Friday, 21 March 2014

BDSM Fought The Law (And The Law Won)

In the morning, we went into the office together. Suzanne was feeling pissed off and frustrated; I was feeling quietly horrified with myself as well as a little psychologically violated by the slew of well-intentioned but unhelpful questions that had followed (“Has this happened before?” “Are you just not attracted to me?” “Is it because of the cigarette smell?” “Were you abused as a child?”).

We sat down at our respective desks, and we began to type. Just as we had before.

And there it might well have ended. We became friends again. Suzanne began to talk about how she wanted to try and introduce her boyfriend to BDSM. Gamely - although not without more than one pang of regret - I encouraged her to take him to a bondage workshop where he could learn a few knots. I wasn’t sure what had gone wrong with Droopy Cock, but I was more than happy to try and put it to the back of my mind for now.

Aside from that - well, there were a few drunken lapses. One stands out.

It was the night before Christmas (fine, Christmas leave). The entire office team was lolling about in a basement bar in Soho at 3am. Suzanne and I were arguing viciously. I can’t remember exactly why. I think it may have begun with a poorly-chosen drunken joke on my part about how her vagina smelled. (It didn’t smell, not badly. I was so sozzled I accidentally pressed send before I was able to add a smiley-face to the text message.)

She’d responded by telling me that she didn’t think I had the ‘steel’ to be a proper dom.

Bullshit, I told her.

No, she said, possibly slurring her words. I know you want to, but I just don’t think you have the steel to give me what I want.

I snatched hold of her wrist.

She raised her eyebrows - and then leaned in.

You’re going to have to grab me, she hissed, a lot harder than that.

At this point I realised that a nice earnest-looking girl in her early twenties was watching us with a wary horror.

Oh God, I thought. I look like a domestic abuser. She probably thinks I’m a total bastard. Should I explain that it’s all OK, that it’s actually just part of a twisted sex game, or…

Instead I took Suzanne firmly by the arm and led her up and outside.

In the darkness of Soho Square, I pressed her hard up against a brick wall, holding her wrists to the surface, and told her in detail the things I was going to do to her; that she must never, never again try and tell me that I didn’t have the steel for this kind of thing.

She looked at me with bright wide eyes and said,

“No, Tom - no, I won’t, I promise-”

I was as aroused as hell.

And at this point a uniformed policeman grasped me by the shoulder and said firmly,

“All right now, son, time to be going home. Lot of bad people around here.”

His colleague gave me a disapproving look.

I stared at them. The words, ‘It’s all OK, officers, it’s actually just part of a twisted sex game’ were rising rapidly in my throat. They seemed much more unconvincing than they should have been. Possibly because I could no longer rely on myself to articulate the words correctly. I looked at Suzanne for support.

She turned around without a word and tottered quickly away from us across the square and into darkness. The two policemen watched her go, and then turned back to look accusingly at me.

I blanched, turned and legged it towards home, where I spent the majority of my Christmas feeling very much like a guilty criminal, and half-believing that the entire Metropolitan Police force was out looking for me.

And that was the first time I was really forced to consider how our games could potentially appear to the people around us.

It’s surprisingly hard to casually research, given that Googling ‘police bondage UK’ results in a slew of both genuinely serious, tragic cases like that of Gareth Williams, and videos of BDSM stars being tied up in highly unconvincing police uniforms - but my country’s authorities actually have a very peculiar and antagonistic relationship with kink.

There’s the usual timeless ‘naughty’ material for lascivious tabloids, of course; the police who get called out to a kidnapping in a field only to find two lovers indulging in some al fresco roleplay, or who have to rescue somebody out of broken handcuffs.

But more fascinatingly and disturbingly, there’s the letter of the law which states that causing ‘actual bodily harm’ is illegal regardless of consent. Exactly what constitutes ‘actual bodily harm’ is spurious ('beyond trifling' is one interpretation, though other sources are clearer) which is why we end up with bizarre investigations like Operation Spanner or the raid on a Southwark S & M club night in 1994, during which police officers apparently donned leather outfits in order to infiltrate the premises, film the proceedings, and figure out whether the clientele were enjoying being caned and flogged too rigorously for it to count as legal.

