems to be its own club with its own history, rules and codes… because it is, really. And if you’d like to learn about all of those things, as well as how it overlaps with kink, this is a great place to start. This was a 5/5 for definite.

Oct 19 2016

Episode 027: Life Leather and Happiness

Episode the Twenty-Seventh; Wherein the pageist settles into her new home, adapts to a new way of life and learns all about Leather in all its forms. The book reviewed this episode is Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness: Life, History and Culture in the Leather/BDSM/Fetish Community by Steve Lenius.

.51 Intro and Announcements:

  • An FB like from Jeff! Also a super nice thing from a service oriented submissive who wishes there were more episodes of the show. I’m working on it and have no plans to go anywhere any time soon.
  • A survey response from a very kind listener. The anonymous survey can be taken here.
  • The show now has listeners in Iran and Kuwait.

5.12 My Submissive Life:

  • The March 13, 2016 Ropecast episode where Gray discussed educational opportunities, as well as why having experience doesn’t make one impervious to mistakes is somewhere on iTunes and other places where podcasts are available. Apologies for not being able to link to it.
  • See if there is a GRUE (Graydancer’s Rope Unconference Extravaganza) coming to a city near you here.
  • The My Dad Wrote a Porno podcast has been keeping us entertained while unpacking. Find my review of it here.
    If you’d like to order the book the cast has written, the link is here.

12.11 Review:

  • Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness by Steve Lenius. A collection of essays, reviews and articles by the author from Lavender magazine and other places, concerning Leather, BDSM and fetish culture. It’s an excellent resource for anyone curious about the history of the lifestyle and the way it’s evolving.
  • The accompanying website, Life, Leather, Pursuit is here
  • Two links to Robert Bienvenu’s doctoral thesis will appear on thepageist.com when I can locate them. There’s a physical version at the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago if you’d like to visit it in person, though.

31.13 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be talking about Kink in Film: The good, the bad and the sexy.
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • Subscribe, stream or download from libsyn here. All episodes are available in a pop out player on this page.

Oct 11 2016

Toybag Guides to Taboo and Age Play

[This is the text of the book reviews from episode 26 of the podcast.]

The books this episode are the Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo by Mollena Williams and The Toybag Guide to Age Play by Lee ‘Bridgett’ Harrington. Two episodes ago I said I wasn’t going to review these so soon, as I had just read another book by Lee, but this was the review that was ready, so this is what you get. It’s how life works out some times. Whoopsie doodle.

I’ve previously reviewed a book by both authors called Playing Well with Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Exploring and Navigating the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities in episode 2, which I loved and subsequently purchased in physical form for future reference. Both authors also had short stories in Leather Ever After: An Anthology of Kinky Fairy Tales, which I reviewed in episode 3. You know what? That’s not my fault. They work too much. I hope they’re getting enough rest.

The version of Taboo is digital, which was perfectly adequate. I chose the physical form of The Toybag Guide to Age Play and that was equally reader-friendly, so go with whichever format you prefer. It is easier to read a digital book in public without anyone knowing what you’re up to. So there’s that.

I chose to read The Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo because when I first learned of this type of play I wondered what on Earth people could get out of it but didn’t want to dismiss something simply because I didn’t understand it.

Conversely, I chose to read Age Play because I very much got it and was looking for more ideas.
Both books are pocket sized or the size to throw in a toybag. They’d fit in a hoodie pocket perfectly. Age Play is 102 pages, Taboo is 128 pages. The font is…16? 18 weight. You may not need your glasses is what I’m saying.

Though they’re really not the sort of book you’d chuck in your toybag in order to consult just before play. This is fairly advanced stuff, though also covers information for beginners.

For the books’ size, the authors cover an enormous amount of information. In both cases I felt like I came away with far more than I should have done considering the size of the volumes.

I definitely got what I came for—Taboo helped me understand what practitioners get from their play and Age Play gave me beaucoup ideas, oh boy, oh my. It also helped me be a little more comfortable with that side of myself. Because, let’s face it, some people get their judgment on when it comes to the age players.

