Dark Odyssey – I – Overview…

So as I mentioned, this weekend I was at Dark Odyssey. I am not going to go into the travails of getting into the hotel. Suffice it to say that I was not keen on paying $80 for two days of valet parking. I’m not cheap, but I really just can’t quite stomach paying double for parking in my own home city. This meant I parked at Union Station. This made loading in a bit more of a logistical issue than I had planned. The room wasn’t ready at 3pm, so…well…thank the Gods for hotel bars, right?

Now for those of you just joining this story, I really haven’t been out to any big BDSM/Leather events in about four years. Other priorities and just didn’t work with the partners I had. So this was the first time I’d been back in a scene that was anything other than local classes and DC Crucible. And the first time I’d had S. out as a submissive in a public setting in a very long time, again other than Crucible.

I made a commitment to myself that I was going to go to a lot of workshops. Let’s face it, I could stand to learn a lot. I’ve been out of touch in my own world, and I need new ideas, perspectives, and just generally not to have my head up my ass. I made a workshop in every timeslot, with the exception of the first when I was trying to figure out how to get the car parked.

I’m probably going to spend the next couple of weeks covering workshops. They were interesting, and I’m not going to be doing a lot else in the sex world, as I’m prepping an interactive theatre event. So…I’ll just give brief mentions here.

I audited the Shibari class, because honestly my ropework is not that great. I’d hoped to pick up a lot of teaching on rope. This was my one bit of moral cowardice. I went through the first half, but then they wanted people to pair up. S. wasn’t onsite yet, and I just didn’t feel like practicing ropework with a guy. I know, I know, I’m homophobic. Sorry, it’s some sort of bizarre aesthetic. I think I’d feel more comfortable sucking a guy’s cock than fumbling through ropework I don’t do well with a guy I didn’t know. Probably vanity.

Maybe I have an inferiority complex over my ropework. I visualize that I’ll have some girl tied up and this huge Japanese cross between a Sumo Wrestler and “The Big Unit” is going to come up to me with a rope and growl. “Your shibari is no good!” like in a bad kung-fu movie. In the worst versions of this vision his mouth appears to be moving in a way that doesn’t match his words. Seriously I’ve mostly dealt in just making women hold still. There is something deeply satisfying to me about a woman who is restrained because she is obeying your will. That said, tying up has it’s place, and you can’t do everything with chain.

So that was it for the afternoon. Evening was honestly pretty slow. We ate at the Capitol City Brewing Company next to Union Station. Used to know somebody who worked there, but she wasn’t in evidence and may be elsewhere now. Haven’t caught up in a while.

I ran S. through basic discipline and positions. The new Protocol Manual is still more a mass of notes than a manual, but it’s coming along. Eventually we went downstairs and watched some scenes. I want to add for the people who don’t know me well…there are some here…S and I are married, but are not 24/7. She has another Dominant, and we don’t get to be together this way as often as we’d like.

Note on privacy. Any names I use here are presenters whose names appear on the public website for the event. I’m also going out of my way not to give strongly identifying information about anyone we saw or talked to, except our dinner companions, where that information is also public. In cases where the information goes beyond just a general recap of their public presentation, I asked the presenters about quoting them.

Also, I’ve said in general I am not going to talk about my current partners or ongoing play. I’m making some exception for public events where, frankly anybody who was there could see or knows. It doesn’t seem like there’s any serious reason to keep secrets.

So. Possibly the hottest scene I saw over the weekend, in regular play. It was really pretty simple. A guy had a girl hog tied with the same leather hog-tie I use. It was arms fully extended rear, cuffed to her ankles. He was hitting her with a stun gun. There was some pattern to it. But the thing that made the scene hot is that she was completely freaking out. She was crying, screaming for him to stop, coming up against him and struggling like a motherfuck every time he hit her. She wasn’t secured to anything so she could still struggle and wrestle and he was pinning her with his body, arms, legs. She couldn’t hit, but she could writhe, struggle, and buck and she was. And he just kept hitting her. No matter what you may think, I know that it takes a lot of strength to just keep torturing somebody when they are reacting like you are really torturing them. Not giving little sighs of “how nice” but screaming obscenities at you, and crying and screaming. This guy was just doing it. The only giveaway is that the girl grinned a bit from time to time. She was a hardened player. They eventually quit, after a very long session and she just picked up, had some water and stood around chatting with another guy like it was between shots at a pool game.

There was some serious Shibari going on, and at least one version of pretty much every other scene.

We saw the moderate handful of people we know. It would just look insipid to drop an alphabet soup of random references in here, so I’ll say “we saw people.”

