GrandeDame

No Pain No Gain: Distinguishing Erotic and Non Erotic Pain

Today I went to see my Physical Therapist for a Rotator Cuff injury rehab session. After we spent some time getting acquainted and starting the exercises, he asked me “what are your thoughts on pain?” and well, you know me, I just had to respond with, “oh, I have LOTS of thoughts on pain! First I think there’s a strong mind body connection and that pain can teach us lot about how we accept extreme sensation. I think that certain types of extreme sensation, aka pain, [notice how I started schooling the PT on my lingo?], can announce danger but also teach us how to relax around the sensation to accept the circumstance. I personally notice that as a strong self sufficient woman who starting working at the age of 14 and does not have a well resourced family or partner to fall back on, I start to feel urgency and impatience around healing as I psychologically fear I will never be able to work again, make money, or take care of myself. It’s brutal and self defeating, and yet it’s part of the process of “sitting with the pain”. I have so much more to say, oh wait, I’m sorry, is that too much?” He paused for a moment, concentrating on stretching my wrist, and then looked at me and smiled saying, “um, most people just say how they don’t like pain. Clearly you’ve thought about this”.

To which, of course, I smiled to myself, because really, if I didn’t think about or have knowledge around pain, than surely I’m not doing my work. Let me share with you what I didn’t share with him.

There is a great difference between non-erotic pain and erotic pain.

Let’s be clear, the main difference between erotic pain and non erotic is lack of intention. “Pain” or intentional extreme sensation built up by the top and thrown in at crucial moments during scene to create excitement, build the high, and keep the energy flowing create pleasurable sensations. Non erotic or unintentional/accidental pain, (eg., stubbing your toe or when the Top wraps the whip), are not part of the desired effect and usually create unpleasant sensations, i.e., what we classically call pain. Ouch!

Because erotic pain is a desired extreme sensation built up slowly in the body to help the receiver, (bottom in this case), achieve a state of “high” as their dopamine and endorphin levels are elevating and their desire to receive more and more intensity increases, it also drives arousal levels to the nth degree, making the bottom want, yes, MORE. So, in sum, non erotic pain is not desired but erotic pain is. You may recall my favorite adage: “make them want it, make them want it more.”

Here are five aspects of erotic pain to bear in mind:
Desired/Intentional – refer to this nifty [video interview with me] on the topic of desire.
Consensual – check out this [great link to a Kink Academy] compilation on consent or refer back to [my piece on consent and safe words].
Exciting
Pleasurable
A great place to achieve surrender/climax/release

So, for those of you who ask why people would hurt each other, let’s bear in mind that the eroticization of extreme sensation with an appreciative, or as [Dan Savage] might say, a Good, Giving, and Game partner is entirely different than stubbing your toe.

Finally, a small note on the difference between hurt and harm. We all hurt each other in relationship, usually unintentionally, but we do, it’s part of our growth. No matter how much we love each other, unintentional hurt happens. Hurt may be painful and it is also reparable over time (an accidental wrap of the whip, harsh words in the heat of the moment). Time heals these wounds as does the active practice of apology and rebuilding trust. Harm, on the other hand, has longer term effects and is not reparable (putting out an eye with a single tail, lying with malice and intent, especially repeatedly, eroding trust). Although time may soften the effects, or redirect them, it carries more long term effects. Harm is simply that: harmful due to its lasting effects.

When you go to play, I hope you bear in mind the wonderful boundaries you can cross when pushing up against pain and pleasure and I trust you will do no harm.

In Love and Kink,

Eve

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Kinky Curiosity: Finding A Perfect Provider

Recently, I’ve received several queries from folks interested in Escorts who provide kinky services. In fact, with the film production of “fifty shades of gray” to be released in February, we will probably see more possibilities to not only discuss kink more openly, but probably also see more Escorts offering BDSM services.

I know some people feel as though it’s already controversial to discuss escorting in the United States, and further, it’s even more controversial to, (gasp), place escorts in the same category as Dominatrices, but I say that any escorts who enjoy and practice kink activities, at the very least, could be considered Kink Providers. Examples of distinctions between these job titles exist all over the world, especially in areas where sex work, if not overtly legal, is at least, more generally accepted. As you can see from thispage for example, prostitution is legal in half of the world. Oddly, it claims the US as being “limited legally” which gave me a chuckle since clearly we are barely even there.