Both books covered how to do each type of play as safely as possible, as both age play and taboo play can be dangerous territory for everyone involved. Both go over everything from exploring why you’d like to do a particular activity to what to do if a scene goes sideways.

Now for specific information on each book.

Starting with The Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo.

Williams said something most people coming into kink can probably identify with on some level:

I quickly learned that the BDSM “community” was a microcosm, not a utopia. All of the prejudices, fears, biases and issues we trudge through in the outside world are tracked into dungeon and discourse, making for a Byzantine labyrinth of hot-button emotional issues. Imagine the blow when you finally suss out your lusts and realize that, once again, you are an outsider. The age-player who realizes that the darkly sexual incestuous undertones of his preferred game is “too much” and shouldn’t be practiced.

Up until that last line, many of us probably think, ‘Yay! People like meeee!’ Then you get five feet through the dungeon or chatroom door and someone is shaming your kink like they’re being paid to do so.

Well excuse me, Judgerpants.

Williams goes on to say:

the emotional decriminalization of your impulses, desires and feelings is an important key to letting your mind frolic in those swampy places.

I like the phrase ’emotional decriminalization’. What you feel is what you feel. And how you feel is never wrong—it just is what it is. How you respond to that feeling is what’s important. And as long as you’re acting on those impulses in a healthy way—meaning everyone involved is self-aware and consenting—then the Judgerpantses of the world need to find a fjord and jump off it.

Before I list off this next bit of what taboo play can include I want to stress that we’re talking about fully grown, consenting, negotiating, very much alive adults. Okay? Okay.

Taboo play can include themes and activities related to: genocide, degradation, warfare, hate, scat, piss, blood, religion, sexual taboos like incest and rape, bestiality, necrophilia, and race. No actual animals, children or dead people. Real pee, blood and poo, though. Williams had some interesting things to say about poop in an episode of Tina Horn’s podcast Why Are People into That she was on and in the book.

[Williams was on a two-part episode of that show, which was episode two entitled Mollena Williams: Role Play–I cannot find a link for it, but it’s on iTunes and I highly recommend it.]

Fun factoid—Tina Horn dislikes the word poop. If you’re listening to or reading this, Tina, sorry.

Mostly what Mollena has to say about it is that people put scat play on the same level as illegal activities like necrophilia and pedophilia when it’s not illegal—it’s just smelly and germy if you’re not careful. That’s how deeply ingrained the idea of poop being disgusting is. Little kids paint with the stuff, but parents teach that it’s the mankiest thing ever and next thing you know—no kids, no dogs and no scat.

I hadn’t thought of it that way.

You know what, though? I’m not even into kissing because of the germ factor so the poop isn’t for me. Porn is ruined when someone starts rimming someone else, man. The e. coli is partying it up in your mouth now! But people are into the butt now. So much butt.

However, I support the scatters…or poopers or whatevers in doing your thing. You don’t do it in public, which is more than I can say for people kissing. People do that in films and tv shows. All I think is germy, germy mouth sluuuuugs.

What were we talking about? Right. Incestuous Nazis with a thing for dog-fucking nuns. Now there’s a scene you want to see at your local dungeon.

Williams says:

many people assume that the complexities of taboo play involve re-enacting and therefore strengthening that cycle of abuse. Not necessarily: Imagine the scenario of a cornered hounded bottom turning the tables on an overbearing menacing top. Sound fun? Now add to the mix the idea of the fag-basher becoming the bashee… or the beleaguered victim of racial profiling by a member of Homeland Security gaining the upper hand during that back-room pat-down and cavity check.

In a chapter entitled General Principles, Williams discusses motivations and intentions.

Why bother? Why take the risk of being ostracized, or of going down a destructive pathway? What the hell do you have to gain from such awful explorations? I hope that you do ask these questions of yourself, and can answer them well. If you cannot, this might be a good sign that you don’t have a solid “jumping off point.”