Someone…I don’t remember who so I can’t even drop an initial…told me that “I think Dark Odyssey is the best combination of BDSM/Leather, Pagan Spiritual, and Swing Community of any big event.”

I’m going to digress here and say that I find a some people in BDSM who just aren’t terribly sex positive. They avoid or disparage Crucible a little because you can fuck there, and have some degree of negative attitude towards the sex/swing community. I’ve also heard it asserted that there is practically no overlap between sex community and BDSM community.

I like fucking. Maybe not as well as I like hurting people or fucking with their minds, but I wouldn’t willingly give it up. I’ve never been much involved in straight swing/sex stuff. I admit I shared the same stereotypes everyone else probably has. Aging divas and straggly men of uncertain hygiene trying desperately to get laid. And once upon a time we did a poly-meetup event that did turn out to be more or less that crowd. And we met a lot of people like that years ago when we were running the adult BBS (that’s like a website only before there was a web), which I think is one reason we kind of got skeeved and didn’t stay with it.

But honestly that just hasn’t turned out to be the case. I’ve met at least a dozen people who are strongly involved in local BDSM, to the extent of being workshop presenters, etc., who are also involved in other sex-positive communities, and really I don’t think it has the stigma it used to.

At any rate, Dark Odyssey has the “Sexploratorium” which was more the hang out and fuck area than play area. There weren’t any hard and fast rules (no pun intended) but that was the feel. It’s definitely a very sex positive event. I can’t imagine an event that Tristan is involved in running not being sex positive. To be clear, and not name drop, I don’t know Tristan other than as a presenter to shake hands with and chat briefly. Talked with her a few moments when I bought a book for a friend, and got her to sign it. But I think a lot of her work, and I’ve had the occasion to talk to her a few times, and think she’s a great person. I’ll add that she’s just as cute padding around helping pick up trash out of function rooms as she is fucking people. I think Tristan would have a hard time not being adorable. Joking aside as somebody who runs conventions, I admire her a lot because I saw her around doing the admin tasks, handling the function space and other things, and generally doing what organizer/operators need to do to make an event run. You know she’s somebody who could be pretty arrogant, and she’s just not. If you haven’t been to http://www.puckerup.com/ just go.

As far as spirituality to each their own. I’m not much into spirituality. If anything is spiritual to me, it’s the human mind and getting “inside” of somebody. Intimacy. But you know if that’s your thing, I have to say that it makes more sense to me to get spiritual about erotic experience than most anything else.

At any rate, Friday night was not a public fuck night for us, but a BDSM play night. I’m not going to give the scene details as it was probably more interesting to be the one strapped to the table than it would be to read about. At least I sure as hell hope so. A lot of the night was focus on D/s, and we got started pretty late. I committed myself to a lot of fucking this weekend, because honestly despite anything you might read, an awful lot of BDSM is not about fucking. D/s can involve servicing or fucking, but I think if that’s all you’re about…you’re using it as an excuse to get off. D/s feels right when you hit the point where the Dominance is more satisfying that squirting come out of your cock. Not that I’m against fucking…but…there’s a point where you begin to get off on the other stuff. If you aren’t getting off on it, then is it really sexual?

Saturday was a welter of workshops. Started the day with a caffeine depped Sarah Sloane’s “Driven To Tears or Why We Play at the Edge.” This was interesting to me, even though it had a sort of spirituality overtone. It was driven by the fact Sarah is a really great down to earth presenter. There were really only a handful of classes focusing on what I tend to call “fucked up shit” and this was one of them.

I had S. up early taking care of breakfast and my clothes, so let her sleep in a bit. She joined me for Olga’s Genitorture workshop, “Joy of Cunt Play.” Since Olga referenced toothpicks, that makes the workshop thematic for this particular blog. This was some pretty fucking intense stuff, I have to say. Memorable quotes (more later). “I prefer to use just a real stapler from Home Depot. You can use a medical stapler but that turns the staples under,” and “What freaks them [submissives] out most is when they come when they don’t expect it from stuff they hate.” I’m not about to go after my partners with a stapler. I don’t think there is anything to be gained from giving people more pain than they can process. But this was some interesting stuff, because it definitely pressed the envelope of what you would think anyone’s regular limits would be. Normalizing extreme brutality may be a fetish in itself. S. tried very hard to keep a poker face, for fear if I saw what she opened her mouth at, it would provoke me to try it on her. She did pretty well but couldn’t hide a few gasps.