In any case, in Australia and France where I lived for awhile, being able to find a good professional was as simple as contacting an appropriate service to assist you in your career choice. I’m not sure how things are these days, but a quick internet search brings up a cute site called Escorts and Babes Out of Oz that offers a wide array of choices all over the continent. In France, I did not find much BDSM and escort combined, but was able to find several directories quite easily. Generally, I gotFetishgirls.com  which seems to have a lot of serious play. Locally to SF my top hit was Slixa, which has other locations and a BDSM “Verification” process for their kink providers, which can assure a bit more authenticity sometimes.

Of course, there are lots of options out there and choosing a professional is not as straight forward as it may seem. Building skills to find an appropriate match is imperative. Here are a few suggestions to finding a well suited kink provider:

Know What you Want: Or even what you don’t want! Starting with three basics that you want and one thing for sure you don’t want is great, but what if even that approach is too daunting? Look at images on websites. What compels you to make contact in the first place? Did you like the look of the lingerie, and if so, do you imagine it on you or the provider? What kind of porn do you watch? What do you imagine when you masturbate? What definitely is a “boner kill” for you? Do you imagine yourself on top, bottom, or both? Finding honesty with your provider so that you can fully engage in what turns you on will build trust and safety so you can have fun. They can tell you politely whether your interests are on par with their own. Trust them!

Ask Questions Not an interrogation, but like any other professional, you are engaging in possibilities of working together. Be sure to ask the important questions around interests, skill level, if equipment is being use, what quality? and what standards of cleanliness and skill level do they have? Working professionals with ethical views will not be insulted by such queries. They will see you as an informed client who cares, and that is someone we all want to work with!

Take Your Time If you are new to all of this, try not to rush out and grab the first person who looks good to you. Think about your reasons for seeking a provider. Is it for the experience?Is it for excitement? Are you seeking long term exploration? Do you seek a surrogate until you are ready to date again? Different providers specialize appropriately. Take the time to get yourself acquainted with the field and with yourself. Of course, taking the time to seek counsel can be quite instrumental these days. Like matchmaking services, Kink Coaches can help you find the perfect professional for hands on play. Once again, a quick search pulled up a full first page from the US, the UK, and Australia right away!

On a final note, remember that sex is not only a form of recreation, it’s the foundation to life, and an excellent tool for self discovery. Whatever your path be at the moment, be good to yourself and those around you. Self care comes in many packages. When you take care of your sexual health, you will be a happier person and a sexier person too.

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Searching For Love: Three Ways to Find a Kinky Partner

Several years ago, I was dining with an acquaintance who was a therapist. Chatting casually with mutual interest, midway through the meal she puts down her fork and looks at me from across the table and asks “do you think if we lived in another world, your work would not exist”? Now, assuming she meant a world of sexual happiness and fulfillment, I looked her square in the eye and responded, “no, but neither would yours”. This is not to say that sex educators and dominatrices are therapists, (although we offer therapeutic work), but that we do NOT live in a society without neurosis, hence relationship problems and general societal malaise. That’s why there are service providers who can assist our relationship needs in every sense of the word.

I’ve always said that people in kinky or  BDSM relationships are not really different from “vanilla” or “mainstream” folk in that they still must find ways of communicating to their partners their wants, needs, and desires. In a word, they have to have strong relationship skills. Of course, it could, and has been argued, that people who practice BDSM tend to have healthier relationships,http://www.livescience.com/34832-bdsm-healthy-psychology.html, and I would suggest it is because they tend to be more honest and transparent with their partners, which alleviates a lot of guilt, shame, and general bullshit that muddles connection. 

Half the battle in finding a partner who you can communicate with easily though may take some leg work. Through eliminating the possibility of guilt or shame around your desires by being with someone who is already on the same page as you, or at the very least open minded and interested in kink, you create more space for parity in relationship. Assuming you are “out” about your proclivities and hope to find a partner, how do you go about doing it? 