The raid, at least, did lead to a truly wonderful witness statement.

Dr Michael Jack Frost, a 66-year-old retired lecturer in geology, is a member of the Club Whiplash and was on the premises on the night of the police raid. He said he saw the video, which was "tame", but none of the other acts described by police.

With porno, and the online world - well, that's when it all gets even more headache-inducing...

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Learning The Ropes #3 - Brats, Drunkenness, And Then Things Go South

Since so much has the potential to go wrong in BDSM - from ropes that are too tight to one party suddenly feeling horribly uncomfortable to this scene from Californication, which may have permanently put me off the concept of weighted nipple clamps for life - it’s probably an absolute necessity to stay safe, sober, and in total control of yourself.

So when Suzanne met me at the Tube station, wrapped up in a thick black coat and looking deeply trepidatious, if not outright scared, I of course suggested that we go for a few soothing drinks beforehand.

“I won’t be having anything, though,” I added. “I need to be sober for this.”
She gave me a worried look.
“Why?” she asked.
I hesitated.
“Because, um…” I said, “ know. Because of the things I’m going to do to you.”

She gave me a thoroughly worried look. And I began to feel frightened myself; I wanted to tell her that I wouldn’t do anything too bad to her, obviously. Not unless that was, you know, what she wanted.

Instead I remained silent.

We walked a little way together, both of our hands in our pockets.

“Are you nervous?” she asked.
“No,” I said, in a surprisingly strained and quiet voice. Then, realising that I was actually nervous, I rapidly became extremely nervous indeed.

And so it was almost certainly inevitable that the two of us ended up in a booth in one of south-west London’s many unbearably chic gastropubs, drinking a bottle of Prosecco, making awkward and occasional conversation, and giving each other long, wary looks.

“Are you ready?” I asked, once we were done. The wait was killing me. Nerves were piling upon nerves.
She visibly balked.
“I think I need to eat something first,” she said.

And so we headed to a nice Thai restaurant around the corner and shared another bottle of wine.

“Are you ready?” I asked, after we’d paid.
“I think I need some more booze,” she said.

By this time I was feeling, somewhat understandably, very fed up and horribly, anxiously impatient. As well as increasingly drunk.

There’s a term in the often confusing BDSM encyclopedia for a sub who primarily enjoys being dominated but who also likes to try and push her luck (or his? Although I don’t think I’ve ever encountered that). Taunting their partner, acting up, refusing to co-operate, general misbehaviour.


I don’t know if I like it - perhaps it just plays too much into the infantilising, ‘daddy/daddy’s little girl’ aspect which I’ve never had a great deal of interest in.

But there it is, and I suppose  it’s a very natural part of the entire process, since power dynamics are inevitably at the very heart of the relationship. And the whole obedience/punishment equation is screwy as hell anyway, thanks to the sexual interests of both parties involved.

Sub misbehaves = sub gets punished.

But sub likes to get punished. Dom likes to punish sub.

So sub misbehaves. Even though doing so is actually the complete psychological opposite of being submissive.

It’s the very definition of rewarding bad behaviour.

In the end, we grabbed another bottle of Prosecco from the off-licence and headed for home - where my housemates were both out for the evening, just as planned. Still, I was quivering internally during the entire walk back. What if they’ve come back unexpectedly? What if they’re having a party in there? What if they’ve found the small collection of ad hoc toys on the bed -

I don’t think I said much, during that walk.

Once we get through the front door, I told myself, everything has to change. I shed my nervousness, I become the dominant, I take charge of the situation. No more fucking about, no more compromise. Leap in head-first.

I unlocked the door, ushered inside, and we began to kiss.

“Turn around,” I told her firmly, and whipping a couple of cable ties from out of my coat pocket, I secured her wrists together, took the half-scarf out, wound it around her head, and tightly blindfolded her.

“...wait!” she said.

I stopped.

“I need to roll a cigarette first,” she said.

And, not for the last time that evening, I faltered.

What went wrong? Everything went wrong. A few very basic things went right. But more importantly, everything went wrong.

