Decoding Your Kink by Galen Fous

Decoding Your Kink book cover


{This is the text of the book review from episode 52.}

This episode’s book review is Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore, Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires by Galen Fous. Whose name I hope I am pronouncing correctly.

I received this book for free, but that has never stopped me from being honest about what I read. Episode 31 or 48 should be proof enough of that.

The author puts right out there that this book is from the point of view of cisgender, heterosexual male in the dominant role. It was still inclusive and recognised the existence of an array of other people—including asexuals. So, points for that.

He recognises that people do kink for a variety of reasons, saying:

No matter how dark or perverse, or light and spiritual you seek to be, there are new maps being created and older ones resurrected, that offer the opportunity to express your authentic sexual desire in a healthy, conscious manner.

Fous starts the book talking about his personal journey to becoming comfortable with his kinky side—and it wasn’t an easy one—then talks about how this influenced his decision to help other people become comfortable with who they are. He says:

Exploring our personal Eros fully, discovering all that has been hidden in the shadows all these years, can lead to a state of greater self awareness and confidence. Confronting and resolving old shame and guilt can lead to psychological breakthroughs personally.

Which is absolutely true—it’s why I started doing what I do. When you suppress and deny a core part of yourself it negatively impacts everything in your life. There is nothing more central to a human than how they relate to other humans intimately—whether that intimacy is expressed sexually, emotionally, mentally or any other way. Well, except perhaps how a person relates to themselves, I suppose.

When a society, government or culture tries to define the acceptable way for people to relate to themselves and one another that society, government or culture are attempting to control what it means to be human.

All a person has to do is get up in the morning—you’re human. You’re you. Complete as you are. Ta da!

The phrase the author uses for what we think of as typical sex is ‘friction sex’. Which I really, really liked. Because we have mindfucks, right? So why can’t we have mind sex? I’ve had conversations with people where you’re right on the same page—it’s exhilarating.

There could be emotional sex, mental sex, what Erica Jong would call the zipless fuck—there are all sorts of profound ways to merge with another person, which is what kink is all about. Finding unconventional ways to connect with someone.

The phrase he uses at one point is ‘straight-up friction sex’. I can hear some of my friends now with that one.

‘I really need some straight-up friction sex right now. So much friction my hair is standing straight up and entire florist shops full of balloons float towards me.’

I want this phrase to make its way into common parlance so I can say, ‘I’m not really into friction sex. Other types—absolutely. Not so much with the rubbing.’

Something the author has created—or conceptualised—is the Personal Erotic Myth. It’s all the things that set your brain (or other parts) tingling. Props, power play, costumes, atmosphere, phrases, all that. The bag of tricks your brain opens up when it’s time to get intimate with someone else or yourself. I’m going to talk more about this later, but wanted to introduce it here, because it’s a big part of his philosophy.

Later in the book the author discusses the physical consequences of holding down or holding in the emotional responses we’ve been taught are wrong. So, if you’ve been told you’re not supposed to express your emotions by your family and society, you’ll close yourself off emotionally, but also physically—you’ll hold yourself more stiffly—cross your arms more, clench your fists and so on—as a way to physically hold back your natural response. And that’s why white men can’t dance, basically.

I’m simplifying greatly because the section is long, but it was quite interesting—in the example provided, he talks about a patient who had been repressing a lot for decades and how he usually used music therapy to help people get in touch with a natural rhythm.

This guy just could not find it. If you repress and repress and repress some things some people will never be able to get it back.

When he was talking about how our emotions affect our physicality it reminded me of how easily I stopped biting my nails once I was out of an awful situation. Bit them for years—until they bled—tried everything to stop. Once I was out of high school—school had always been a living hell for me—I just stopped. Without trying or noticing.

As I was working on the review I realised that since I’ve moved to England what I thought was TMJ has cleared up. My doctor said he couldn’t find anything wrong with the actual joint, but my jaw popped like hell when I ate anything chewy—loud enough to hear it across the room. It seemed like that’s what I had. It doesn’t do that now. I think the muscle in my jaw was very tense—maybe I was clenching it a lot. I had never been happy where I grew up or in the general area where I lived. Liberals aren’t meant to be born and raised in the American South.

They say you can’t move away from your problems, but apparently you can. Some will just go away if you get away from the stressors. Either way—it’s nice to be able to eat chewy bread and yawn without my jaw popping again.

In this book—there’s a lot of talk about archetypes, rituals and symbols and how to understand and use them to your advantage. I particularly liked this bit:

A couple in a D/s relationship could create the mutual intention, for example, to aspire to the highest ideals of their respective positions as Dominant and submissive and bring these qualities to the relationship.

He goes on to talk about how, obviously, people aren’t going to achieve perfection—it’s about intent and commitment, though.

While we’re on not achieving perfection—everything was not perfect, because when is it ever. And you know I like to cover the pros and the cons.

There was more repetition than necessary—several repeated paragraphs. I don’t mean publishing errors, I mean bits that were repeated intentionally.

In a similar vein, the author had a tendency to overstate his case. I understand—it’s hard to kill your darlings. You have twelve paragraphs that are beautifully written, but if you’ve covered everything you need to say in six then the six will suffice. The people reading the book, they get it… you’re preaching to the choir.

I was hoping for more actual exercises on how to work out your personal interests. The book is called a ‘guide’ and at times it felt more like an ad for the author’s personal brand of therapy.

There are some recommendations, and quite a bit of advice for other things, but that could be overshadowed by the overstating of his case. It’s also understandable that you can’t write down exactly how therapy works because it’s going to be tailored to each individual. The title just didn’t seem quite apt. You guys know how much I love my homework.

When he was talking about your Personal Erotic Myth it reminded me of Meg-John Barker’s class, which I attended at Eroticon. The session was about learning about yourself through your fantasies. It included a zine—a pamphlet that was quite a few pages long and had many exercises. We only got through a couple or three in the class and my mind was blown. I learned things about myself just by examining my fantasies for forty-five minutes—and I think we did, like part of three pages of the nineteen pages in the booklet.

This book—Decoding Your Kink—made me want to break that back out and really sit down with it. The zine is available on Meg-John’s site, which is—the actual document is here. It’s £2.50, but it’s worth it. Whether you’re a writer and are looking for inspiration or just want to learn more about yourself or your partner or how your brain works when you’re not looking (because your brain is doing stuff when you’re not looking)—it’s totally worth it.

I was also reminded me of Madison Young’s homework assignment from her DIY Porn Handbook, which I reviewed in episode forty, where she talked about just having a conversation with your desire.

Hello desire.
What do you most crave?

Then letting your desire guide the conversation from there.