Here are a few ways you can go about finding a kinky partner in life and love:

Dating Sites. There are now many sites that exist solely to help you find your mate! How to choose? One great site that carries a wealth of information and also has many forums for discussions and meetings around kink is http://www.fetlife.com. Like Facebook, you set up a profile etc. unlike facebook, you can remain completely private while doing so. Sweet! There are also sites out there specifically geared towards dating where you can choose the type of person, education level, location, kink interests and in most cases, even the physique. Finding a Dominant Woman, for example, you might go here: http://xxxsexguides.com/mistress-dominatrix/. Or looking for a D/s specific relationship? Try http://www.collarspace.com/bdsm/m/1/default.htm. Of course there seems to be something for everyone out there. Look what popped up when I simply googled “foot fetish dating”https://www.google.com/search?q=foot+fetish+dating&oq=foot+fetish+dating&aqs=chrome..69i57.6230j1j4&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=119&ie=UTF-8. Dating is not easy. Let some of these sites do half the work for you!

Munches and Meet Ups. Hey, what about walking away from your computer and meeting people live and in person? On the fetlife.com website listed above you can not only find discussion groups but also find a plethora of groups/munches meetings where people interested in kink/bdsm have a nosh in a public and non threatening environment, (ehem, like a restaurant), and they meet live. I just did a quick search in Omaha Nebraska and found two, better than nothing! And the social sitehttp://www.meetup.com also has many offerings for people of similar interests wanting to meet up. Bigger cities have more options. I just did a quick search on kink in Idabel, OK and nothing came up, but the good news is you can create your own. Afraid of being outed? Try putting in something less obvious like sexuality or sexual education or even alternative relationships. Who knows what might happen! 

Consult a professional. In my work, I’ve had many clients come to me discouraged around finding a partner with whom they can be open sexually, and in working with me, they have eventually made their fantasies reality! See http://bondassage.com/fairy-tales-can-come-true-by-eve-minax/  for more on that. Kinky dating does not have to be a struggle. I can help you from the start of the process (online dating to meet ups to partnering and how to discuss and make play happen in relationship) through other intricacies like polyamory, children, etc. I also have a vast array of colleagues I can refer you to. Check out my website http://www.eveminax.com or http://www.mistressminax.com or google in your area for an amazing professional who is willing, able, and skillful at helping you find a kinky partner. 

I’d say Good Luck! but you won’t need it if you do the right thing in making it all happen. how about Happy Hunting?

xoEve

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Folsom Flavors and More…

 Originally published at eveminax.com on September 19, 2014

Welcome to Leather Week here in San Francisco! The attached image is me with a “friend” at Folsom Street Fair 2010. So much going on this week: leather history with Cleo Dubois and Fakir Musafar, a talk on the history of the Folsom Street Fair with the inimitable Gayle Rubin, parties galore…

and the list of events go on, including:

Lock and Load: From Tie and Tease to Chastity Please! at bond.com through kink.com and the Armory this Saturday September 20th and it’s Sold out! Come check out the festivities anyhow. It should be stimulating;)

Next on the agenda, we have a couple of spots left in the next Women’s Erotic Dominance Intensive. It will be the last one this year, so if you’ve been on the fence about taking it, now’s the time. Go here for more info: http://www.sm-arts.com/wp/weekend-intensives-2/erotic-dominance-intensive-for-women-45/

Save the Date: Tuesday October 21st at the SF Citadel the premiere of “Making Messes of Men in Dresses! Feminization for Fun, Frolic, and the Future”. As some of you may know, I take “feminization, cross-dressing, gender play, etc” very seriously and I have an amazing time doing it. I hope you’ll join me in this bound to be fabulous frenzy of feminization!

Finally, I am super proud and happy to announce the opening of “Eve’s Rumpus Room and Sensual Parlor” at a private location in the Potrero Hill are of San Francisco. Not only am I conducting private sessions, I am also offering it as a Erotic Sleepover Spot and hourly play space. Here is a rough first listing on airbnb. I also have it listed on Fetlife (I’m Minax there), but please feel free to inquire directly for more information.

In love and kink,

Eve

Sex Positive Labor

The Fruits of Our Sex Positive Labor

Teaching is fantastically underrated and yet it never fails to give me a sense of accomplishment. One of my intrinsic core values is knowledge, (both sides, teaching and learning), hence, I am a long time advocate of sharing and exchanging knowledge. Secrets (around knowledge) do not intrigue me as I know we cannot know all, so telling all will only unveil more. It seems that as soon as I think I know everything, other aspects will develop. Hence, my unending quest for knowledge. Knowledge does not emerge in a vacuum however, it is developed over time and experience and with others. Today, I am going to speak to the power of knowledge, collaboration, and laboring on what you love.