I consider intent to be absolutely pivotal in the planning, negotiation and execution of taboo scenes. In the same way that “intent” is the main feature that separates BDSM from abuse, intent can salvage a relationship even if a scene takes a turn for the worse. Knowing my partner engaged with me with the intention of a good scene leaves room for us to recover if the scene goes off track. If you are at all doubtful of someone’s intentions, you don’t really want to uncover that mess in the aftermath of a problematic scene.

Then she talks about what she gets from engaging in these sorts of scenes. She says:

For me, edgy, taboo scenes push me in ways that move me closer to my core. I’ve a new respect for my own resilience.

The concept of moving towards your core is an interesting way of looking at it. Of being stripped bare by whatever sort of play you think will make it easiest and safest. Most people aren’t brave enough or curious enough to know themselves that well. Perhaps they’re frightened to find out what they’d learn. I don’t mean specifically about playing with taboo—I mean kink in general.

In the chapter on how to do everything from negotiate the very beginning to deal with the unexpected she says:

If, at any point, anyone involved in a taboo scene has misgivings, hesitancy, doubts, or just the jeebies, halt. Stop. Check in. If you have to, cancel the scene. I don’t give a shit if you flew in authentic Booted Goats from the lush rolling foothills of eastern Switzerland for that very special “German prisoner escaping the Third Reich” scene. Just drop it. Nothing is more important than a clear and open mindset when you are doing these scenes. The goats will wait.

Soooo… in the chapter about animal play and bestiality I learned that twenty states in the US haven’t outlawed sex with animals. TWENTY. It wasn’t surprising that it wasn’t illegal in every country. There are a lot of countries and, you know, some are sort of remote. Or maybe they don’t think they need to outlaw it… That could be it.

Still, the chapter in this book is how to negotiate to do animal play with consenting humans.

There are specific chapters on play involving religion, sexual taboos like incest of many varieties, rape, animal play, necrophilia, race and identity, bodily fluids hilariously called Your Body is a Wonderland. Then other chapters on communication, things to consider and other useful information. Like many indie press books, there are a few typos. But I’m a grumpy person about that sort of thing.

On to…

The Toybag Guide to Age Play by Lee Harrington

[Brief note about the cover above–the cover to my book has ‘Bridgett’ as the middle name in quotes. Your version may vary.]

The intro points out that age play is not a precursor to pedophilia. Everything I have yet read concerning age play has some sort of disclaimer saying it has nothing whatsoever to do with pedophilia. I don’t get out much so no one has said this to my face, but the first time a kinky person does so I’m going to say, ‘I guess that means your kink has to do with domestic abuse, then. We should get a group discount for the therapist.’

The Judgerpants family is legion, apparently. Don’t mess with me. My rants are hella fun. I’ll hella fun your face off.

In Chapter One: What is Age Play, Lee says:

Age play is any interaction or roleplay between consenting adults (or enjoyed by a solo adult) involving the concept of age as a dynamic. This can include, but is not limited to:
–age regression back to being a ‘kid’ (pretending to be 7 and playing video games or masturbating for the first time)
–fetishizing one’s current age (the power of being a twenty-year-old woman)
–age forwarding towards being a different age bracket (a thirty-year-old dressing up to be Santa Claus)
–or any roleplay interacting with any of these concepts.
Age play incorporates a sensual or sexual element, but many ‘age players,’ ‘kidz,’ ‘babiez,’ or ‘littles’ enjoy ‘pure’ age play that is just about the role and not about any hanky panky.

Like Taboo, the book talks about what people get out of age play, in this case, the people who go younger often do so in order to re-experience the joy and freedom of youth or to be a kid for the first time. Those who take on the adult role do so to be trusted or to ‘corrupt’ someone or act as a teacher or guardian. There’s a list in the book of quite a few reasons why people do the age play thing.

There’s discussion of how to go about actually doing age play once you’ve decided you’d like to.

Lee says his first question is always:

How much investment do you want to put into this?

Investments can range from a three minute role play when you’re fooling around in bed, to a scene/evening investment to a repeat role where a scene or character makes a return performance on more than one occasion.

Then there’s one step further, which is Personal Investment, something Lee describes as, ‘When your hobby starts spending your money.’ On props and those sorts of things. Mmmm prooooops. And finally, Full-Time Identity.

