Stephen Elliott Should be Seen and Heard – Part 1

Stephen Elliott Should be Seen and Heard – Part 1

Eve Minax interviews Stephen Elliott in a way that no one else can. Rather than simply talking about Elliott’s writing and kink, Minax leads us on an exploration of his desires and fantasies. Elliott’s fascination with kink is well known, but this interview presents for the first time the genuine nurturing and loving aspects of his particular brand of kink. Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books, including the just-released The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder , for which he is currently on a book tour. His writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and 2007, Best American Erotica, Best Sex Writing 2006, and here on CarnalNation. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and is a member of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rumpus.

Stephen Elliott Should Be Seen and Heard – Part 2

Stephen Elliott Should Be Seen and Heard – Part 2

Friday, September 25, 2009 – 1:31pm By By: Eve Minax,

Eve Minax interviews Stephen Elliott in a way that no one else can. Rather than simply talking about Elliott’s writing and kink, Minax leads us on an exploration of his desires and fantasies. Elliott’s fascination with kink is well known, but this interview presents for the first time the genuine nurturing and loving aspects of his particular brand of kink. Stephen Elliott is the author of seven books, including the just-released The Adderall Diaries: A Memoir of Moods, Masochism, and Murder , for which he is currently on a book tour. His writing has been featured in Esquire, The New York Times, GQ, Best American Non-Required Reading 2005 and 2007, Best American Erotica, Best Sex Writing 2006, and here on CarnalNation. He was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and is a member of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. He is the Editor-in-Chief of The Rumpus.

Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell

Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell

 

People like questioning others’ activities, especially if they can take the higher moral ground in their conclusion. I was recently ruminating with a friend on how the topic of whether professional Dominants (aka Dominatrices) ever have sex with their clients is a “pink elephant in the room.” Amongst professionals (confidentially), some do and some don’t. However, amongst the less sexually savvy, there is a widespread belief (a blatant fallacy) that most Dominants do have sex with their clients. In fact, many lifestyle female Dominants consider themselves “stone,” preferring not ever to have “sex” (see below) with their submissives or bottoms. In the professional world, it’s more of a question as to whether you consider yourself a sex worker or doing sex work—even if you do not have “sex” with a client.  Clearly this argument begs the question as to what actually constitutes sex before one can begin to discuss whether a Dominant of either a personal or professional persuasion even has it.

Any woman who does what she wants when and how she wants it and gets her needs met is a Dominant.

I place the shackles on my submissive’s ankles, insuring that they are heavy, tight, and secure. Eyes cast down, wondering what’s to come, my little precious is sweating lightly. I take a leather-gloved hand and caress the body gently, taking special care to linger in the groin area. Arms bound behind the back, I hold them there from the rear with my left hand as I take my right hand and begin tracing the lines of the mouth. My sub opens the mouth, and I enter it slowly, feeling around between gum line and lips, pushing past the teeth. I forge ahead seeking the uvula, swishing it back and forth with my forefinger. My little sweet begins to gag slightly, and I smile. “Careful sweetheart, don’t choke, relax and open up the back of your throat.” The eyes are tearing up now, crocodile tears that I lean in to lick slowly from the cheeks as I place a second finger on the back of the tongue and gently press. My crotch pushes into the ass of my subject who groans as I grind. Two, three, six shudders, throat opening up, ass and groin pushing and pulling. I pull out while pushing forward, my little precious on the ground, the floor shiny and wet between the legs, both hearts racing, breathing imperceptibly as one. Is this sex?

I argue emphatically that it is. Any authentic erotic encounter that I have had—and I have had too many to mention—have encompassed that feeling of mutuality and oneness that sometimes, but not always, ensues with traditional male/female penile/vaginal intercourse, commonly called “sex.”

I used to shun the idea of having had sex after I had experienced spiritual/sexual exchanges. I remember once many years ago when a friend of mine made an offhand comment about the amount of “sex” I had; horrified, I sat back and said, “I don’t have that much sex!” In my mind, the sex was all about the connection, the rest of it was topping, helping out a friend in need, teaching someone the ropes, but not sex! I’ve revised my definition a little bit, but in all reality, my friend lumped everything I do into sex because ANY kind of sexually gratifying touch in her mind, was sex.

No wonder so many mainstream people think Dominatrices have “sex” with their clients, which is a pity. The current, and in fact age-old, pink elephant question is really IF Dominants can have the classic definition of sex with their submissives, or, in the case of professionals, with their clients. Once again, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, yes, they can. My definition of a Dominant woman may vary from the mainstream in that it is not as pigeon holed as the rest, but encompasses instead the bigger picture, which is: any woman who does what she wants when and how she wants it and gets her needs met is a dominant—even if she has classic sex and even if she’s paid for it.