I’ve been presenting on BDSM for almost 15 years and have some pretty wild stories to tell, but some of the most meaningful stories come from working with others. My primary and initial collaboration is with Cléo DuBois assisting the Academy of SM-Arts as a long term instructor on kink and bdsm, with a particular focus on Sensual SM, D/s dynamics, Role Playing, and Feminization, (these are a few of my favorite things:). The gratitude I feel when working with the students and the amazing volunteers we have over the years is immeasurable. These weekend long Intensives are life changing experiences, no doubt about it. I learn something new every time. And being able to call Cléo a friend and colleague all these many years is a blessing and a terrific indicator of the power of collaboration.

I’m not so lucky in some ways, but when  it comes to the gift of collaboration and sex positivity I’m super lucky! Over time and magical connections,  I’ve also had the fortune of working with our one and only Urban Tantrika, Barbara Carellas , tossing ideas with the glorious Sex Positive Artist, (who dubbed me a Pleasure Artist), Ms Annie Sprinkle, feeling supported by the invincible Carol Queen, and having hilarious fun with the inimitable Alice from Alice In Bondageland. Of course, there have been so many others over the years, (apologies if not named here), and my deepest appreciation is with you all.

The amazing Jaeleen Bennis, my friend and colleague, (do you see a pattern here? lol),  suggested we collaborate on a series of Master Classes for both Bondassage and Elysium. She and I have been in cohoots for over six years and it has always been pleasant and profitable, including our  book baby Of course, the Master Class collaborative work began months ago, and the manifestation of those efforts proved worthwhile. The class was a blast! Of all my work, besides clients, I really love working with colleagues, fellow professionals, you know, “sisters” in the work. We don’t need to discuss morality or other rhetorical games, we simply get to exchange that precious knowledge and sink into the comfort of each other for awhile, knowing that we can simply “be”.

It was a day long seminar, but it flew by in no time. First we started with protocol procedures…what can you do differently with each recipient of your touch? How do you decide? Since we are dealing with individuals and not cookies, we get to design our approaches according to needs and desires. Speaking of which, I rarely feel competitive as I think we all have somebody who will appreciate our artistry for our unique print upon it. That’s why having a template of Bondassage is so useful. Like Julie Andrews said “Some people regard discipline as a chore. For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.” Bondassage offers the discipline of the approach, the structure of the content, and then the practitioner gets to create her own scene. What glory!

As professionals, we get the chance to create the electrical energy rushes that exhilarate and liberate, and each of us brings our own special talents. The practitioners in this seminar (and all classes I have taught with them) had all kinds of wonderful tricks up their sleeves: nifty restraint, specialized body slides, edging techniques, fun toys and more esoteric wonders, we shared and played and laughed and worked. And back to Jaeleen, can I just say that some of her tips and tricks astound me? So simple, so practical, and yet in my 15 years, I’ve not thought of them. I use several regularly, just ask!

So, as we move into a day of tribute to “American’s Workers” , I’d like to express deep gratitude for my fellow practitioners in all fields  of sexuality and of course the special clientele who help support our work. Thank you so much. Let’s keep up the work and understand our own value, even if society does not sometimes.

Happy Labor Day!

labor_day

 

HelmutNewton

Playing With Power: Dominance and Submission

Consensual Dominance and submission in relationships reflect an intentional acknowledgement and exploration of intrinsic power dynamics in an erotic fashion. These relationships draw upon the nature of the relationship, (the “bossier” person, more educated, older etc tend to traditionally be the “dominant”), to play with the already established power exchange. Conversely, some of these relationships have been “forced” on us through the years, eg … parents, bosses, etc that may have left an erotic print on our psyche that we wish to examine. By accepting and developing a D/s dynamic in relation to another, we can often heal and grow in ways that astound. The reason I am drawn to D/s as a Dominant is that I wish to mend some of the power imbalances I have endured over the years. I am also infinitely curious how relationships work and have a great desire to see them grow and develop into deeper awareness and closer intimacy.