I took the Personal Erotic Myth Survey on Fous’ site (link in the notes, if you’d like to contribute your info) and it’s a fairly blunt tool and really not scientific—which the author admits to. Participants are self-selected from sex and kink-positive communities, which will skew your results like mad. There have been over 2,400 respondents, though. I’ll be writing a separate post about the survey itself that will be up in a couple weeks, hopefully.

It’s just about paying attention to who you are in those private moments and accepting those sides of yourself.

Now I’m going to put on my Pedantic Pants because I cannot help myself. If it drives you crazy, pretend they’re made of your favourite fetish material.

There are flocks of possessive apostrophes when words should have been plural. Including in a paper that had been submitted to a professional journal which was a little…oof

Some people enjoy making up words for things. Sometimes that’s useful—because we don’t really have a word for that thing and when we don’t have a word for something it can be easy to pretend it doesn’t exist. Other times it can come across as precious—it depends on the words chosen.

Other times people come up with new words for things we already have words for (that’s not really the case here—it’s just one of my peeves—‘We already have a word for that’).

The author invented a few new words and phrases, is what I’m trying to say.

Like, Sex Creature. This is described thusly:

Most people have a complex authentic sexual persona, as distinct as a fingerprint and inherent as their eye-color…

Then he goes on to say these sexual personae are ‘distinct and independent from our outer social personas.’

While this phrase is useful—to help people who are ashamed say, ‘Oh see, this is a part of myself, but a separate part and it has a name’—I feel like trying to get the psychotherapy community to embrace the term ‘sex creature’… it’s very Freudian, isn’t it? It sounds like something someone with a German accent would ask you about. ‘Are you in touch with your sex creature?’

‘Sure, his name is Ralph and he sounds like Elmo. Looks like Sweetums, though.’ Sweetums was that giant Muppet on Sesame Street.

Sweetums the Muppet

My sex creature (not the guy in the hat). [source]

Love the concept. The name, though… it’s like English food. Not so great with the naming.

The last thing is Fetishsexuality. Or what Jillian Keenan—who wrote the outstanding Sex with Shakespeare—calls Alternasexuality—I believe that’s her word for it. Something like that. It’s based on ‘alternative’. Both authors are trying to do the same thing, which is establish that kink is an orientation for some people and should be recognised as a valid, separate orientation like being gay or straight.

Keenan had a great article on Slate about kink being an orientation, actually—it’s something she writes about a lot—anyway… the idea would be a huge step forward in terms of legal issues. If kink was recognised as ‘just the way some people practise intimacy’ then taking children away from parents who are kinky, forcing morality clauses on kinksters and so on would go the way of the dodo.

So I do think a word is useful in that it helps validate the group to the people outside—who are the ones passing laws and making judgments against us—but it also lets people who might be uncomfortable with that part of themselves know they’re not alone. ‘No, you’re fine. There’s a word for that. Welcome.’

And if you think there are too many labels out there—people only started to use the word ‘gay’ to mean exclusively ho-mo-sexual in the 60s. Not that long ago. If you complain about there being too many labels, that usually means you’ve never had a difficult time working out who you are or your place in the world. Congratulations. Not everyone is that lucky. Have some compassion.

So. A word is good. I’m not in love with ‘fetishsexual’ though. I know what it means and it sounds like it’s exclusively for people with abnormally high attachments to textiles or clowns or something. It’s sort of specific sounding. It feels like I’ll be explaining what it means to everyone if I describe myself that way.

‘Alternasexual’ … Sorry, Jillian. I love you, but I feel like Winona Ryder is going to show up and we’re going to listen to a mix tape while wearing flannel… That doesn’t sound so bad, actually. It’s a little 90s, is what I mean, though.

But I don’t have a suggestion! I know! I’m terrible!

However, if either of those caught on and the mainstream started to get it, accept it and defend it—I’d happily explain what it meant to everyone. I don’t care what you call it, just give me my rights and dignity.

I suppose, though, ‘whateversexual’ (maybe that’s what we should call it—since people can literally be into “whatever”)—‘Whateversexual’ would be the technical term and ‘kinky’ would be the slang. Like homosexual and heterosexual are technical terms for gay or lesbian and straight.

I’ve only just realised, bisexuals are only ‘bi’. They don’t have an informal name. Huh. We got really lazy when naming the bis.

Anyway, those are my thoughts and this episode is long. Wrapping up:

Overall, I enjoyed it. Fous has some thought-provoking insights and useful advice. If you are interested in the psychology of kink maybe give it a look.

I’d give this one a 4/5.

Episode 052: Decoding Your Kink

Episode the fifty-second; Wherein the Pageist seems to have become an adult at some point, meditates on the importance of finding your place and learns about her personal erotic myth. The book reviewed is Decoding Your Kink: Guide to Explore, Share and Enjoy Your Wildest Sexual Desires by Galen Fous.

.45 Intro and Announcements:

9.50 My Submissive Life:

  • is two years old. When I started the site I could have never forseen where it would take me. I’m so grateful for what I get to do.

12.39 Book Review:

Decoding Your Kink book cover


35.55 Closing Remarks:

  • Thank you for tuning in!
  • In the next episode I’ll be interviewing Graydancer of Kink Sex Culture about consent.
  • Support the show and site on Patreon!
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  • All episodes can be heard in an embedded player on this page.

Podcast Review: Why Are People Into That?!

Type of Podcast & Premise: Interview format. In each episode, the host talks to someone who knows a thing or two about that episode’s topic to find out why people are into [spanking/bondage/humiliation/whatever].

The Host: Tina Horn (Who is into quite a few things herself) [I reviewed (and loved) her book about sexting real good in episode fifteen of my show.]

Length of Episodes: The earlier ones were an hour up to an hour and 40 minutes (it’s an interview about interesting subjects—you’re not going to cut someone off). Now Horn breaks the episodes into two pieces to keep them from being too long.

Post Frequency: I believe they started out being once a month but now it’s twice a month—one interview broken into two listenable chunks. Plus an Interrobang (described below).

Current Number of Episodes: 45 (some are broken into two parts, but the second half will be label ‘B’ of whatever episode number… there have been 45 topics—I’ll put it that way.

There are also Interrobangs, which is this symbol: ?! And are short segments that complement previous episodes.

Number of Episodes I’ve listened to: Looking down the list I counted 19, but it felt like more than that. Perhaps because I’ve learned so much and laughed so hard. They’re all downloaded, so I’ll get there eventually. The show is still in production as of this writing.

Platforms: iTunes, acast, you can also use the rss feed to subscribe.

Website & Other Social Media:, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr

Review: Horn has been part of the kink scene, as well as involved with sex work and porn in a variety of ways for years so she knows many people who have bags of experience to share. The list of her interviewees is like looking at the best answer to the question, ‘Who would you invite to your dream dirty dinner party?’