During lunch I took S. out of collar and off discipline to discuss some new directions I wanted to push, regarding sex, involving other people etc. I wanted to give her a chance to discuss it with me person to person as equals before being ordered into things that she wasn’t comfortable with.

Followed another long slow, frustrating dance with the car. S. had to handle most of it this time, while I went to Olga’s play piercing. Play piercing isn’t something that I’m really very experienced at. I’ve done it mostly on myself, a few times on others. It doesn’t do much for me, but I can put a needle through my arm as a demonstration without much fuss or muss. I volunteered to demo because I wanted to feel what it was like to get pierced by somebody else. Pretty much what I expected, I don’t get a lot out of it, but it gives me an appreciation for what my submissives are going through. I also still don’t feel myself to be an expert, but came out feeling a lot more confident with a needle, as we shall learn later.

Dinner ensued. Realizing we knew next to nobody (that turned out to be a slight understatement), we bought tickets to the banquet. I think we were very lucky in our seating. We had dinner with some interesting and charming people, one of whom was Selina Fire, who writes the blog “Sex in the City: The Real Version.” http://selinafire.blogspot.com/ Selina has been around for a long time, and knows a lot, she was entertaining to listen to. Her blog is a lot like this one only it has actual writing. Also probably more readers than this one. We currently have about 25 readers which is coincidentally the same number as there are Americans who plan to vote for Ralph Nader in the upcoming election. Fortunately they aren’t the same people. She and her friends were interesting table companions, as were our other neighbors at dinner. Entertainment after dinner was Melody Sweets & the Ladies of the Rouge Coquette http://www.myspace.com/melodysweets. This was a nice old fashioned burlesque show, very well produced, timed, made up and executed. I don’t know that it was intensely erotic, but it set a mood and was stylish.

I’d decided that our evening focus would be sexual or social, since we have plenty of playspace locally and had worked hard on D/s the night before. I wanted to push some sexual boundaries.

There had been talk and signs for a gang bang, which I at least wanted to watch, but that failed to materialize. I had thoughts of turning S. into one anyway, but decided instead to see what other entertainments might be offered, and move to my next scene plan.

Someone had brought a Sybian and was demonstrating it. I found it and signaled S. over and ordered her onto it. She reported a very intense ride, maybe a little too intense, but had satisfyingly gratifying facial reactions and noises. I let her rest for a while and engaged in another scene. All I can say is that it was intense. Folks who saw it know why I can’t sayanything about it, and folks who didn’t don’t need to know. Hit several fantasy buttons with me, without question.

Afterwards I had about decided to do a public fuck scene with S (pushing some boundaries with exposure) when I was intercepted by a young lady I had met earlier, who we shall call “Seattle.” I started talking to her. She’d been sort of eying me earlier so I got the idea to see what she was made of. She wanted to know where the Sybian was, so I offered to show her. I had planned to simply smile and abandon her there, but the couple that had been operating it had gone off, so that left me to do it. I volunteered and brought S. over to act as assistant. She’s pretty straight, but girls are soft and you really want somebody to hold onto while riding the Sybian.

I haven’t worked with fucking machines at all. They’re just very expensive, and while I like the idea, I don’t have a grand or two spare to pick one up. Realistically we ought to get one. We spend far more money on things that would bring far less joy. I tend to think if fucking machines worked as well for men as they do for women, they would be everywhere. “Oh hey honey I dropped 2k on this machine….”

It is definitely a turn on to bring a girl to sobbing, shrieking, orgasm collapsing on your shoulder, by quietly moving a couple of dials. I don’t know that I’d want to do it all the time, but it definitely hits a few triggers, and there’s a lot of power/control there. Based on S.’s earlier experience I brought the dials up very slowly and got a desired result.

Seattle it turned out was at her first BDSM event, though she had some experience in being out sexually. She wanted to play a little more, so with S. assisting, I ran her through some moderate spanking and some very light flogging and caning play. Not said with my usual sarcasm. I don’t believe in hitting harder than a girl can process. There’s nothing really macho about just whacking somebody with a stick. Caning is about precision and buildup. Seattle was very worked up and got used considerably harder than she got caned, but she didn’t seem to mind. I left her with a new friend she’d made, and got ready to head out. It wasn’t like Crucible where they need to change the music at two and drive people out, but the space theoretically closed at two and we suspected they would appreciate it if people headed out not too long after that. I had planned to work on exposure a bit with S., and then move to a more intense scene, but decided afterwards that I’d head up to the room and ramp up, as she was fading a bit. She’d also been a very good submissive and acted as my assistant during a somewhat unplanned intro scene, so she deserved my full attention.