The most important aspect to D/s training for both parties is to know yourself, your wants and your needs, and to be able to articulate those wants and needs in a thoughtful and thorough fashion. We cannot fully know ourselves at any given time however, so it also encourages compassion for yourself and your partner. You are human, you will err. There are many avenues to self-exploration and understanding and not any one of them is the only way. Ideally when our paths cross we can begin to understand how each of us have gotten there and have the wherewithal to follow through the relationship in a meaningful way. I would also suggest an ability to accept the type of relationship for “what it is” instead of trying to make it something it is not. A D/s component exists in all of our relationships, and when we develop that aspect of our dynamic then can we weave a thread of erotic power play.

 

As far as D/s training goes, I had to come to terms with the fact that I am a dominant person who enjoys and appreciates rigorous self exploration, consequently I attract submissives who also value self exploration and wish to defer to a more experienced person. What I have determined over the years since I began practicing serious D/s training is that I am a tenacious, yet flexible dominant. I have very specific ways that I like things done, but I cannot and will not reprimand irresponsibly. Two of the main ingredients to a good submissive for me are flexibility and humor. This is not to say that they should be a flake and a smart-ass, but that they can accommodate my mercurial ways with a sense of dignity and charm.

 

Although difficult, if I were to try to break down what makes a good D/s relationship work it would look something like this:

 

 

 * Communication. An ability of each participant to articulate their wants and needs and ability of each participant to negotiate their wants, (needs are less negotiable) are imperative to healthy relationships in all forms.

 

* Commitment. Energy and enthusiasm can wane in a relationship, but desire to participate in the relationship should always be intact – even if it is simply being questioned. It is perfectly healthy to question many facets of the relationship, but if the desire to be in the relationship is gone, then other facets arise. Be mindful.

 

*  Compassion for yourself and the other. Be kind to yourself, even when you make mistakes. Further, even if you are the dominant it does not mean that the submissive has no right to their feelings and emotions. Be kind to them also.

 

*  Service. The Dominant should be in service to the higher power of the relationship as much as the submissive is in service to the Dominant. Service ideally is the erotic glue to D/s. How can you serve and be aroused by service?

 

*  Flexibility. Each party should be able to move for the other. The most obvious understatement to this may be that the submissive will probably defer more often than the Dominant. Give each other enough space to work out individual quirks, but not too much that you no longer have any commonalities. Breathe into the change that will surely emerge.

*  Trust. How much do you trust that the other has your well being in mind first and foremost? How much do you trust yourself?

 *  Be honest. To what extent can you be honest with yourself, your beauty, power, and grandeur, with all of its foibles, imperfections and inconsistencies? D/s is all about being able to be truthful relaying your truth in a thoughtful and thorough fashion and subsequently being able to listen to your partner.

To sum it all up in the words of a former student at the Cleo Dubois Academy of S/M Arts  “find out what your partner wants and give it to them.” And of course, let them know honestly when you can’t.

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What Does a Dominatrix Look Like to You? by Eve Minax

“Come to the edge, he said. They said: We are afraid. Come to the edge, he said. They came. He pushed them and they flew.” 