As with any podcast that focuses on specific topics—I first listened to episodes on things I’m interested in and had some knowledge of:

Service with Laura Antoniou (ZOMG amazing!)

Role Play with Mollena Williams (this also covers race-play and is spectacular) (this is the second part of the episode)

Submission with Steven Elliot (I need to have this person on the show—we have similar feelings about submission in odd little ways)

Age Play with Siouxsie Q

Spanking with Jillian Keenan (I reviewed Sex with Shakespeare based partially off this interview)

Power with Sinclair Sexsmith (sugarbutch, who is awesome).

These episodes were all A+ and made me think about my own interests in ways I hadn’t previously considered.

Then I sought out episodes on topics I simply do not get. Not like, ‘Eww, gross!’ But… why do people dress up like sexy nurses? I genuinely do not understand this. You don’t see sexy doctors. Medical play makes sense—it’s not the fetish that confuses me… That’s not what this post is about though. There’s an episode about Naughty Nurses with Zil Garner Goldstein and why people are into it. I think I get it now. So, thank you Tina and Zil.

Then there were ones I either didn’t know existed at all (bicycles, Poppy Cox taught me there are people attracted to bicycles—it makes total sense, really, there’s even a porn festival for bike-sexuals) or things I didn’t know very much about but now do and am a little intrigued. Latex was a big one for that (thank you, Abigail Greydanus), though fire was also fascinating and now I want to watch people do sexy stuff with fire. Particularly Lamalani Siverts.

Episodes that fell into the category of ‘Things I’m interested in but hadn’t given much thought to’ were blood (with Maxwell Lander) and bondage (pt2). Both of those were excellent, but the bondage one with Troy Orleans! You have to listen to that episode. Orleans is a dominatrix who specialises in heavy bondage and she has a body bag that’s made of the leather they make the seats of Italian sports cars from.

Horn responded to this information by laughing out a, ‘Shut the fuck up.’

I’ve not had the slightest curiosity about body bags until then. The finest leather known to mankind, you say? Completely encasing my entire body, you say?

What’s happening? Oh yeah, a review.

If none of the topics I’ve mentioned toast your crumpet, here are a few of the other subjects that have been discussed:

The fantastic Cooper S. Beckett does the Swinging episode.

Horn thinks about sex and kink and the politics of the body and gender a lot and the people she interviews do, as well—the conversations are always intelligent and hilarious. There’s always a warmth, a rapport, between Horn and whomever she’s interviewing. Inevitably they’re going to tell some insane stories about something one of them did and it’s going to be wonderful, eye-opening, educational, and it’ll probably make you laugh out loud.

During every episode I learned something—whether it was a new way to experience or view an existing kink of my own, that perhaps there was an aspect of another kink I may be interested in but hadn’t known of before, or simply learning what other people got from their own kink that I didn’t inherently connect with. (I think that might be the point of the show. Well done, there.)

Rating: 5/5 – If you’re looking for more information on your own grown up interests or are wondering what is up with the people who like xyz (or are simply a sex nerd), this is the show for you.

Miss Vera’s Guide to Cross Gender Fun for All



[This is the text of the book review from episode 31 of the podcast.]

This episode the book is Miss Vera’s Cross Gender Fun for All by Veronica Vera.

I received this book for free, but after you hear this review I doubt you’ll think I’m lying about anything.

At the start the book is billed as

‘A cross gender guide to practical transformation.’

And that does happen…around page 71. The first half of the book is about Miss Vera and how she got to where she is—when she started Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to be Girls and so forth.

If you specifically want to learn about playing with gender you can start at 71. There are some interesting statements and things to chew on in the first half, but if you’re wondering when the premise of the book kicks in—halfway through.

That’s when you fill out what would be your Miss Vera’s Finishing School Enrollment form. It includes your current gender and cross gender, current name and proposed name, measurements and questions. Questions are things like what would you like to nurture or enhance about yourself and who your cross gender role models are.

Gender play isn’t something I’ve given much thought to, but I’m game. Wow, did I not realise how little attention I paid to men until this came up. Who the hell were my role models?

I love this sort of thing, though. When you think about yourself or the world in a new way. Realising you hadn’t noticed something because you’re just living your life.

Earlier we were supposed to choose a symbol of our cross gender self. At first I thought it would be a tie. Then it dawned on me—a waistcoat. In the States it’d be a vest. I’ve always loved a waistcoat on a man or a woman and I have several.

Then it hit me. My cross gender role model is Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds. Those smart, awkward (boy can I identify), soft-spoken, well-dressed guys. He even has long hair most of the time, which I like on a guy.

Fun fact: that character was originally supposed to be bisexual and the Emily Prentiss character was supposed to be a lesbian, but the studio nixed both of those plans. Typical.

In general, I had a difficult time with the assignment, though, because I’m not feminine. In pretty much any way. I took a quiz recently and received ‘casually masculine.’ Fittingly, I got the quiz from Laura Antoniou’s Facebook page and she received the same result.

The author of the book says people tell themselves they can’t do the cross gender thing because:

I’m too much of a guy/gal to ever make this work.

For me, I’m already about 65% dude so… yeah. I’m too much of a guy to make this work the way you want, I think. I’m just like, a dude who likes to wear a skirt and riding boots and a corset on occasion. And I really like those kinds of guys, too. The guys who wear eyeliner and nail polish sometimes? Guys who wear whatever they feel like that day.

While we’re on that subject. There’s a lot of talk about the gender binary and how it’s outmoded and such and so, and I’m right there. Indeed. But there’s not really a discussion about two-spirit or agender or the myriad other options Lee Harrington talks about in Traversing Gender.

I mean, what if you’re a bio-woman and your cross gender self is a really effeminate gay guy? Or what if you’re a bio-male but your cross gender self is a really butch lesbian? Do you have to buy into nails and hair and make up? This isn’t addressed but there’s much talk about ‘balance’ and how there’s a man in every woman and a woman in every man. Is it a pendulum? Since I’m in the middle—not very girly the vast majority of the time—would my gross gender self naturally not be very masculine by our current definition?

Which brings me to a part of the enrollment form that made my eyebrows disappear right into my hairline. Under the ‘your goals’ section an applicant is supposed to choose what qualities he or she would like to enhance based on the gender icon they are crossing to. Masculine includes things like: Logical, strong, hardworking, stoic, leader, Dominant, confidant, active. Feminine included: Fragile, playful, sexy, emotional, follower/supporter, submissive, thoughtful, compassionate, desirable.