But I think we can do the sensible thing and skip ahead to the moment when I had her bound spread-eagled to the bed, dishevelled and naked, with the knotted tie stuffed into her mouth. There’d been some spanking, there’d been some awful drunken over-aggressive fingering*, and the blindfold had fallen off about a dozen times. But I’d kept going.

I kissed her cunt, straightened up and stepped out into the next room, where I’d stashed the condoms. Whipping out one Extra Thick, I took a deep breath, slipped it over my stiff prick and returned.

For obvious reasons, she hadn’t moved, but was watching me with wide wild eyes. Crouching over her on the bed, I aligned myself, leaned forward and down towards her -

- and then my penis began to sag.

I was startled, to say the least. And horrified.

Quickly, I began to tug at the base, in an effort to salvage the situation.

The condom slid neatly off the shaft and landed amongst the morass of blankets.

I got up, maintaining a stern poker face, walked into the next room, tore open another condom, masturbated myself quickly back up, and replaced it.

Everything was fine. Just a blip. Soon forgotten.

I leant back over her, refocused, aimed for her surprisingly large, all-concealing labia - and suddenly I felt incredibly, overwhelmingly caught-up in what was happening to my cock. 

And so I hesitated. And glanced back down.

It drooped. Again.

Suzanne began to laugh through her gag.

I got calmly back up, walked through into the next room, and began to mouth obscenities down towards my own flaccid penis.


* It’s nigh-impossible to finger someone in a physically dominant way. But I was drunk and insecure, so I tried. This was just one of many bad ideas that evening.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Learning The Ropes #2 - Getting Equipped

At around lunchtime, I strolled into Robert Dyas and made my way to the back of the shop.

A little old lady was stood in the electrics and utilities section, staring at spark plugs.

I took my place beside her, and then, leaning down with a curious, darting motion, snatched up a packet of thin white cord.

Then another. Then another.

Then, reasoning that I might as well go all in, I grabbed a bagful of cable ties.

Halfway to the till, I lost all confidence, went back, and picked up a hoover bag as well to help cover my tracks.

Just an ordinary guy, I reminded myself. An ordinary guy, picking up some ties for my electrical cable, some rope for binding back the creepers in my garden, and a hoover bag for keeping my nice ordinary carpets pristine and clean.

The cashier swiped through my purchases one by one, then gave me a very long and suspicious glare. It began to occur to me then, as I awkwardly held her gaze, that most likely nobody in the 21st century ever purchased rope any more unless they had a night of bondage planned (what, you need it for securing your carthorse?). And also that - if anything - the hoover bag only made the entire thing look even weirder.
I nodded, paid by card, and left as quickly as I could.

And so my first BDSM session came about on a cold December afternoon.

It was, I’d mentally vowed, going to be a gentle easing-in. For me as well as for her. Nothing too rough, nothing too hardcore. To that end, my bondage equipment consisted of the three rolls of thin white cord, the packet of cable ties, a couple of ice cubes, a tie with a knot in the centre, and a scarf which I’d cut down the middle in the hopes that it would make an adequate blindfold.

There was also a pastry brush, because I’d read somewhere online that pastry brushes could be used to create intense arousal in a blindfolded sub. Since that day, the pastry brush has remained unused in the back of my bedroom wardrobe.

Do not purchase a pastry brush as an erotic implement. I cannot stress this enough.*

I’d also stopped by at the supermarket to buy a pack of condoms - my first in God knew how long.
You’re meeting with someone you find very attractive, I’d reminded myself, to act out your ultimate sexual fetish, after a period of extended inactivity. For fuck’s sake, be practical about this.

And so, very sensibly, I’d snatched up a packet of Durex Extra Thick, a prophylactic so substantial that wearing one is equivalent to having your manhood swathed in six yards of bubble-wrap, and practically drooping beneath the weight. My penis, I flattered myself, would be no more likely to become over-excited than a child visiting a steam and railway museum.

It was, in short, a motley and ill-thought-out collection of props. But I was still nervous about expressing my proclivities, and wary about creating an atmosphere that would make Suzanne uncomfortable. If I’d shown her into some kind of gothic dungeon festooned with whips and gags, she’d probably have run for the hills. And fair enough.

