Monday, March 8, 2010

Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire'10 Personal Review Part 2

One of the biggest challenges in attending Dark Odyssey: Winter Fire is deciding which workshops to attend! Each time slot includes roughly six choices that may encompass BDSM philosophy, dynamic or technique, sexuality and identification, tantra and energy play, relationship style/choice, sexual or physical skill, and much more. Choosing between two workshops that both seem important to you is a common experience. Our very thinky Saturday began with Sarah Sloane's Polyamory Boot Camp.

Q and I have come to realize that we've got to open our relationship to poly on at least one level. He is a sadist, I am NOT a masochist, and there are needs of his that I am neither able nor willing to fulfill. I tried, it had a detrimental impact on our sex life, and we've both come to the decision that it's best to find other partners with whom he meets those needs. So we've been thinking a lot - how do we do that? Enter our choice of Sarah's class.

While we were pleased that nothing in Sarah's class took us entirely by surprise, she made some very good points about flexibility, negotiation, and self-care. Her comments about communication and responsibility reinforced the way in which we've been handling this time of occasional upset and inquiry. She also raised the issue of needing to treat each partner as an individual, in that what works for one emotionally may not work for the other, and that one must remember to Be with each partner as individual relationships instead of one part of an ego-centric whole. I'd never considered that - thank you, Sarah.

As Q proceeded to The Fine Art of Dirty Talk with
Amy Jo Goddard (a mind-opening and language-expanding class that I'd taken last year with this fabulous presenter), I succumbed to the late Friday night and forewent the Fine Art of Prostate Massage and Locks of Lust (a class on hair-bondage) to take a much-needed nap, after which I felt MUCH better. (I couldn't decide between them anyway!) Lunch became a social networking opportunity with Anita Wagner, a well-known polyamory educator, which was followed by Plays Well with Others, a workshop by Lqqkout for those new to the scene and/or partnerless on how to approach and meet others, and negotiate for the scenes you'd like to experience.

We then attended
Julian Wolf's Role Playing workshop, which opened my mind in entirely unanticipated ways. Beside the fact that role playing is an excellent way to increase the level of experimentation and excitement in a relationship without necessarily adding additional implements, toys, pain, or partners, and is thus a fabulous gateway into the realm of the alternative from the mundane, it's something in which I have little experience. Little being next to No, as in I've done it just once. Julian's class broadened my perspective on the world that is role play, and the ways in which it can be of value. I've already spoken with her about incorporating her "mundane" version of the class in future ventures. My mental gears were turning...

Saturday evening, after my hotel-room book signing for
My Erotic Adventure, we ended up dining at the hotel with a number of local and traveled peeps including Michael Rios of the Network for a New Culture. While he and I talked activism and the current state of public opinion on alternative forms of relationship and sexuality, Q chatted up a local masochist and scheduled a tentative play date for the following evening. (Hooray and whew!) Eventually we dressed in our kinky slinky finest and again toured the dungeon and surrounding play spaces to see what and who there was to see.

Q is relatively new to the scene, and thus for him it was a near overwhelming visual and aural feast of sights and sounds, the smacking, thumping, cries and moans, laughter and music reverberating through the main dungeon. On the other hand, I've been around for seven years, and for me it has become a largely social opportunity to visit with friends and share affection. As mentioned, I'm not a masochist, nor am I a bottom... I've finally identified that, unlike many players in the BDSM scene, I do not get the endorphin-release that results from intense pain and may create an altered state-of-consciousness referred to as dropping, flying, or sub-space. I just get pain, so I walked the dungeon looking newly for non-pain-based experiences that I might enjoy experiencing.

The first I found was fire play - the practice of using cotton swabbed wands, alcohol, and yes - Fire - to apply levels of heat to one's skin. It sounds scary, but the alcohol burns off rather quickly when used appropriately, and it looks sexy as hell. Do NOT try this at home without proper education from an expert! I am not responsible for any damage you might cause.

The second was
suspension bondage. Now, I've been bound before - wrists tied together, ankles and knees, forearms laced together behind my back - and the rope itself doesn't necessarily move me. It's the suspension that I want to try. I'm curious about the feeling of being fully supported and held in mid-air. I know the ropes will bite into my flesh with the weight of my body, but what else? I love to spin, I like swings and hammocks, and suspension can be a work of art, believe me. Dammit, I'm curious! I'll be working on setting that up now that I'm back in Portland. And Q likes working with rope, so if I enjoy suspension, that's something we can do together in time.

Saturday was another late night, and Q decided to sleep in for the morning class while I hustled off to
Barbara Carrellas' Tell Me What You Want. I'd attended Barbara's Erotic Breathwork class before, so I knew that she was a quality presenter, and I was particularly interested in what she had to share about identifying and sharing one's needs. I'd been feeling that I wasn't getting something I needed, and remained unable to identify what that was, so this was a very personal investment of time.

God bless her, she's working on a workbook to help people through this process, and we were one of her "lab groups." Hooray! What I discovered through her process of drilling down from important life elements to core values is that Peace is one of my values. Not one, but several of the important elements in my life reduce down to Peace. What a valuable place to look in the midst of an upset... are my core values being denied? I have not yet finished the process she outlined, but it's on my to-do list.

Q joined me for lunch with married friends that I'd met at DO five years before, after which he hit the dungeon to observe a medical stapling scene that put my wussy nerves on edge while I attended the Cock Sucking and Deep Throating workshop by
Danielle dv8. The most important thing I learned is that the DO crowd are not the people for whom I need to present my workshops. These people already know that they're interested in advanced and alternative activities. I need to work with the new, curious and inquiring.

Secondly, I learned about the differences between giving head to a bio-penis vs. a silicone one. In truth, this is the only workshop I attended in which I was disappointed. Although Danielle has a very rowdy and engaging style, it was not well laid out for the main crowd to effectively see the techniques demonstrated, and there was no sense of flow. Although I learned some valuable facts, I felt that there was much more that could have been covered. Of the 90 minutes allowed, this workshop took between 45-60 while all other lasted the full time limit. Oh well.

Our final class of the day was
Whittney Matlock's Male Member, a review of techniques from the Body Electric school in bio-male genital massage. I dare say that Q enjoyed this workshop. :)

This completes my review of the DO:WF workshops, as they ended on Sunday afternoon. My next and final DO:WF blog will share my personal breakdown and breakthrough of that Sunday evening and the way in which the WF workshops made it possible.

M. Makael Newby, 2010 - All Rights Reserved -

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the mention, and thanks for the DO review, it was indeed a fabulous weekend.