I’m pulling this podcast over for a second. Mostly because blood is about to shoot out of my nose. This is offensive to both groups because it’s saying not only, say, women aren’t naturally logical, but men can’t be sexy. Women can’t be hardworking and men can’t be compassionate. None of these are compliments! If these are things people tell themselves about themselves I have such sorrow for the average human. Everyone needs to be in therapy! No wonder the world is so messed up.

Also, looking down this list—if these traits really are indicative of typical male and female personalities, then I’m more like 85% male.

Where was I? Oh right.

The author talks about the time she cross…something. It wasn’t really cross-dressing because she remained in her dress, but she had a beard applied. Her experiences with strap-on play were interesting, though. She talked about getting the experience of being a guy after trying it a few different ways.

The stories about real peoples’ experiences, in general, were some of the most valuable parts. Reading how accessing a different part of a person’s personality—something they didn’t know was there before—was quite moving. A book of those sorts of stories, or at least more of those, would have been interesting.

So I’ve done the parts I like, which was the second half. The first half, well, I had some issues.

Well. The first half wasn’t all bad.

Technically, it includes the cover, which has photos of a series by Hana Pesut called ‘Switcheroo’ where opposite sex couples switched clothes. So there’s one shot in their own clothes, then there’s with the couple recreating the pose but in opposite sex clothes and positions. If that makes sense. My friend Bean recognized it instantly. There’s a link to a slide show of some of the pieces in the show notes—it’s pretty cool.

She had also read Miss Vera’s book Miss Vera’s Finishing School for Boys Who Want to Be Girls. Which I had not heard of until that moment.

The first thing I have to confront is a serious health risk: The author advocates binding with ACE bandages. No. No. And no. There are safety risks that include breast tissue breaking down and permanent damage to lungs and ribs. This is a link with more info, and here is yet another one. Short version: bandages like ACE bandages are designed to get tighter with movement. This is not a thing you want!

This is one of my favourite quotes of the book. I stared at it for thirty full seconds:

My school and I have helped to change the face & the figure of society.

I know individual lives have been changed radically and for the better—that is obvious from the few stories that are included—but the whole of society? Steady on, there, Ozymandias.

There were things in the first half that were thought-provoking, though. For example:

Clothing has always been connected to the way in which we experience and identify gender. The act of cross-dressing, wearing clothing of the opposite sex, changes what we project as well as what we interpret about others. Never just a fashion statement, nor only about pleasure, cross-dressing is about liberation, expansion and a shift in power.

Also, what is defined as appropriate for men or women changes over time. High heels were originally designed for men. And of course everyone used to wear robes. When I was converting to Judaism my rabbi asked me how I would respond to the proclamation that women shouldn’t wear men’s garments like trousers. I said that if the trousers were made for women they were women’s trousers. He said right on.

As a sidebar can we stop calling them pantsuits and just call them suits? It’s also marriage not gay marriage, fuck’s sake.

Back to what the author was saying about the shift in power that comes with cross-dressing. She’s certainly correct there. We imbue clothing with such power and not just male or female but blue-collar versus white collar, as well. And then the colour of the skin of the person wearing those clothes plays into what power we give…just fabric, after all.

Our society, though, has decided that transwomen of colour have the least worth. Someone with a certain skin tone, designated a certain sex at birth decides to wear a certain type of fabric and our society finds that so intolerable that person’s life is worth less than other people’s.

I can’t help but notice that all of the photographs in this book are of white people. The Finishing School has had thousands of people go through, I believe, so I’m sure some have been people of colour, but it’s interesting that there’s no representation of that here. Maybe it’s because no one was comfortable being photographed when the call went out. Maybe there are other factors of which I’m unaware.

But there have been twenty-five trans and gender nonconforming homicides this year and at least 21 were either black or Latinx so it seems like, perhaps, there are others in our society who need to feel seen and worthy and beautiful.

Maybe I’m just sensitive to seeing white people everywhere right now because all we seem to be doing is screwing things up and dismissing people who aren’t white.

Anyway. I mentioned before about the project of creating your cross-gender other. In the first half, the author mentions your iconic other—the person you’ll be creating.

This iconic other will serve as your guardian angel, your personal champion, your inner slut—whatever you need to feel balance in your life.

As a submissive I’ve often thought of this as finding your inner Dom/me. Finding the person in your brain who will get you to do the thing. Whatever ‘the thing’ is. The washing up. The essay. Your exercises. ‘If you had a D-type right now she’d be giving you The Look.’ Subs will know what I mean. No sub wants The Look.

So if you’re not on the Dominant/submissive scale this could work for you. Find that other side of yourself find your inner Dom/me. Or your personal champion, which is sort of what a good D-type is—someone who wants you to be your best and can help you get there.

There’s a resource guide in the back that’s solid. It’s one of the best parts of the book. Kevyn Aucoin books for makeup-yes and yes. Those books are works of art. There’s a makeup guide in this book for men trying to hide a five o’clock shadow, but YouTube probably has step-by-step guides that are easier to follow and pause and such.

She also recommends The Very Short Introductions guides to anything, because there are who knows how many of those. If there’s something you want to know about—check one of those out. They’re pocket sized and accessible.

Then, if you want to be more in control of your finances, she recommends Suze Orman. That woman scares me. She’s very intense. But she’ll get your finances in order. She’s a whole different type of findom. She’ll scare your finances into order.

The font is large and the margins are wide—there are also several full-page photos, which are great. I loved seeing people in their various incarnations, but it has less content than a typical 145 page book. On the other hand, it took two days to read. You could read it in an afternoon, easy.

Overall, it’s a mixed bag. This book made me think about some things I hadn’t before. It certainly made me break out my waistcoats and ties. It could have benefited from more personal stories and explanation and less about the author.

If you’re looking for just fun gender play, especially female to male: 3/5

If you’re a middle class white male interested in exploring his female side, you could probably find more practical information online, but this is still more geared to you: 4/5

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!
  • All episodes are listed and playable from this page.

Sexting by Tina Horn



This is the text version of episode 15’s book reviewSexting: The Grownup’s Little Book of Sex Tips for Getting Dirty Digitally by Tina Horn.

It hadn’t occurred to me until now that we probably get the word ‘digital’ from ‘digit’ because we do it with our hands—typing and such.

Which reminds me—when I was 12 and I first heard of oral sex I thought it was phone sex. Because we gave oral reports in school and that was just talking. Boy, was I in for a surprise. (When I learned what it actually was I thought, ‘Well, that’s unhygienic.’)

So this book is, ostensibly, about how to do the sex with your hands, but not the way you’re used to.

Really, though, it’s about communication in all its forms—it’s about self awareness first—about how to figure out what you want—and then how to communicate that to another person.