It bears saying—it’s in the book, but I’d say it here, too: ‘There is no ‘better’ type of investment.’ If you’re happy being a naughty little boy for about fourteen minutes every six months, it doesn’t make you any better or worse than the guy, gal, other or both who dons a school boy outfit the second they get home from work every day.

Chapter Two covers all of the ages people role play as kids. It feels weird to call it role play, though. For me, it’s a very definite age and the phrase ‘role play’ sounds like pretend. It’s more like accessing a certain part of myself that I don’t typically allow myself access to.

For lack of a better term I’ll use role play, though. The ages listed for the younger set are:
Pre-verbal, Toddler, School Kid, Teen, Post-Teen/Adult.

They’re defined in the book, but most of those are pretty self-explanatory, except for the final one, which includes college or university themes.

This section reminded me of a story Sex Nerd Sandra told on Perverted Podcast when she went to an age play party. The friend she dragged along taught pre-schoolers, I believe and she said, ‘This isn’t how kids act at all! That kid wouldn’t have any friends and would be sat in a corner!’

I loved that this woman was critiquing the acting abilities of the ‘kids’ at this party. That entire story was…terrible. The story was great. The party was terrible.

The roles for Adultz listed are:
Mommy/Momma/Mom (I’d add any version of Mum for the English or Mam for the Irish) and Daddy/Poppa/Dad; All other blood relatives, basically—aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents, you name it; Daily roles like teacher, bus driver, coach, next door neighbour, babysitter; Special Time Roles like dentist, doctor, camp counselor, ice cream vendor; Then, of course. There’s the Stranger. What if the Stranger really needs to be looking out for little Sally?

Because of the possible emotional and psychological land mines inherent in this sort of play—particularly with the Mother/Father option, the suggestion is made to use a name not used with the person’s actual parents.

Something that comes up in this chapter is the nonsexual aspect of age play. People often focus on that part because it freaks them out, but I think age play appeals to those who are drawn to it for myriad reasons that have nothing to do with sex.

And I had no idea how many nonsexual ways there were to do this! One of the suggestions was Single Adult, Assorted Kidz. Which involved one Grown up type say, taking a bunch of kids to a museum or something. Another was Single Adult, Family Tie Kidz. ‘Dad’ in the middle with one ‘kid’ on one side and that person’s ‘step-sister’ on the other, curled up watching a movie. What?! That’s great. I found that hugely appealing and didn’t know it existed before. There was much in this book I felt that way about, though.

There’s a chapter on all the different types of scenes (hint: probably more than you think—I have so many ideas now).

Then we’re onto gender in age play (you don’t have to remain your own) and aging up. There are people who enjoy playing the geriatric set. They’re called ‘gerries’ or ‘elder players’. I thought about how much I enjoyed old age make up for the theatre and what a curmudgeon I am. I identify heartily with Stephanie Cole in Waiting for God. Even at 10 I loved Bea Arthur on Golden Girls.

I’d just wind up role playing as a grouchy old woman playing mahjong with her grouchy old woman friends. Then again, I do really love that show Grace and Frankie. Oh God. Hi. I’m a gerrie. My name’s Edith. Get off my lawn and your music all sounds alike.

Of course a book on age play would not be complete without a conversation about the appeal of diapers.

There’s a bit about negotiation versus organic evolution. In my, completely non-scientific, utterly anecdotal experience, age play has often started between people in bed for the first time without prior discussion and it’s worked out well then discussed and developed later.

I suppose we don’t hear from the people whose partner responds badly to the suggestion & never brings it up again. And I wonder if it’s only brought up in the dark perhaps when one is tired or after sex—when one is already vulnerable—because it’s so taboo. Even within BDSM, in general, it’s not something people say, ‘want to do this thing?’ or, ‘I really want to dry nurse while we watch TV’ during a negotiation. It’s one of those kinks-within-kink that can bring some heavy judgment.

That chapter also discusses how to handle impromptu scenes in terms of check-ins afterward, which speaks to how common impromptu scenes are with this type of play.

