UPCOMING ONLINE CLASSES


XCBDSM is THRILLED to announce that we are now offering online webinars of select workshops.

We will be posting them here, as they become available, as well as across all social media platforms.

You can see a list of offered classes anytime by clicking the image.

Or you can subscribe to our email list to receive invites to classes as they are posted.

We are also offering two options for community groups and venues.

Webcast Public Classes

If you would like to host an event locally to view and participate in one or more of our classes, we will be happy to work with you to set that up. In general, we ask that proper video and audio are available for the number of people who will be attending, and that an experienced organizer be in charge of operating the computer during the class in order to pass on questions from the group or lead any breakout discussions during the workshop.

The group registration in online classes is generally cost effective for groups of 10 or more.

Contact us for more information

Custom Private Classes

If you are a community group or venue that would love to have live education from an international sex and kink educator, but can’t afford the cost of flying one in, XCBDSM will work with your group to set up custom private online webinars streamed into your venue. In addition to our core faculty of world-class educators, we also work with a number of other presenters around the country to arrange these events, as well. So if there is a Presenter you’ve always wanted to see, but couldn’t afford to host, let us know and we’ll work with you to arrange it.

Custom private classes are generally cost effective for groups of at least 20-30, but we can work with smaller groups, as well.

Contact us for more information

(The following is the keynote address delivered at the Leather Fiesta conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico on April 28, 2018)
© Isaac Cross XCBDSM@GMAIL.COM

Here’s a challenge: I want you to believe what I am about to tell you. Not just hear it, not just understand it, but believe it. It’s a fact that you already know to be true, but have never been able to fully accept, and it’s this: you are going to die. You, the person listening to me right now, are going to die.

It’s difficult even to imagine, isn’t it? Take a moment and try to picture what it’s like to not exist. You can’t do it. You’re Imagining darkness, black. But there will be no black. There will be no color because there will be no you to perceive it. And your mind recoils from that idea. It’s basically unable to conceive of its own nonexistence. So, it concludes that it is impossible, that you’ll live forever. But you won’t. All things end. All motion slows. All heat becomes cold. Life is an eddy in that current of entropy. A brief chemical reaction that lights up the darkness and then, it’s fuel spent, dissipates back to nothing. Just like you will.

Your body is a marvelous and intricate machine, built out of millions of interconnected, fragile systems. And as you age, each begins to slowly but surely deteriorate and break down. When one fails, a doctor may be able to repair it, but at some point, there will be too many interlocking failures to proceed. And like a cascade of dominoes, your joints, your eyes, your heart, your lungs, your memory, your entire body will fail. It will happen. And while it is difficult to hear this truth, it is essential that you accept it. Because every second that goes by in which you don’t is a second of your precious and finite life that you risk wasting.

So I’m Going to say this one more time, and this time, try as hard as you can to believe me. You, yes you, will die, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

Read the rest of this entry »

Coming Out As Everything

Posted: October 11, 2018 by Isaac Cross in Uncategorized

Coming out day.

It’s always been a bit strange for me. I know that I’m not straight, but I don’t really know what else to say about myself.

I enjoy sex and kink play and intimacy with men and masculine people and I regularly take advantage of opportunities for that.

But I don’t find myself sexually attracted to men and masculine people. My sexual attraction seems to be almost exclusively triggered by feminine energy/appearance.

OR

By hot kink regardless of the people involved. For me, kink overrides everything else about my sexuality. It is my primary sexual orientation.

I have begun feeling more comfortable calling myself queer, though I do so very rarely because (as I’ve heard so many others express), I often don’t feel queer enough.

And even today. I am hesitant to post this at all because I discuss kink as my primary driver and I’ve been told that kink is not something that ought to be discussed or announced as part of “coming out day” and I ought to leave the space for LGBT people to discuss only LGBT issues and not being poly or kink into it.

On the one hand, I understand. While I believe that being poly or kinky is often just as intrinsic and innate to a person’s identity and expression as gender or sexual orientation, I also understand that poly/kinky people have not endured the same persecution and do not face the same threats as people do for being gay or trans.

But as someone who is all of those things, I think that have a right to own my sexuality and to claim space for it in my own personal spaces and circles. And I believe others have that right, as well.

So for those of who who want to “come out” or talk openly about your sexuality, no matter what it happens to be centered around, know that I welcome and respect you and I would be happy to talk to about that today, or any day, without judgement.

Ethical Kink

Posted: September 25, 2018 by Isaac Cross in Advice, Learn Something, Philosophy
Consent is absolutely mandatory, but what you do is not automatically OK just because you have consent. 
 