In our culture our communication is screen-heavy and Horn—once walking the reader through communicating with him or herself and then the more traditional forms of conversation—helps us hapless boobs deal with the various ways we can screw up or enhance our relationships with all this newfangled technology.

Full disclosure: I received this book for free, but I’m buying a copy of my own and a copy for a friend.

I wish book smells had specific names so I could tell you how different books smelled. I kept stopping to whiff this one. It has thick pages and smelled good. It’s square and the covers are thick so it feels good in your hands. The paper is heavy weight, as well. The book is nice to molest, basically.

Tina does a lot with sex—I found her through Coming Out Like a Porn Star, which I reviewed in episode 10, but she’s also an educator and has a podcast called Why Are People Into That?! that I’m slowly working my way through.

In the Introduction she says:

In this age, you can hit the dating world after a few short years of a monogamous relationship only to feel like everyone is fluent in a dialect you didn’t even know existed.

No joke! I’ve just started some tentative steps out into technodating land and what the crap has been happening out there? There’s Snapchat, which is supposed to Mission Impossible explode photos, but I see them online all the time so there’s a flaw there and my experience with OKCupid thus far has been uninspiring.

And Tinder is not going to be my jam, I already know, so I’m not going anywhere near that one.

Chapter One is called: Use Your Words: The Basics of Dirty Talk.  In it, she asks:

Why does sex make us feel ridiculous sometimes? Perhaps it’s because our sexual nature can feel distinct, messier, and more primal than our everyday selves. Letting go completely can be so terrifying. We don’t say the things we really want to say to our partners because we think if we stay quiet we can protect our vulnerable feelings.

Horn clearly has thought (and talked) about sex a lot because she makes some astute observations.

A couple pages later she gives an assignment to keep something called a Private Dirty Notebook, with all sorts of ideas including a yes/no/maybe list, a dream journal, and reviews of erotica or porn you watch. If I had read this book before having my own blog and digital notebook, I would have put this book down right then and gone out and bought the perfect notebook. Much agonizing would have taken place. A new pen would have also been acquired.
As it is, I have a great number of her suggestions on my blog or computer (but not all—notes have been made!) HOMEWORK! YES!

A little later Tina talks about the sort of thing Kevin and katie [power exchange presenters I talked about in the intro] discuss in their class. When people communicate with one another this wacky thing happens where, either, they get more of what they want, or they learn they aren’t compatible. As I’ve been talking to some of my vanilla friends about the negotiation part of being kinky, several have said vanilla people could use those negotiation skills in relationships. Much of this book is basically: Kink Communication for Vanillas.

Then there’s a bit about what slut shaming is and how not to do it, which is very useful for everyone who exists in the current dating world and wants to be all about equality.

In Tina’s Tips for OKC she says:

I would be real about everything I think makes me fabulous and only go out with people who could understand and appreciate me.

There’s an assignment for your dirty notebook that’s a sort of Mad Libs, but it’s the best Mad Libs ever. It’s called Dirty Talk Fill-in-the-Blanks. I would love an adult activity book with a bunch of these, please.

There’s a page on roleplay that reminded me of the episode of Why Are People into That?! Horn did with Mollena Williams on… roleplay. It was a two-episode long topic because there was so much to say, but this book is supposed to help people explore a little here and there—not delve deeply into the Narnia of their perversion.

And then we’re on to…Chapter Two: Putting Yourself Out There: Hooking Up and Finding Compatibility.

Now, Tina and I are on the same page in many ways, but she then sent people to Fetlife for dating purposes.

Look. People use Fet for different purposes. Some are just there to read writings or join groups or attend events. It’s not expressly a dating site. If you go there looking for a date don’t expect everyone else to be there for the same reason. And don’t be upset if a person is uninterested in your advances.
And now, I shall sing you the song of my people: Read their bio/Read their bio/Read their bio/And don’t send a dick pic unless they ask!

It’s called manners! And they’re free!

Tina had a different take on writing online profiles from what I’ve seen before, which she frames as ‘advertising copy’. I shall be taking her advice.

Then there’s etiquette and tips on how to best handle chat apps. In terms of approaching D-types, though, I don’t know the protocol—this isn’t the sort of book that’d go into that sort of thing. Though I suppose the sort of Dominant I’m looking for would appreciate an s-type who knew what she was looking for and wasn’t afraid to send a polite introduction.

Tina says:

In all exchanges over dating apps, always respond to something from the previous message and give the person something to respond to. If you’re talking to someone and he leaves the conversation dead in the water, abandon that thread. Anyone worth dating will take the time to compose a thoughtful response.

A theme of the book is ‘don’t waste other people’s time and don’t feel guilty about not allowing other people to waste your time’. This is an important theme. Know what you want—be honest about it and don’t faff about with people who don’t return the favor.

Tina continues:

If you don’t hear back from someone after you’ve sent him the perfect cute message, do not follow up with another message. That’s creepy. Let it go. Not everyone is going to be interested and/or available. Don’t dwell on it. Disappointment is an important aspect of dating. The more you accept these little disappointments, the less they will feel like full-on rejection.

After Tina gets us through using the magical internet box to meet other people she gives advice on the first date, which includes how to carry on a conversation based on their profile. This made me think of an episode of Multiamory where they gave advice on writing an online profile and they discuss the differences between trivia and traits either one will make good conversation starters, but the second will make better ones.

Then we’re on to tips on how to handle the always uncomfortable safer sex discussion. If you’ve listened to episode nine of this show, where I talked about HPV—how I have it and how it’s insanely easy to get but there’s no test to know your status—then you know safer sex is muy importante.

Throughout the book Tina is inclusive of all gender expressions and sexualities and it becomes particularly clear in the section where she gives examples of things to keep in mind before getting down with your squishy bits. Under ‘Birth Control’ she says:

If there’s any chance that one of your anatomies can knock the other’s up, you need to let each other know where you stand. Is there hormonal birth control or an IUD in the mix? Would you like to use a barrier for intercourse regardless?

In this pre-flight pre-check section, she includes What you’re looking for right now (in terms of relationship or not), STIs and Testing, Barrier Protection Preferences and Monogamy Status. Things you need to know about yourself and the other person.

She has an excellent two-page description of what she called The Silent Alarm, which is what people in the BDSM scene would call a Safe Call. This book is really BDSM advice for Vanillas. It’s like she didn’t want to scare the vanillas by calling it that, though. Either way, I’m all about it. Yes, give them the info. Silent Alarm, Safe Call. Whatever. Don’t get murdered by a stranger. Kinky or vanilla, I think we can all agree being strewn across the countryside in an array of garbage bags is less than optimal.