The topic of sex, what it is, what it means, and how people do it still remain a formidable query. Suffice it to say that in the meantime, I am comfortable and happy saying that I have lots and lots of sex, which is by far more meaningful and salacious than any classic penile/vaginal missionary position. On the other hand, as a dear friend of mine and I always espouse, “Sometimes vanilla is my kink!” Case closed.

Annie Sprinkled Love Here

Annie Sprinkled Love Here

 
 

Recently, I invited Annie Sprinkle, one of the pioneers of feminist performance art into my parlor to update CarnalNation viewers on Sprinkle’s projects and passions. Annie Sprinkle has been courageously documenting her sexuality for almost thirty years. She has worked twenty-plus years in both prostitution and pornography, and has been dedicated passionately to teaching and learning about sexuality throughout all of it. For the last five years she and her partner Beth Stephens have documented their relationship in a massive performance art project called the Love Art Laboratory.  This video reminds viewers of both the incredible work she has done in the past, and the work she continues to do both independently and in collaborations.

Erotic Equine Play: A Review of ‘Born in a Barn’

Erotic Equine Play: A Review of ‘Born in a Barn’

A horse is a horse is a horse, of course, unless that horse is…

A human? When my editor asked me to review Born in a Barn, the somewhat overlooked but stellar documentary representing a small segment of the Human Equine or Pony Play community I was thrilled. You see, I have a passion for role play, and animal play is a particular pleasure. In fact, I have ridden one of the subjects of Born in a Barn, Trigger; have taught numerous classes on animal play; and am presenting a new class in 2010 called “Straight From the Horse’s Ass: Veterinary Play for Human Animals.” In a word, what may seem silly to some people can evoke intense emotions and self awareness in others. I feel as though director Elizabeth Elson and editor Samra Smith captured the beauty—and the “humanity,” if you will—of human pony play in this film, and it deserves another look.

Produced in 2004, Born in a Barn features the lives of three human ponies in the Maryland area: an unowned horse named “Trigger,” an owned horse named “Goody,” and finally, an unowned and new-to-play horsie girl named Michelle—possibly soon to be named “Mischief.” The film interweaves their lives in classic triptych fashion, opening with an Equine gathering where they are introduced to us, followed by snippets of their daily lives throughout the rest of the film. Samra Smith’s editing skills are tight, controlled, and innovative. The intro is snappy and fresh and draws the audience in with bizarrely Fellini-a esque music overlaying simple images of a tail wagging or hand caressing the head of the horse interspersed with our gang preparing themselves and getting themselves off to the gathering.

In fact, the entire film is rather sweet, savoring little moments of love and longing more than presenting these people as the freak shows they may appear to some. On the other hand, I would not say the filmmakers are particularly adoring or sentimental—they basically let these people speak for themselves. Although a documentary, Born in a Barn does not have the clunkiness of some docus that insist on speaking over the camera to ask banal questions to the subjects; instead, it opts to have them speak, and yes, show, who they are, what they are doing, and why. Additionally, although there are many more Equine players throughout the world who deserve recognition, (locally Madame Wilcox and Empress Rhea come to mind), I am pleased that the filmmakers decided to take a closer look at real-time players instead of focusing on the fetishistic/voyeuristic people who “model” equestrian play, but do not necessarily live it.

Speaking of living it, Born in a Barn offers a little taste of the depth of intensity that transpires for each of the subjects. Trigger’s obvious loneliness and desire to be owned is palpable, (good news though: last I heard he was actually owned full time), and the moments of him gazing longingly at the owned ponies being trained is touching without being sappy. The dream sequence the filmmaker offers Trigger is a beautiful realized filmic fantasy. Further, the loving interaction between Goody and Andrea appears genuinely warm. The closing sequence where he is leading her carriage up the boardwalk is remarkable. One can almost imagine banners and confetti cascading around them wherein love, joy, and bizarreness abounds.  Further, Michelle’s training session with Emily Reed is nothing short of brilliant, even if it is simple. Her unexpected pleasure when she learns how one could fantasize about being owned full time is an epiphany to be shared. Finally, when Michelle realizes that her larger body is actually an asset in the human equine world because she will have the strength to train better and harder, we are firmly placed into a post-feminist, pro-sex moment. Women can have larger bodies and seek out their own desires, hooray!