I do not have the right to tell you not to do something I view as irresponsible, but I do have the right to choose not to be involved with it. and in fact, I believe I have a responsibility and an obligation to decline participation in a scene that I think will cause harm, even to those who have consented to it. 
 
Those who see me doing crazy things or listen to my stories may be surprised to learn that I turn down invitations to scenes more often than I accept them. Often it is because I don’t have time or energy to spare, or because I simply don’t think the scene is a good fit for me. But often enough, it is because the scene being proposed is one that I believe has unacceptable risk and because the individual(s) involved (most commonly the bottom in the proposed scene) is unwilling to compromise to make the scene less risky.
 
The late David Stein is the one who convinced me to adopt this value. Talking with him and reading his writings caused me to entirely overhaul my presentation on BDSM ethics, as well as my personal approach, under the central guiding principle of “First, do no harm to oneself or others.” Before I encountered this idea (about four years ago), I must admit that I was guilty of participating in both scenes and relationship dynamics that did not meet this definition of ethical. I cannot change this. But I can work to do and be better and to advocate for others to do so, as well.

I encourage you to read Stein’s article titled, “How to Do the Right Kinky Thing- Ethical Principles for BDSM

 
It changed me. And I hope that it might guide you, as well. 

Nov 9-11 ~ |X|C|BDSM| at Leather Fiesta

Posted: August 15, 2018 by Isaac Cross in About Me, Events, Life Log
  • Nov 9-11
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • XCBDSM’s Isaac and Jordyn each selected to present at Leather Fiesta
  • XCBDSM’s Isaac Cross will be Keynote Speaker

Isaac Cross – XCBDSM

Jordyn – XCBDSM

XCBDSM presenters Isaac and Jordyn have accepted an invitation to present at the 2018 Leather Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM. Isaac has also agreed to present the keynote address to conclude the weekend. The subject of the speech has yet to be determined.

While the event schedule has not been finalized, the following classes have been selected:

Isaac Cross

  • What You Forgot To Negotiate
  • The Subtle Art of Predicament Bondage

Jordyn

  • Orgasm Play
  • Dynamic Service

Neither presenter has taught in NM before and are looking forward to meeting a new community.

This post will be updated when the final schedule is released.

Losing My Religion… Again

Posted: August 13, 2018 by Isaac Cross in About Me, Learn Something, Life Log, Philosophy

Since the original posting of this article, we have added an additional excerpt from Skip Chasey, found at the end of the article. 

“Christianity is my faith. leather is my religion.”

Someone said that during a discussion group a few days ago and I instantly had a flood of realizations about myself.

In my keynote speech at Beyond Leather earlier this year, I talked a little bit about leaving the church that I was raised in because of the rigid nature of the traditions and the unwillingness of the older generations to accommodate the younger ones.

I have faith. And I encourage others to cultivate and celebrate their own, whatever it might be.

But religion makes me uncomfortable. When the faithful come together and codify unverifiable beliefs into in dogma which is then enforced onto others or fashioned into tests measuring worthiness or piety, I am hesitant to participate. And when that religion becomes aggressively evangelical or increasingly imposing, I can’t help but push back and hold ground.

Fundamentalism (strict adherence to the basic principles of any subject or discipline) in any form is inherently oppressive. The central core is always designed to suppress new ideas in favor of the old ideas and stories (largely myths) of people long gone from the world.

That’s why I left religion. And until recently, I didn’t realize that I’ve since been treading along the edges of a different one.

“Christianity is my faith. Leather is my religion.”

Reading that sentence crystallized, for me, what has always held me back from really diving into leather, despite being SO compatible on paper.

I sometimes wear leather. I live by a code very similar to “leather ideology”. But leather is not a part of my identity.

Because I don’t do religion.

And identifying as leather seems to come with all the hallmarks of religion that drove me out of the one I was raised with.

For starters, its modern form bears little resemblance to its founding form. Leather was created as a subset of the gay community, mostly valuing things completely different from the modern heterosexual/pan community’s version of leather. And as a result, I don’t feel comfortable contributing to what I view as a co-opt and misappropriation of something that isn’t mine.

Second, and more important, I don’t care to be in yet another group that is going to police my behavior and insist that I follow their version of a set of traditions that were invented only a few decades ago and distorted through oral tradition. Much like with any religion, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with being “leather”, but in my observation, the more devout someone is, regardless of the religion, the more they care about my behavior and the less they live up to what they preach.

This isn’t new. Even in the days of the “Old Guard”, rifts between denominations formed. Guy Baldwin, considered by most to be among the foremost experts on leather history, writes in an article on Leatherati:

…in time, considerable differences of opinion slowly began to emerge about exactly how certain things were supposed to be done. “Earning” one’s leathers happened in a very formal way in one clan, but not so formally in another, for example. In some ways, this was a dim reflection of the inter-service rivalries that existed between the Army and the Navy, for example, during World War II, and still exist to some extent. And this may be why some people become so passionate about the right way to do things in the leather world. Tradition, after all, had to be respected and preserved!