All the different types of discipline and punishment are covered and a reminder that age play affects outsiders. Yes indeedy doo.

Finally there’s a chapter on when things go badly. Relationships end, triggers are tripped and so on and how to deal with those things. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

This one had several resources in the back.

Though my overall inclination is toward a Victorian-style power exchange I had unconsciously incorporated many elements of a Mommy/girl relationship but didn’t see it or call it that. Maybe I didn’t want to because of my own internalised discomfort, but I can hardly ignore it now. Oh well.

If you’re looking to expand your repertoire when playing with taboo or age play or would like to get your feet—or something else—wet, definitely give these a look. Likewise, if something just confuses the hell out of you—the Toybag Guides are written by articulate people with a wealth of experience. It’s easy to judge—it takes a little effort to understand other people’s kinks, and you may learn something about yourself.

5/5 for both and now I want to read all of the books in the series.

Oct 07 2016

The Night Porter (1974)

There are films that exist outside of themselves—by that I mean—it’s impossible for the viewer to completely suspend disbelief, as they are regularly brought to the present by the question, ‘How did this get made? What were the circumstances that allowed this to happen?’

Caligula falls into this category. The Night Porter isn’t nearly as overblown and utterly baffling as that and I would argue this had more going for it—it certainly had more artistic merit, if less Helen Mirren being done doggy-style.

But there comes a moment when a viewer wonders, ‘How on God’s green Earth did Dirk Bogarde and Charlotte-Fucking-Rampling wind up in an Italian-made Nazisploitation film with sadomasochistic themes?’

I mean… How?

At first I thought it must have been based on a novel—there must have been some literary foundation that had gone sideways in the interpretation, but nope.

So…money? Boredom? Blackmail? I don’t know. I have no answers.

Mystification aside… I quite enjoyed it. You couldn’t pay me to watch Caligula again (I’ve seen the uncut version twice and I’m set for life, cheers) but I’d watch this one again easily.

This happens, for one. (source)

This happens, for one. (source)

In the opening Max (Dirk Bogarde), a porter in an upscale hotel in 1957 Vienna sees to the Countess, who says she’s cold and requires assistance. Max fetches a young man and we’re treated to a casual shot of uncircumcised penis. Well, hello, European film-makers.

That same evening several fancy people come in, dressed in finery—one of whom is the young and lovely Lucia (Rampling). Both are startled by the other’s presence. Before either can speak, however, she is swept along with her well-dressed friends and upstairs to their rooms.

Max thinks back to how he knew her—they had been on opposite sides of the War. He had been a low-level Nazi officer when she was brought in to be processed. He had filmed her and found her particularly captivating. His interest in her is what saved her life, as they had a…unique relationship that involved sadomasochism, Daddy/girl undertones and a Marlene Dietrich song.

A man with the most magnificent monocle you could ever hope to see comes in—Max addresses him as Herr Professor—and it becomes clear they’re preparing for a trial. There’s discussion of what evidence of Max’s involvement in the War exists and who has it. He had posed as a doctor but none of his ‘patients’ had survived. Except one. A young woman.

Efforts are undertaken to find her. Max says he has no idea who or where she is. Though he eventually confronts her to find out if she’s returned to turn him into the police and their relationship picks up where it left off and continues to grow weirder. Because now several former Nazis want her dead. But Papa Bear Daddy Nazi isn’t having his ‘little girl’ taken away.

The story is told in flashbacks from both Max and Lucia’s points of view during the War interspersed with present-day Vienna where Max’s cohorts are looking for the woman they believe can destroy them.

It was fitting that I watched this after reading about Playing with Taboo. I went into this film with no idea what I was in for, but there was a scene with a dozen or more Nazis in their impeccable uniforms and jackboots, sitting casually around inside an empty swimming pool, watching a male ballet dancer (Amedeo Amodio). Suddenly the idea of a scene of someone having to dance for Nazis or pay the price came to me.

You can watch the ballet scene here--it's also the source for the image.

You can watch the ballet scene here–it’s also the source for the image.