No film goes without criticism however, and Born in a Barn is no exception. The main question that I felt was only marginally addressed, was how deep some folks might go with erotic animal play. As a woman who unabashedly enjoys kinkier types of play as much as I do general animal play, I wanted questions of “faux bestiality” (does the “stallion” ever mount the Mistress?) and even real bestiality to be addressed. Trigger mentions offhandedly that some people find pony play erotic and need that form of play to have sexual interactions, but he seems a bit dismissive. Andrea and Goody are clear that it is a form of “foreplay,” but they never get into details, such as whether he plays the stud or she the vet coming in for a rectal. In fact, they make it sound like pony play is simply foreplay for very human sex, which is fine, but this could be discussed more clearly by the participants in the film. Perhaps Elson did not wish to make such a taboo topic (to the mainstream) any more marginalized, but for those of us with experience, it would’ve been a nice change of pace.

Regardless of the cursory look at the more erotic aspects of pony play, I found the film warm, funny, and sincere—in a word, an entertaining documentary. Pony play may not be to your taste, but if you’ve ever wondered how or why people do some of the things they do in this world, Born in a Barn is a fine example of pleasant and informative documentation that definitely deserves a gander, and I don’t mean goose.

Born In A Barn
Director: Elizabeth Elson
Editor: Samra Smith
Runtime: 50:16

Long Live the Queen, Part I

Long Live the Queen, Part I

Will Smith has said on numerous occasions that he is completely devoted to his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith (with whom he has two children—the eldest boy named Jaden after mommy, not daddy). He has also stated, “If Mama’s not happy, nobody’s happy.” This is the truth of the matter. If the Mistress of the house is not happy, rest assured, no one will be happy. What are you doing to make Her life more pleasant and comfortable so that She may in turn have more attention for you?

Now, I want to make Myself clear: submission/service is like devotion to anything else, be it religion, meditation, competitive sports,  or art: You do not do it to reap the benefits (i.e., if I meditate on money every day, I will become rich). You do it because it makes you a better person, makes everyone around you better people, and consequently, makes the world a better place to inhabit (I meditate every day to harmonize myself with those around me). If the end result is that you become rich, that’s a bonus.

As a lifestyle and professional Dominant, I have many people who come to Me to “serve Me.” Like celebrities, I must weed through the riffraff to find the authentic ones who truly wish to serve the three dimensional Me, not just the leather-clad catsuit in thigh-high boots. In terms of Female-Led Relationships, if you ensure that the big M is happy, life will be more pleasant overall. Subsequently, you may or may not receive the abundant blessings of the Goddess, (whether that be Her golden nectar, queening, or whatever your desire may be), but you do not do it to receive something in return. If you do, you are being disingenuous, and the relationship will not work. I always tell My submissives that they should not expect anything from Me in return for their service, that the erotic charge should be from serving Me how I wish to be served (e.g., quite simply cleaning the bathroom until it’s spotless). Submissives of this nature are truly gifted, talented, and are a rare species in a world that expects and demands tit for tat (pun intended).

On another note, those who truly relish My company, companionship, sense of humor, fashion savvy, etc…will find themselves in My company more often than those who are waiting for payback. The ones around Me are the ones I want. It is a mutual relationship of desire. I enjoy being the Queen, but not the puppet. By the same token, I do not seek out puppets either, rather mature adults who wish to give their power over to a strong beautiful Woman. In these relationships, we grow; the Queen has room to reign. The adult babies, pets, slaves, and more have room to emerge and develop in safe and welcoming environments that will also correct them for ”bad behavior.” But constant correction can be tiresome. Consider what you are doing to make Her corrections less like work, so you have more room for play.

Here is a tip for making Mistress happy. Instead of sitting around wondering why the Mistress of the house seems a little tense, do something that She would appreciate. Honoring Her by doing what She wants, when and how She wants it, is the way to go. Remember, not all women want flowers and candy. Full body massages, long hot, well-scented baths, weekend getaways, and more will put the Goddess in the mood for more interesting activities like queening, spanking, foot worship, and more.

As a Female Dominant who has been actively practicing for over ten years, I can honestly say that plying Me with red roses, overpriced cheap wine, or anything cheap for that matter (cheaply made, not simply bought…a homemade dinner of my preferred foods, well-designed pieces, or anything with heart and thought is superior to store-bought cheap and chintzy throwaway material goods) does not work. A relaxing bath, good wine, and a full-body massage will most definitely work. Keeping the Mistress of the house happy will make everyone happy.