Guillaume Apollinaire

One of my Sisyphean challenges in life is to demystify the myth of the Dominatrix – to fill out the missing gaps and one-dimensional characteristics that permeate our culture. The unique histories of Dominatrices inform their brave work and pioneering spirit. If you could look closely, (where are the stats anyway?), you would see an illustrious array of talent, skills, philosophies, and courage.
Like many other professionals I know, I too, have a unique history. Raised urban poor, I went on to obtain the first High School degree, and eventually a Master’s, in my family. Literary and theatrical studies combined with extensive pedagogical experience continue to inform my work as a BDSM lecturer, educator, and writer. Years before I would begin to fully understand my own leanings towards Female Domination and BDSM practices, I wrote my graduate thesis on “Subversive Practices in Feminist Performance Art”. Further, like many of my colleagues, I may not fit the stereotype of the Hollywood-produced leather cat suit clad man-eating vixen, but I have practiced the art of Domination with intention and commitment for many years.
The media stereotype of the Dominatrix is rather one-dimensional. The infiltration of SM culture into mainstream society leans primarily towards the fetishistic and aesthetic aspects of BDSM culture, avoiding any deeper underlying issues to the person and her work. In “real” life, Dominatrices are generally stunning; though not always mainstream beauties. We often stand out in a crowd because we tend to be individualistic, living life to the fullest and more often than not standing out as a leader – the one to take control in any number of ways. 
I’d love to see more research done that would illuminate the complexity of a profession that has been misrepresented and misunderstood societally. Like within most professions, a spectrum of representation exists, eg, not all lawyers are bad and not all police officers are good. The Dominatrix also has many layers to her persona, and I have been pondering the many variations exist for some time. 
Here is a partial list of some of the different types of Dominatrices, with basic names that I came up with off the top of my head, many of which can overlap with each other, and others that never mix.
The Domestic Disciplinarian: Could be your Aunty or Woman next door, until she puts you over her knee.
The Medical Specialist: Plays Doctor or Nurse to perfection.
The Rubber Mistress: Has all the rubber clothes and gear you could possible imagine.
The Goddess: Demands worship.
The Fetishist: Fetish is her motivator.
The Bondage Mistress/Top: Loves rope and knows how to use it.
The Whip Mistress: Whip wielding from single tail to cat o’ nine.
The Predator: Hunts you down and take you down.
The Philosopher: Keeps you in line with her words and ethics.
The Classic: Domestic Disciplinarian, Whip Wielder, Bondage Expert and more! The General Practitioner, (also with specialties) of Dominatrices.
The Good Girl Gone Bad: Looks angelic or like the girl next door.
The Seductress: Casts her spell to entice you.
The Counselor/Guide: Takes you where you need to go. 
The Emasculator: Wants your balls, you don’t need them.
Of course, this list is not exhaustive and as I began noting all the variations I realized that not only are there so many types, but that many of us embody any number of Strong Female Authoritarian Archetypes within our Dominatrix Personas which we invoke when appropriate to the scene: Queen, Priestess, Warrior, and Mother to name a few. Just because a Dominatrix self-presents in one archetypal role does not mean she cannot employ another type when necessary however, the Bondage Mistress can care for her bound subject in a very Maternal or Motherly way and once the Predator has captured her prey, she can employ the Goddess to finalize her objectives. Conversely, it would be quite useless for the Whip Mistress to whip the Domestic Discipline client as a Medical Specialist while wearing a black rubber cat suit. Not only do the genres not go together, but the Domestic Discipline aficionado’s needs will not be met and no catharsis would ensue leaving the session flat and ineffectual. 
I have often said that Dominatrices are Psychic Waste Managers, encouraging people to excavate parts of themselves that society deeply discourages: the primal sexual selves. If the libido is not allowed to emerge in a positive creative way, it can be destructive. I also say that the sacred and lascivious are flip sides of the same coin. Knowing who you are as a Dominatrix and how to go about employing different aspects of your self in the work helps achieve therapeutic results with your clientele. There is an old adage to the profession, we may not be therapists, but the work is therapeutic. Knowing oneself in Domination is particularly crucial because of the nature of psychosexual work. Libidinal drives inform our every movement, hence the work itself elicits the question of what drives us sexually. Personally, although I love whipping, I do not consider myself a whip Mistress. When I see my esteemed Whip Mistress colleagues doing the dance of fire and precision, I am truly humbled by their abilities. Would I desire to be them? Yes, but honestly, I must honor my primary arousal in order to be a better Dominant. I suppose I am an Archeologist of BDSM. I love exploring and excavating psychosexual terrain, and the whips and other accoutrements are simply tools that help me unearth buried artifacts.
In examining difference, we must also examine similarity. We Dominatrices all have sadistic streaks, or at the very least enjoy giving pleasure – and if a masochist seeks pain for their pleasure, we are happy to accommodate. We also, ideally, have hard skills in Domination, be they rope rigging, electro-play, or whip wielding.  Often motivated by deep fetishistic desires, we all care about our clientele in a professional fashion. Dominatrices have many similarities but perhaps only one commonality: whatever the archetype or role that we play, we need to push our subjects and ourselves a little deeper into the dark so that we all may extend our psychosexual travels a little further, returning each time with a bit more knowledge and a lot more savvy.