The film is surprising (to an American viewer) in its casual attitude towards… well, many things—including male rape. Which at one point is happening off to the side as a way to set atmosphere for something else that is going to happen. Europe!

The dubbing is slightly off around half the time, as though the actors had to re-dub their lines. Otherwise, aesthetically, it was beautifully shot and acted. Amodio looked rather remarkably like Tom Hiddleston.

I genuinely had no idea what was going to happen…ever. And I cared about the happiness of a Nazi, so that was a first. It was perhaps the most twisted love story I’ve seen on film or even read.

There’s also a scene of Charlotte Rampling singing a Dietrich song for a bunch of Nazis whilst wearing over-the-elbow leather gloves, a Nazi peaked hat and pin-striped trousers held up by suspenders. And that’s it.

This one has sadomasochism, Daddy/girl themes, a little sploshing, and light bondage involving chains. For a film with Nazis in it there’s no violence (outside of the male rape, which the victim participated in to save his life.)

If you’re into those things it’s a must-see. 4/5

Oct 06 2016

Episode 026: Taboo and Age Play

Episode the Twenty-Sixth; In which the Pageist settles in to her new country, learns why people are into playing with taboo and becomes more comfortable with her little side. The books reviewed this episode are The Toybag Guide to Playing with Taboo by Mollena Williams and The Toybag Guide to Age Play by Lee ‘Bridgett’ Harrington.

.50 Intro and Announcements:

  • Facebook likes! Welcome to Rylie, Aurora and Angie. Mwah! Mwah!
  • Thank you to the person who filled in the PodTrac survey and the very kind words. For anyone who’d like to contribute a few minutes of your time to a good, anonymous cause of making my day: the survey is here.
  • Someone left a rating and review on iTunes! Happy gasps all round! Thank you, friend. <3
  • The show is in DRC and Luxembourg. We’re taking over the world! (Incrementally.)

3.24 My Submissive Life:

  • In the upcoming weeks I’ll be appearing on Lee Harrington’s show PassionandSoul, which you can find here.
  • AliceinBondageLand will be appearing on this show. Her site is here. And I talked about her site and what she does in episode 17. Find the link here.
  • Also, I’ll be making an appearance on another show, hopefully. Stay tuned for that announcement.
  • Tina Horn interviewed Mollena Williams in an excellent two-part What Are People Into That?! podcast. For the life of me I cannot find a link to the episode, but it’s on iTunes–it’s episode 2. It’s titled 2A: Mollena Williams: Role Play, though they talk about many other things besides role play, including taboo.

6.59 Book Reviews:

  • Previously reviewed Playing Well with Others by both Mollena Williams and Lee Harrington in episode 2, which is here.
  • And both Mollena and Lee were short story contributors to Leather Ever After, an anthology of kinky fairy tales, which I reviewed in episode 3. That’s here.
  • Mollena’s website, The Perverted Negress: here.
  • You can follow Lee on Twitter: @PassionandSoul: here.
  • Sex Nerd Sandra on Perverted Podcast and the age play party from hell. Here.

30.10 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be talking about Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness by Steve Lenius.
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • Subscribe, stream or download from libsyn here. All episodes are available in a pop out player on this page.

Sep 20 2016

The Trainer by Laura Antoniou

[This is the text of the book review from episode 25 of the podcast.]

In this episode I’ll be talking about The Trainer by Laura Antoniou, which is the third book in The Marketplace series. I reviewed the first book in episode one of the show and the second book in episode six.

The Marketplace, in case you’re unfamiliar, is a secret, international organization that trains people who wish to be 24/7 slaves in the truest sense of the word. Once each person is trained, they are auctioned off to the highest bidder, who could live anywhere in the world. That’s the very short version—it’s much more complex than that. And much sexier. Each book focuses on a different aspect of the organization.

The first book, The Marketplace, introduced the reader to the world of the novels through the eyes of four slaves—each of whom represents a particular archetype of slavehood—who’ve been sent to a training house in New York state.

The second book, The Slave, focuses on one person in particular and what it’s like to go from desiring to be a full-time slave to being trained to being placed and any successes or failures that result.