Later Tina talks about how each date is an audition. This rather ties back into the concept of your ad being advertising copy, except you’re auditioning as yourself and the part is for the authentic you. Don’t lie. She says:

You have to keep auditioning over and over and over again, and you are going to get used to rejection.
Sometimes the person who was cast instead of you baffles you completely. Sometimes you know that you would have been better for the part (and all your besties assure you this is correct.)

As a person who has done quite a bit of theatre, I can tell you that hounding the director about his casting choice won’t make him change his mind. And as a person who has been pestered by people I’ve turned down romantically—being re-asked, cajoled and insulted didn’t make me change my mind, either.
TheFerrett—a member of Fet–compares dating to writing—submitting your writing to different magazines. This is also a perfect metaphor. If your style isn’t a good fit for that magazine or publisher then you shouldn’t be there. Submit your writing somewhere it’ll be appreciated. There are thousands of places—if you’re a decent person/writer there’s a place for you. No one got a publishing contract or sold a story or essay by shouting.

The metaphor does fall apart a bit here because if you’re a terrible human with zero social skills who only sends dick pics then no, no one is ever going to give you a ‘publishing contract’. Maybe the metaphor then becomes to take a freakin’ writing class and actually send thoughtful messages. You could read this book, actually. This book would be that class. I’m getting off topic.

Tina urges the reader to talk to friends about sex—to throw out the idea of what is appropriate conversation. Good friends listen and don’t judge. I don’t have a filter but have very good friends, so I got lucky. Some of my friends have learned a lot about a lot, though.

Chapter Three comes rolling in. Discover the Joys of Sext: Using Technology to Stay Turned On

Now we’re into chapter three, which brings us into the actual sexting part—it’s about halfway through the book. That may seem a long way when the title is Sexting, but if you can’t communicate at all then you certainly won’t be able to communicate through your phone or laptop effectively.

In an offset little block Tina says she doesn’t recommend using voice recognition software because the sexts come out incorrectly. She gives a couple examples, but I couldn’t work out what they were supposed to be, so I’m going to read them. Sexts by Siri. Ready? ‘I’m so out of shoes.’ ‘I want to linger am now.’ Are you losing control now? I know I am.

Tina promotes a rational approach to grammar and punctuation in texts and for this she is my hero. I can almost forgive her for sending people to Fet for dates over it.

There’s a page of Dirty Talk and Sexting that appears in songs and film. In the song category we have, I quote, ‘basically anything by Prince’. And I’ve added a few films to my ‘to watch list’. Cheers, friend!

We zoom right into the final chapter, Chapter Four: Send Sexy Pictures and Video: A Selfie Says a Thousand (Dirty) Words

In chapter four—the chapter on how to take and send the best dirty photos and videos and keep them as private as possible—Tina refers to our phones and computers as ‘personal smut-making machines’. This reminded me of an episode of My Name is Earl where Earl’s buddy saw a laptop and exclaimed, ‘A porn machine!’ Yup. That’s what it is.

Tina is an advocate of the selfie for the same reason I am—our society says that it’s the natural order of things for men to objectify women but if a woman thinks she’s attractive she’s vain, as though we’re supposed to get all of our validation from guys. I call bullshit on that. This is what Tina says about it:

In Defense of the Selfie: The modern culture of selfie taking catches a lot of flak. ‘We have become a society of egomaniacs,’ quoth the cynics, ‘each citizen a Narcissus obsessively staring into the shallow pool of his or her own reflection.’
To this I say: Whatever, fellas. We woke up like this.
Most critiques of vanity are inherently based on sexist double standards, by which women (and gay men) are expected to be perfect objects of masculine desire while never appearing to be trying too hard.

Also, this isn’t new, or female. Go to any large museum and you’ll see enormous paintings of men. You think someone had to beg them to sit down to had their likenesses immortalized? Those dead white dudes would have taken a billion selfies if they’d had the technology. Instead we just have billboard sized paintings of them, which I’m sure aren’t the tenth the size of their egos.

Here’s an important quote for you:

Remember, don’t send a picture of your genitals unless someone asks for it. It’s really that simple.

Do I need to sing a song of my people about this? Because I will. My people have many songs.

This section also has tips on the types of photos to include with your ads, how to take different types of excellent selfies, and advice on how to best use snapchat and other apps.

Speaking of various apps, as sex isn’t my thing, I don’t spend time thinking about various creative ways of going about it, but Tina had some ideas when using Skype or Facetime! Even I thought they were hot. Wow.

Prior to tips on keeping images of your privates private, Tina had this to say about a particular facet of our culture:

…part of the appeal of the naked person in a picture is the way she shows off her vulnerability and her particular expression of sexiness.
Counterintuitively, we also blame and shame women who show off their bodies proudly. Women must always look presentable but never betray their effort. Look no further for proof of this double standard than the ongoing controversies over the hacking of celebrities’ private photos. Countless famous actresses, including Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Lawrence, have had to address backlash after their private nude pictures were stolen and uploaded onto the Internet for anyone to see. Many conservative critiques of these crimes have chastised these women for taking the photos in the first place. By this reasoning, these women deserved to have their pictures viewed by the world, because their were irresponsible enough to take them. This is complete bullshit.

Indeed, Tina. If someone stole their diaries and posted them no one would say, ‘She shouldn’t have been stupid enough to write down her thoughts. Thoughts are private.’ But in our culture women are defined by their bodies and once they no longer have that then they have nothing. A few weeks ago Justin Bieber… I said his name on my show… help me… anyway, a nude picture of him surfaced and you could hear the fangirl screaming in space. No shaming there because men are more than their bodies in our society.

Anyway, for keeping photos safe Tina recommends storing your dirty photos in a special folder. I use an app called Private Photo Vault. You get two albums for free and can have as many as you’d like for $4—I paid to turn off ads and to have lots of albums and I love it. It allows you to use either a passcode or your thumbprint to log in and within the app each album can be locked separately, as well. It will also delete photos from your camera roll as you add them to the the app if you’d like. You can take photos directly into the app that will bypass the camera roll and it has an in-built private internet browser that will allow you to save images and gifs from the internet. Also, you can have a decoy passcode that opens a completely different set of images so if someone pesters you for it they’ll see whatever innocuous images you’ve put in there. It also plays mov and mp4 video files. Also, if someone tries to break in, it takes their photo and GPS location. It’s available for iOS and Android. No, they’re not a sponsor—I just love the app, though if they wanted to be a sponsor I would not turn them away. I’ll put a link in the show notes. If you want to look for it in your app store now it’s Private Photo Vault and worth every single penny.

I should really get paid for my effusive ads. Anyway, Tina also talks about how to respond if someone tries to show you a nude sent to them in confidence. Don’t be a consent violator, basically.