Back up in the room, I prepped her and did a cutting I’d planned to do earlier. S. has a more mystical bent than I do, though it’s of a studious, rather academic nature, not anything too sappy. Her group affiliation is one of the least…bunnies and light…organizations I am familiar with, and they have a pretty good sense of humor about things. I cut her a unicursal hexagram, which has some significance in those circles. I could have done the BDSM triskellion but one thing I learned very early on in cutting was that doing circles is tricky. You want to orbit the scalpel and it is damn difficult not to change the depth as you swing your wrist around. I know a lot more about cutting than I do about piercing.

Cutting is the sort of scene that’s very core for me. You are acting on someone in a rather remote way. It’s why I like caning too, and sex machines. But…that’s not the end all and be all…

After cutting there were other activities. I have not fucked so much in months and hips, stomach muscles and thighs are sore today. Back to the gym this spring jackass…

Next morning was “Yielding to Brutality” with Lady Hillary. I didn’t know a lot about this workshop other than that it was going to be about punching and kicking. I’ve always liked to be physical brutal. She made the point, and I think it’s a good one that a lot of our using toys makes BDSM okay. It’s okay to hit you with a flogger. But it’s different to drive my fist into your body to hit you with naked skin. That’s a lot more personal. In the real world nobody hits people in an alley, or in an abusive relationship, with a flogger. On the other hand that very fact makes hitting much much more intimate. It’s very immediate, very real, there is no comfortable distance of “now I will take this stick to you.” It is very real. Lady Hillary talked a lot about the intimacy of direct physical violence and intimacy is something that I am very…involved in. Possibly because I’m a very fucking emotionally reserved person and have problems developing intimacy. She made the comment that “hitting somebody is the same as fucking them, but you are trying to make the hole to get into them.” I can get intimate with somebody if I am up against them hitting them with my body.

Obviously this isn’t about just beating on people, any more than caning is about hitting people hard with a stick. It’s about getting a response and provoking emotions, just like any other BDSM scene. And it isn’t for everyone.

Lady Hillary is also one of those players who tends to share my safety philosophy. That you have to have common sense and actually pay attention, and that this is ultimately a lot more important than giving constant lip service to a set of “rules.” More on that when I review this workshop, but…a lot of neat ideas here.

After that, took S. in and did the play piercing I’d been planning to. Was the same three I had Olga to to me, in roughly the same place. S. is not thrilled about needles so there was a big fear component. She tripped out beautifully and crashed softly and went to sleep on a couch. I felt bad, but I had to wake her up a little later and pour her into the bootwhoring class. Because she was still in collar and that was her service assignment. I also knew the aforementioned Sarah Sloane was a fun presenter, and they’d connect well, and they did. It was the smallest workshop we were in, about eight people, so very intimate and chatty. We got to watch Sarah get off on boots, I learned some things, and S. learned some things that she needed to learn.

The convention actually runs all the way through Sunday night, but we hadn’t booked room and were frankly exhausted. And that’s the end of the story. Coming few posts, I’ll run through the good stuff I gleaned from the classes, but in the meantime…we end not with a bang but with a snore…

So what did I learn? This weekend was a challenge to me. Of course I learned a lot from presenters, but I also learned a lot about my capacities, and was able for the first time to compare how I carry myself now from how I might have carried myself four or five years back.

I think more than most times and places I learned you are what you make of yourself. You are what you become. Five, ten years ago, I wanted to be a controlling person who could make his own sexual situations, who could command women, effectively and comptently, who could arrange a multi-partner play situation and make it go well, who had the ability to control, the willingness to be brutal, and who was able to maneuver through complex social-sexual situations without emotional drama or becoming too cold and incapable of reaction.

This weekend, I had an opportunity to do all of those things, more or less at once and…it was a very intense experience. I hadn’t done those things except on a small scale in a long time, and I really wasn’t as good at them. I think if you want to be something you have to live it. Over the weekend, I felt reasonably good that I was exactly who I said I was.

There are times we all feel like a fraud. Reading the indictment of Dominants in Slavecraft, it is impossible not to wonder “am I even remotely what I say I am, or am I just fucking around pretending…finding inexperienced girls and deluding them that I know what the fuck I am about.” I may be an actor, playing a role, but it is a legitimate role I’ve studied for. I am not uber-Dom, or an expert on BDSM or anything else. But I am what I have made myself, and this weekend I was happy with that.

We’re running damn long anyway, so we’ll save jokes for another time. There’s enough humor above to get you through till Thursday I think.

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