This time out the subject is on how trainers become trainers. Which is probably why it’s called The Trainer. It follows the story of Michael, who is similar to the Sharon character in the first book, but from the other side of the line—he thinks it’s all about sex, basically. He has no idea what he’s getting himself into. If he were a fragrance it would be Naivete No. 5.

A hallmark of the books is learning the life stories of the characters—seeing how they came to realize they were Marketplace material, whatever their position. The Marketplace is a massive international organization—besides the obvious slaves and trainers there are also spotters and trainers of trainers and who knows what else (I’ve only read three books, but I can’t wait to find out what else people do.)

And everyone involved has to be Marketplace approved.

So, sweet, deluded Michael. He’s from California. Well, there’s part of his problem right there—the person he’s been training under to be a trainer, a man named Geoff Negel, has a very loose philosophy of slave training. He views his job more as match-making slaves with the perfect owners and moving people around to find the best fit. Then advising owners not to go too hard on their property when it comes to making them do things they don’t want to do.

I could hear the pan-pipes playing in the background when his name was mentioned.

Michael accompanies Geoff to a Marketplace-run meet-up just for trainers and discovers the person he thinks of as revolutionary isn’t necessarily considered so by their British counterparts.

He also gets a taste of what properly trained slaves are like. And learns of a person referred to as Master Trainer Anderson. She trains trainers. She trained Chris Parker.

Ah, Chris. I do love him. He’s right at the start of the book, being his awesome self.

Chris Parker is the thread that runs through all of the books. He’s not the protagonist (nor an antagonist) but he plays a different role in each book. His story develops in each novel. The character is amazing. Bless Laura Antoniou for giving the world this character. Back to this novel, though.

I mentioned previously that Michael was sort of the trainer version of Sharon, who was my least favorite character in the first book. So having an entire book with an oblivious Isn’t-My-Radiant-Presence-Enough-type was …painful at times.

For example, Anderson has a massive library full of books on slave training, which includes her own notes and other notes by famous trainers around the world on various techniques. He’s given full access to this library. Does he use it? No, because he’s an idiot I wanted to strangle.

Every time Chris showed up I hoped he’d strangle him for me.

But, with characters of that nature I look at it like the author got it right. That’s exactly what some people are like.

It did make the sex scenes difficult to bear because I so profoundly disliked the guy I didn’t want him to enjoy himself. Ever.

As the novel progresses, we learn how on Earth Michael wound up with the best trainer in the Marketplace. We also find out just how unaware of his own stupidity he was. The depths, they are remarkable.

He’s the human embodiment of the phrase, ‘We don’t know what we don’t know.’

We learn some new (very interesting) things about Chris and about characters from previous books. A highlight for me was seeing an episode from the previous book, The Slave, from a different point of view.

Good old Mike has some growing pains and learns approximately 900 things about life, slavery and himself and makes a pretty big decision.

Though the protagonist is, thus far, the Marketplace character I like least of them all, this novel was still compelling. I started the fourth one immediately afterwards. He’s in that one, too. Joy illimited. I want to punch him less now. That’s progress.

Something I enjoyed about this one was ‘watching’ Chris train the people coming through the house. He was staying with Anderson for a period due to personal circumstances I’m not spoiling for you, but holy moly wow. And while there he was polishing up a few slaves. Michael was to learn how to train and we got to watch this. Seeing the philosophy behind training and proper slave care, so to speak, was interesting. Antoniou has fully fleshed out the world of the Marketplace. It’s clear she’s an actual kinky person who understands 24/7 total power exchange.

I wouldn’t recommend reading this one first if you haven’t read other books in the series. Definitely start with The Marketplace. Or at the very least The Slave or else something that happens at one point will make less sense.

Otherwise, I couldn’t put it down—it’s sexy, funny, creative, well-written—you know, all those things Antoniou does so well. It’s 5/5 easy.

Sep 17 2016

The Evolution of Friendships and Polyamory

There was an excellent post on Medium recently about polyamory entitled The Bigger Picture of Polyamory by Jasna.