Tina closes the book with some thoughts on the pros and cons of our technology-rich society.

Sometimes people hide behind machines, and sometimes they use their anonymity as an excuse to act careless, inconsiderate, or even abusive. Yet I cannot tell you how many people I have met who thought they were utterly alone…until the Internet helped them connect with other people who shared their desires.

Indeed, friend, indeed.

This book is more about overall better communication—which I am all about—than just texting. They should hand them out at high school graduation—if only because it’s illegal to give them to fifteen year olds.

It’s about getting to know yourself and expressing what you want (and hopefully getting more of what you want).

And it has these funky little illustrations I really dig.

It’s also small enough to go in your bag.


Episode 007 The New Topping and Bottoming Books

Episode the Seventh: Wherein the hearty Multiamory crew begins their voyage into kink by taking over the show and discussing Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy’s classics The New Topping Book and The New Bottoming Book.

Note: This episode is part of a series where hosts from various shows in the Erotic Awakening Podcast Network host an episode of another show in the network. You can check out all of the shows in the EAPN here.

00.55 Book Review

  • Multiamory is a podcast primarily about polyamory and relationships hosted by Emily, Jase and Dedecker and they were interested in getting more into kink. When they contacted me about hosting an episode of The Pageist they asked if I recommended anything and The New Topping and The New Bottoming Books were the first ones that came to mind, as I think everyone interested in kink should be required to read them.
  • All three of them read both books and their review and thoughts were really interesting. They did me proud.
  • My review of The New Bottoming Book is here. The New Topping Book is here. The books aren’t how-to guides–they’re more about philosophy and ethical behavior and all the glorious ways to top and bottom.
  • Check out their show and their site at Even if you’re not into poly they have useful things to say about how to better communicate with one another.

Thank You for Reading This Post

Living M/s by Dan and dawn Williams


Living M/s: A Book for Masters, slaves, and Their Relationships is a collection of writings by Dan and dawn Williams (the hosts of the Erotic Awakening podcast). They’d been in a power exchange relationship for more than ten years when they compiled and wrote the book in 2011.

Master Dan’s writing is well-reasoned and reasonable. I can only hope that the people who need to read his advice will do and will take it to heart—the scene needs more people like him. His pieces are useful to slaves, as well, because they give you an idea of what makes a good Owner versus what you’d be better off avoiding.

slave dawn’s writings spoke to me on a level I find difficult to express. Multiple times I found myself thinking that this was a person who absolutely ‘got’ me—or at least an aspect of me that others wouldn’t. It’s one thing to be accepted and loved by your friends (and I’m not denigrating that for a second), but it’s another thing entirely to see someone else’s words and realize they completely understand you. They get it.

One of the things dawn and I have in common is that we don’t like playing chess.

This is from an essay called, fittingly, “Playing Chess”

dawn says…

Some ask me why, if I’m such a strong person, I would allow myself to be in a power exchange relationship. For me, the answer is simple: I don’t like, nor am I good at, playing chess.

What does that mean? I don’t like the power struggle. In my previous relationships, I was the standard vanilla wife. Everything was about who would ‘win’ and who would make the decisions… What color sheets should we buy? Well, he wanted black and I wanted purple, for example. … If I changed my mind to black, I couldn’t say anything because I’d be giving up my ‘position’ on the chess board and he might see that as a ‘win’ later to be used against me.

How we spent money: a chess move; what movie we saw: a chess move. I just didn’t like it. And since it was about strategy, I couldn’t believe the answer if I asked him what movie he preferred, because the response was usually: ‘It doesn’t matter to me.’ Then, after the movie, he’d say: ‘You know I don’t like that kind of movie. I can’t believe you took me to see that. You should have known better.’ Then, all the friends would be told how it was my fault for taking him to a stupid movie. A price was paid, and a lesson was learned: not to trust what I was told.

Many, many individuals live in relationships where chess is the normal, everyday game. They either like it, or maybe they don’t know there are other options. I learned that I don’t thrive in that atmosphere. It always felt like there was a hidden agenda that I just didn’t get.

dawn then goes on to say that she and Dan built complete honesty into their relationship from the beginning. If one of them says they don’t care about a movie or color of a rug they genuinely mean it. Also, there’s no strategy in terms of, ‘You got what you wanted that time so now I get what I want.’ It’s two people helping one another be their best selves.

I love dawn. dawn understands me. Just say what you mean, people. And two people in a relationship and clearly on the same side! Revolutionary!

I think that need and appreciation for precision and transparency is why I like the idea of contracts. Perhaps it’s also something to do with being a writer. Either way, another part of the book that I found highly useful was the section about contracts. Lots of good information there. If you take the view, ‘I belong to my Master to do with as he pleases and don’t need a contract,’ then skip that chapter.

There were other parts that spoke to me and I loved the entire book, but those two pieces stood out.

Onto technical specifics.

The book is broken down into sections with several essays in each (excepting sections on different styles of being Master and slave and different types of slaves, which are one essay each). Sections include:

Terminology and lingo
Defining what it is to live an M/s lifestyle
Differences between abuse and power exchange
Different styles of being Master and slave
Different types of slaves
How to create your own power exchange relationship
Being a Master
Being a slave
Our community
Your M/s
A brief section of personal essays from a rocky time in their relationship that shows a TPE takes effort and commitment but is also something that answers something within a person.
Writings about running for Leather titles and Dan earning his cap from his peers in the Leather community.

They write the way they speak—it’s easy to hear them reading these pieces on their show (I don’t know if they’ve done that). It makes reading the book like an extended podcast where they give advice on how to run a successful, thriving power exchange.

Mixing personal stories with practical advice, Living M/s is a must read for anyone in, considering or curious about power exchange. I cannot recommend it highly enough.


Erotic Awakening Podcast


Back in July I talked about the Perverted Podcast (which I still love and they continue to be awesome) but I needed more kink in my life. So I went into iTunes and found Erotic Awakening. And I think I’m going to be set for awhile, as they have 360+ episodes. iTunes only stores 300, though, but you can find all of them on their website.

I’ve been listening to one or two a day while doing chores, so it’ll probably be some time before the point where I need to go to their website to get the oldest episodes.

About the show.

It’s hosted by Dan and dawn, who are in a Master/slave relationship and are also poly. They have been in the lifestyle for sixteen years and teach classes and are very personable. Dawn’s laugh makes me smile.

(In one episode she told a story about laughing at work and someone she doesn’t usually work with was walking by and his head whipped around. Perhaps he recognised her signature giggle. He continued on his way, though. Can’t exactly say anything without outing oneself, can one?)