Next time you are bemoaning the fact that your beloved Queen is not paying you any mind, look at yourself and your actions. Are you doing for Her what She wishes (e.g., taking out the recycling) and not what you desire from Her (e.g., like a boy buying his mother a baseball mitt—puhlease!). I’ve had many a client say to Me that he would do more for his beloved if only, She “wanted it” (Do they ask? Not often), or if She hadn’t gained those 20 lbs post birth (huh?), or if only She understood his kink (have you tried and if so, how?). I could write an essay on any number of these topics given that each of them begs the question of authentic submission and the relinquishing of power to the Woman. Finally, I would have you determine that this is what She wants also. Venus in Furs is a sad story in that Wanda Von Sacher-Masoch had little desire to be put in the position She was in, yet love for Her husband kept Her trying until he tossed Her aside after determining Her no longer worthy.

Submissives, I beseech you to ask yourselves today, have you metaphorically tossed your Maiden to the wayside in seeking out other Female Dominants or are you taking what you learn from Female Dominance and utilizing that to further develop a harmonious relationship with your Beloved? I am no monogamist, but I do find that serving more than one Mistress is a hard path to follow, if this is the path you’ve chosen, I recommend you tread lightly and watch your footing.

Cleo Dubois and the Academy of SM Arts

 

Cleo Dubois and the Academy of SM Arts

From the privacy of her dungeon or office, Cleo Dubois offers consultations to a wide range of individuals and couples of all genders and sexual orientations. She provides a gentle initiation to kink for the curious and inexperienced as well as guided play for adventurous, experienced couples. Through her Academy of SM Arts, Cleo and her colleagues Eve Minax and Selina Raven train Dominant Men and Women and those who Switch in the art of Erotic Energy/Power Exchange during weekend intensives held at the Citadel in San Francisco. Upcoming events include the Erotic Dominance Weekend Intensive for Women: Tops & Switches May 1-2 and the Erotic Dominance Weekend Intensive for Men: Tops & Switches September 11-12. From Flogging Salons at Femina Potens to a “Spirit + Flesh” Hook-Pull RItuals with her partner Fakir, you will find this Grande Dame intense, fiery, and dedicated to living life to its fullest!

Meet Cleo online at www.sm-arts.com, where you can enjoy some hot clips from her films, the award-winning The Pain Game and Tie Me Up, which are also available for purchase together as The SM Collection. In this exclusive interview with Eve Minax for CarnalNation, Cleo discusses the history and diverse range of her personal and professional experiences.

In Defense of Food Play

In Defense of Food Play
by Eve Minax, April 29th, 2010 at 1:28pm

Food…mmm, yummy, delicious food. Like sex, food is the source of life, consequently why shouldn’t it be the source of sex? As you may know, I am an amateur chef, a gourmande, a hedonist, an epicurean, if you will, and food play lets me take my passion to a whole new level of sensual delights! Food play can run the gamut from sensual dinners—one of my recent endeavors is to make sexcipes: delicious grain-, dairy-, and sugar-free meals to be shared before, during, or after play—to force feeding a person all their least favorite foods as an act of surrender.

One of my basic ways of enjoying food play is taking my bound subject and sensually but forcefully feeding them their favorite or least favorite food. How I go about feeding is determined by my subject’s propensities and my desires. If they are a gentle lamb seeking guidance and love, then I engage in sensual play with bondage, sensory deprivation, and perhaps delicious items like chocolate and strawberries. Recently I trussed up my little angel while the pork chops were cooking and, once they were completely bound and snug in the sling, I penetrated my slut with my cock while feeding their mouth pork chops, sweet potatoes, apples, and almonds. Delicious! Of course, allergies and what-have-you are a definite concern. I’m reminded here of a really hot “red” scene where everything I used was red. I made my subject eat a gallon-sized can of beets, rubbing the blood-looking juice all over the body while the subject slowly chewed and swallowed and ate it all for me, only to find out later they normally detested beets. Although it was a huge turn-on for both of us and no one got hurt, it was also a little reminder to check in on allergies ahead of time, just in case.

If my plaything is a bratty masochist and needs to be forced to do things, then I force their least favorite foods in an aggressive fashion! This can be done with aggression and cruelty or as an act of humiliation. One of my favorite food stories ever is when I had my sub in a sling, bound and helpless for my amusement, slowly feeding him food remnants from my garbage. As the scene slowly progressed, his erection grew, and so did my excitement and revulsion. Just as I felt the uncontrollable urge to vomit all over him, he spontaneously ejaculated in a crescendo of ecstasy without even touching his genitalia. It was a rare manifestation of that tenuous line between disgust and turn-on, and an entirely unexpected Roman Shower. It may be hard to believe, but it was magical!