On the other hand, while spontaneity is all well and good, you really can’t beat the proper equipment.

‘What, you’re going to put me inside a hoover bag?” Suzanne asked later that evening, taking off her coat.


*No matter how at ease you are with the innate theatricality and various eccentricities of BDSM, there is - as far as I’m concerned - nothing less arousing than crouching awkwardly to massage your blindfolded partner’s genitals with a pastry brush. It just ends up feeling like you’re washing an egg finish over the crust of a very confused pie.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Learning The Ropes, Pt #1

Exploring your kinky side (or in my case, your kinky, sicko whole) as a dom or domme*, I’m now convinced more than ever, can have a wide variety of psychological and practical benefits. It can vastly improve your confidence and decision-making faculties. It can encourage an erotic playfulness that extends beyond the bedroom. It urges you towards creativity. It helps to teach you how to tie a decent knot with speed and self-assurance, which will undoubtedly impress all of your friends if you’re unlucky enough to ever go camping.

The difficulty is getting there in the first place.

Because a novice dom, if you stop to think about it, is very nearly a contradiction in terms. A dom is in charge. A dom knows what he or she is doing. There’s a reason that the two most popular (if in the latter case, famously dubious) BDSM stories of recent years, Secretary and Fifty Shades of Grey, are written as sexual awakening stories (bildongsromans?) for their heroines and their heroines alone. Christian Grey and James Spader’s character - also, confusingly, called Mr Grey - are both psychologically broken, sure, but they’re sexually complete, because their narrative function is to guide their subs into the kinky underworld without breaking a step or hesitating.

In fact, the most prominent uncertain dom I can think of is Wanda in Leopold Masoch’s Venus In Furs, who - like her male slave Severin - is new to this whole BDSM scene. And so she finds herself alternately throwing herself into the role - literally keeping her sub as an unpaid, ignored gardener for months at a time - and rebelling against it, unable to come to terms with her own ability to be so cruel and emotionally unavailable to somebody she genuinely loves.

“Wanda was already somewhat out of humour. Suddenly she said to me,“Severin, the seriousness with which you play your part is charming, and the restrictions which we have placed upon each other are really annoying me. I can’t stand it any longer, I do love you, I must kiss you. Let’s go into one of the houses.”

In this particular scene, Severin - both suffering horribly under her cruelties and compulsively, pleasurably unwilling to escape them - immediately reminds her of her place as his master, (“My lady…” I interposed)...and she slips quite happily back into character.

But even Wanda, while she may waver psychologically, never fucks up in the moment; she never fails to properly secure Severin to his punishment cross or mis-times her attempts to slap him. Which is a good thing, after all, since it’s supposed to be a sexy fantasy.

Real erotic encounters are rarely a sexy fantasy. Mistakes happen, things go wrong. But for most people, the process doesn’t also require you to correctly tie a bunch of rope around your partner’s naked body without doing any of the following: 1) tying it too softly, so that they find themselves coming loose ten minutes in, 2) failing to tie a knot correctly, panicking, and then looping the rope around again and again until they end up with a massive ball of twisted cord bouncing around beneath their wrists, 3) leaving the end of the rope dangling down so that it slaps you in the testicles later on, 4) accidentally cutting off their circulation until their skin turns purple.

Then there are the handcuff keys that can be lost. The hot wax which turns out to be uselessly tepid (I could always test it myself beforehand, but that might just damage the whole ‘sadist’ image for everyone involved). The horrible moment when moments after a firm and unyielding command to your sub, you freeze up because you've just realised it came out of your mouth as, “I want you to beel down and, um, no, wait, I mean kneel, uh - what was I going to tell you to do again?”

There are a great many more opportunities for fucking up, is what I’m saying.

As I was repeatedly to learn.


* I think I’m just going to use ‘dom’ from now on, if that’s OK. We don’t really need to distinguish between the sexes on this (whereas if you’re writing a personal ad, I imagine ‘looking for a dom’ and ‘looking for a domme’ are quite important to get right) and ‘dom’ itself isn’t actually a masculine contraction.