There were several things that spoke to me, one is that I agree that being poly is a personality trait and not necessarily a relationship choice.

She also put into words something I hadn’t been able to, but this is what I’m looking for–the reason polyamory appeals to me:

I love exploring the way friendships develop. When I meet someone new, I never quite know what form that friendship will take — in the beginning, the possibilities are limitless, and that’s simultaneously an exhilarating and remarkably comforting feeling. I love watching the shape of the friendship evolve and change and discover itself.

Sometimes, there are other layers to it. Sometimes it settles into a space that doesn’t quite have a good name. I have friends whom I cuddle quietly with. Friends whose hand I like holding. Friends whom I hold in my arms when they are sad, and whose forehead I kiss to comfort them. It is still a friendship, but if I were in a monogamous relationship with someone, this type of friendship would begin to blur the lines of what’s okay and isn’t okay.

And then there was this, which was the highlighted by many people, apparently:

Authenticity in life is one of the most important things to me. I want to relate to people in natural, genuine ways. I want to form friendships which feel comfortable for everyone involved. I have found that when I remove expectations for what a friendship should and shouldn’t be, it slowly begins to take its natural form, and becomes something even more beautiful.

I love the idea of allowing friendships to be whatever they are going to be. Rather than trying to prune them or force them into certain shapes due to current cultural mores. As long as everyone is supportive of one another, allowing relationships to take their own path teaches everyone new things about themselves.

Sep 16 2016

Episode 025 The Trainer

Episode the twenty-fifth; wherein the Pageist returns to the Marketplace for the third time to learn how trainers become trainers. Also, a note from a fan and show developments.

.50 Intro & Announcements:

  • Welcome to new listeners in Venezuela! And the new Facebook friend Lexi!
  • Thank you to the person who contacted me through Tumblr. To answer your question, there are several ways to help the show, including:
  • Spreading the word to people at your local munch/dungeon or online,
  • Leaving a positive review on iTunes
  • Sponsoring the show (or sending someone my way who might be interested in doing so)
  • Supporting the upcoming Patreon or Zazzle shop.
  • The Cage is a social networking site that includes blogs, a magazine, a podcast section, forums and all sorts of other things. Registration is open and free. Check out the link here.
  • I happened across Consensual Dominance this week–it’s a blog written by someone who clearly knows a thing or two. The posts are well-written and covers a variety of kink-related topics. Check that out here.
  • I don’t know when the next episode of the show will be due to moving craziness. Definitely not next week. Perhaps the week after? Or the week after that? Hopefully it won’t be a month from now, but I am not leaving you for good just until I have a place I can sit and talk naughty things in peace.

5.52 Book Review:

  • This episode’s review is of The Trainer, the third book in the Marketplace series by Laura Antoniou.
  • I reviewed the first book, The Marketplace, in episode one, here.
  • The second book, The Slave, was in episode six, here.
  • The Marketplace is a secret, international organization that trains people who wish to be 24/7 slaves in the truest sense and then sells them to the highest bidder. That’s the short version–it’s much more complex than that. And sexy. Each book focuses on a different aspect of the organization. The third book is about how trainers (the people who teach slaves how to be proper slaves worthy of the Marketplace) become trainers. And it ain’t easy.


  • Normally I would read a sexy excerpt from the book, but there’s no time. I’m saving it for another episode. I promise–you’ll get your smut.

13.36 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be talking about… I don’t know. Either: kink in films: the good, the bad and the sexy; a review of Life, Leather and the Pursuit of Happiness; a review of two Toybag Guides or something else entirely.
  • Like The Pageist on Facebook, follow on Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads and join the Fetlife group.
  • You can also subscribe to this website through the email form in the sidebar.
  • Subscribe to the iTunes feed here. You can also rate the show in iTunes, which would be much appreciated!
  • Subscribe, stream or download from libsyn here. All episodes are available in a pop out player on this page.


I’ve just found a site called Consensual Dominance. The essays are solid, well-written advice about a variety of kink topics from someone who clearly knows a thing or two.

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