They have a Question of the Day, where someone writes in and they try to answer it based on their experience–sometimes it takes awhile and is very thought-provoking. Other times it’s more of a, ‘Nope. Not cool. Don’t do that–you’ll never get the applesauce out of the tractor engine.’

Another feature is the tentacles/food on boobs, which is where listeners send in photos of things with tentacles (dawn) or food on boobs (Dan).

If the hosts don’t know about something they often interview people about those topics. Those interviews vary between interesting and a little dull depending on the personality of the interviewee–that’s nothing to do with the hosts.

Something that does have to do with the hosts was how young they sound/seem. They clearly know what they’re talking about, but then, during a conversation about moving into their new house dawn mentioned her kids coming to see it and I was, ‘What, are you picking them up from pre-school to see it for the first time?’

Then they dropped the bomb of there being grandchildren.

Clearly being kinky keeps you young on the inside, because I had listened to a few episodes before this revelation so this new information had me doing crazy numbers in my head. ‘If she had her child when she was thirteen and that child had a kid at thirteen, okay, we’re getting somewhere plausible…’

They’ve been in the lifestyle sixteen years, as I said. They know a thing or four. Their advice is level-headed and I always learn something.

The episode about spanking… the way the podcast app works is that once you listen to a particular episode the app deletes that episode for you in 24 hours. Which is very helpful.

But the spanking episode had me fiddling around, working out how to save an episode so it never gets deleted. You know. For research purposes.

Other episodes I’ve found interesting were on negotiation and masochism.

They’re nearing the end of a series of episodes where each one is based on one letter of the alphabet. Spanking was ‘s’, negotiation was ‘n’, etc. I’m working backwards, as I said, so I’m looking forward to ‘a’. Gee, I wonder what it will be.

On a final note–the music for the show is sort of mid-range jazz with whip cracks for percussion. I want to make it a ringtone. It could be handy. See if anyone swings around and give them a lil wink.

Between Scene and Aftercare with Lady Trinidad

This week’s Mentor’s post comes from FetLife’s Lady_Trinidad and is about the period of time between the end of scene and aftercare.

How *NOT* to End a Scene
You just got done playing. The music was pumping, the scene was slammin’, and now it’s time to wind things down. As the Top, do you think about how your bottom is going to experience the next few minutes as they transition from scene back to reality?

Tonight, as I was winding down a bondage scene, I was very aware of what my bottom was going through as he was still tightly bound to my spanking bench. See, this was his first time entering subspace, so I wanted to ensure that he had a good, long-lasting impression of what it means to be taken care of at the end of a scene (not to be confused with aftercare).

Here are all of the things I considered tonight after the last swat was dealt, and I now had to manage bringing him back from his happy place.

Think with the End in Mind. (Or in this case, the bottom’s end. Not that end, silly!)
Leave some time at the end for the bottom to come to, especially after a long or intense scene. Before the scene ever begins, be sure the bottom has comforting items nearby (if needed) and some water to replenish lost fluids during the scene. Not all bottoms require aftercare, but if they do, be sure those items are readily available before the scene ever begins.

It’s Not a Race to the Finish!
The scene ends: you’re done; they’re done. A good time was had by both. Now that the bottom has entered his or her happy place, let them marinate in it, relish in the joy of what just took place between the two of you. Don’t start stripping off all of the accoutrements willy nilly! Leave some time at the end of the scene to bring the bottom out of it.

Avoid Jarring Moves.
A great scene can go south real quick if the bottom is unceremoniously knocked out of his or her headspace because of clumsiness like a knock into their leg, a bump to the head, or an accidental bump of the equipment they are still on. Be aware of the bottom’s body and the equipment (legs & all for both).

Be Careful when Removing Stuff.
The bottom has just taken a lot of _________ (fill in the blank). They lay there, depleted, relaxed, spent. You start to take off a wrist cuff, or cut a piece of vet wrap. Take it easy. Don’t let body parts just drop after a piece of gear has been removed. Be aware that that body is an actual person. Support their joints, such as wrists or elbows, when removing restrictive gear like rope, cuffs, hoods, gags, etc. Give the bottom time to wiggle out of things at their own pace with your assistance. Don’t rip shit out or off!

Don’t Drop Gear on the Ground.
You dished it out, and they took it like a champ. Be aware and don’t drop the gear, especially right near their head. As they continue to drift around inside their own head, don’t knock them out of that zone by clanging chain links or with big loud thwumps of gear on the floor. The lyrical tinkle of chains as they easily slide down is one thing, but a loud metallic bang right near someone’s head can be jarring.

Music Becomes Louder after the Scene Ends.
When playing in a public space, it can get noisy – real noisy, but if you are able to control the music, turn it down just a notch at the end. The same music that helped get the blood pumping at the climax mid-scene could be equally abrasive, even intrusive, to the bottom’s headspace post-scene.

Light Becomes Brighter after a Scene Ends.
Shield yer eyes! Seriously. Shield their fucking eyes. Senses go haywire after a scene has ended, and the light that seems normal to the Top will seem quite different to the bottom. Cupping your hands over their eyes and letting the light filter in between your fingers will give them a chance to blink and adjust gradually. This is especially helpful after someone has just worn a hood or a blindfold for a good hour or more.

Body Temperatures Vary Before, During & After a Scene.
During a scene, the bottom’s body temperature will fluctuate, meaning it will likely go up. Blood is pumping through their bodies, adrenaline is floating through the bloodstream, endorphins are there, too. However, once the scene ends, these feel goods are going to go away. The blood slows down, the heart rate decreases, and the temperature changes. For some bottoms, having a blanket nearby provides not just a sense of warmth, but a sense of security. However, NOT ALL bottoms get warm or need a blanket at the end. If you’re not sure if your bottom will want one, ask before the scene starts, or ask at the end. (I asked tonight, and he was actually sweating, so no blanket for him.)

Stay Physically or Proximally Connected.
Even though the bottoms may be on a bouncy Moon Walk inside their heads, let them know that you’re still there…somewhere in the near vicinity. A hand on the calf, leaning a hip against their side, or even your breath on their skin or a light whisper in their ear reassures them that you have not left their side. (If you must leave for some reason, enlist a trusted friend to stand post until you return.)

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
Have water at the ready when the bottom is willing and able to drink it. Don’t force water down someone’s throat until they are able to swallow it on their own. Help support the container (bottle, cup, glass) until they are capable of holding it/drinking on their own.

Now, these are not rules, not even guidelines, and they are certainly not the One Twue Way to end a scene. As I wrote at the start, these are some things that I was considering tonight as I ended MY scene, and I can’t help but think I’m not the only one who has considered these thoughts.

– Lady_Trinidad