On a somewhat lighter note, food play can be super hot when combined with embarrassment play or age play. Smashing a cream pie lovingly on an adoring face and then (for example) requiring them to dance like a chicken while masturbating with the cream for Mistress’s amusement is a perfect way of combining entertainment with food and sex! Alternately, the act of feeding one’s “baby” can manifest feelings of maternal love and primal nurturing. Of course the embarrassing flip side of that is to feed the adult like a baby because they act like a baby. The embarrassment of being treated like a child can be a great turn-on for both parties, leading to some really kinky semi-incestuous sex.

Finally, sploshing! Perhaps you’ve seen Anne Margaret covered in chocolate and baked beans in the rock musical Tommy? Sploshing is the innocent but somewhat bizarre and intense act of covering your subject with layers of gooey foods like honey, chocolate sauces, whipped cream, syrups, and marshmallow fluff. I love the feeling of the mess as it is squished all over my subject. I myself have sploshed on many occasions; the look and feel of chocolate sauce or honey all over the body is divine. Layering different colors and textures can be quite beautiful and provocative. My friend Master Rick likes to be more sadistic with sploshing, using mustard and tomato sauce because of the smell and the sting. Usually there is no overt sexual action in sploshing, leaving it as a fetishistic foreplay (although some people do take it a step further).

Of course sploshing could lead us to actual sexual activities with foods, but I think I’ll leave that to your imagination. Pity you missed my recent class at Femina Potens, where we inserted veggies and sploshed a virgin! Look for more sexcipes to come. Bon Appetit!

It’s a Pleasure Doing Business

It’s a Pleasure Doing Business

Slide photo by Morgan Sherwood The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
—Arnold J. Toynbee

Recently I have been receiving an inordinate amount of mail pertaining to one particular subject, the release of Melissa Febos’ work, Whip Smart: Memoirs of a Dominatrix, which has made several people close to me somewhat excited; oh the possibility of us lifestyle and professional kinksters being seen in a multi-faceted, complex fashion! Gone are the days of catsuit-clad whip-wielding dominas who stroll through the night seeking their prey. Oh wait, never mind. The “dominatrix” in Febos’ work is not even predatory, she’s a waitress, taking orders from her customers, and being a victim to her job and not even close to a feminist.

Now honestly, I have not yet read Febos’ work, but I did listen to her interview on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross and to her benefit, Terry Gross asked some pretty lame questions and Febos tried to be fair and complex. Nonetheless, she still allowed herself to be labeled a “professional” because she wrote a book about personal experience. Please. I can personally name more professional dominants with triple her experience who are active feminists, but have yet to write a book, so they are not out as experts.

People often say to me, “Oh, I have/had a friend who is/was a dominatrix!” It’s almost as if it’s become the new college job, like working in restaurants. I worked in restaurants for 10+ years during high school and college, but I do not profess to be a restauranteur. In fact, I’m not sure I would feel comfortable saying I was a professional waiter. Yes, I was good and yes, I did it for a long time, but I never did it with the intention of it being who I am and what I am doing. It was a means to an end. Like I did with waitressing, Melissa Febos used her ‘job” as a “dominatrix” just like anyone else uses their job: as a means to an end. And she found it. She teaches writing and has published a book on her life, something some of us have been trying to do for years. So kudos to her! Honestly, I am pleased when anyone can express her art these days. I just wish the stereotypes were less standard and the meaty stories of determined women with grit, gusto, and girth who actually dominate because they actually enjoy it were more accessible.

It also saddens me to think that Febos thinks that domination, at least for her, was all about being paid to play, that she derived little satisfaction out of the work and that it reified misogyny. I remember when I first started out, thinking how good I would be at Erotic Domination (hate that term, by the way; why not Psychic Waste Management?), if only I had better equipment, facilities, and colleagues to practice with. I even searched for a mentor. I must admit I was quickly disheartened as I went to each commercial space and found some machismo dude sitting behind a desk who treated me like a number, worse than I had ever been treated in any restaurant work, and I worked at a Denny’s! After the fourth interview—and there were only four commercial spaces in town—I said, “Screw it. I’d rather flip burgers than work for any of these assholes.” Then I started actively seeking a woman-owned space. I figured that if a woman owned a space then she must be into the work, not simply a pawn to a greedy, gob-fuck of a man. Eventually I did find a single dominatrix working from a simple, well-furnished private space who invited me in and mentored me. She had worked the streets but currently worked as a nurse and had a substance abuse problem. She taught me a lot, mostly about what not to do, which is great when you are first starting out, and I felt wonderful working for myself and expanding my theatrical and psychosexual repertoire. I also felt strangely good helping people, which makes the work a lot more meaningful to me than how it is generally represented in society. In Febo’s work, it sounds like it’s only men, which predominate, but I consistently work with many females and couples also.