This is the leather version of Protestants versus Catholics. And with the alt-right nazis growing in influence all around us, I simply do not have time to participate in a squabble about which is the correct way to exercise our sexual freedom. Seriously. Fuck all of that.

And even if there were widespread agreement on what it means to be leather (there isn’t), it would still be something that make me itchy. Eight years ago, I talked about trying to push my way passed my reluctance and try to embrace leather and its traditions. I no longer feel willing to do this.

Because, as I expressed last April in my keynote:

A lot of formal leather protocol is hot as fuck. But you’ve layered so much bullshit over it that it feels more like our parents’ religion rather than a radical rebellion.

When I wrote that, I merely meant it as a metaphor. But now I realize that this religious undertone to leather is, in fact, all too literal. And I won’t subject myself to another religion. Not in a church, and definitely not in the dungeon.

As I’ve been discussing these ideas with friends over the last few days, many have objected. The zealots are merely the most noticeable, they insist, and do not represent the leather population as a whole.

While I am sure this is true, I can only trust my experience. And that experience includes being told that I can’t be taken seriously as a kink presenter if I don’t act “more leather”. I lost the only title contest I’ve ever run for (a contest whose advertised mission emphasizes community service above appearance or popularity), in part, because I didn’t wear “enough” leather. In countless moments, small and large, I have been told that I MUST adhere to precepts of leather, and to other people’s standards, in order to have a voice or be respected. That is my experience stretching back over the last 12 years in the community. If the zealots were a small minority, this wouldn’t be true.

In his 2014 Keynote at Southwest Leather Conference, Race Bannon said:

I hear a constant drone of complaints about how our scene isn’t like it used to be (which of course is what change is all about), yet people are so stuck in their rigid views and habits that finding creative solutions to invigorate our scene seem lacking… I have answered one too many emails, phone calls or messages from a disheartened newcomer who has had their dreams and sexuality crushed because they were told in no uncertain terms they were doing it wrong, when they were doing it just fine all along.

“Christianity is my faith. Leather is my religion.”

I have faith. I have my code. But it’s mine alone. Not because it’s tradition. Not because it’s expected. But because it’s what I believe and how I want to live. From what I understand, that is at the heart of what leather was originally meant to be and represent.

In a 2014 article, “The Truth About The Old Guard” Race Bannon writes:

The guidelines for being a good leather or kinky person are essentially the same as being a good person. Be nice. Respect others. Watch out for each other. Be curious. Learn what you need to know to best enjoy yourself. Share what you know generously. That’s about it. The rest is all just a lot of noise that is more about how individuals choose to express their erotic selves than it is about how things should be done by others.

The central core of leather is something I should be eager to identify with. But much like the Christianity I was brought up with, my view of leather has been too tainted by dogma, false mythology, and fundamentalism for me to exist within it and be happy.

There are a great many leather people that I deeply respect and who I trust implicitly. They walk their paths with integrity and this is by no means meant to be an indictment of them, their leather identity, or the way they live.

I have no objection to leather, it’s culture, or it’s adherents. I share space, meals, and intimacy with them frequently.

But I don’t do religion. So leather isn’t me… for now.


EDIT 8/16/2018: Yesterday, with the help of Patrick Mulcahey, I was able to get in touch with Skip Chasey and obtain a copy of his 2005 Leather Leadership Conference Keynote address, entitled: “Vision, Passion & Direction: The Right Stuff for Authentic Leaders”, along with permission to share it here. You can download the entire address below.

Skip Chasey 2005 LLC Keynote: “Vision, Passion & Direction”

I’m really happy to give this speech an online home. I couldn’t find it anywhere when searching for it to prepare this article. Hopefully the next time someone is looking for it, they can find it here.

In particular, I wanted to share this passage:

When spiritual teachings and practices—and that includes SM and our leather culture—are fashioned into a communal doctrine (a dogma, really), pollution sets in. As the community then evolves into an institution, the pollution increases and the underlying intention of the group’s leaders quickly deteriorates from that of facilitating the spiritual awakening of the students, to maintaining the institution at all costs. When that happens, the community’s pursuit of freedom— freedom in its most profoundly spiritual sense—is pushed aside by a toxic tribal dynamic of coerced reverence, oppression of new ideas, and the banishment of those who would question both the dogma and the authority of those who created it. Sound familiar? It’s only because some —usually just a few—of the community’s leaders still have the right stuff that anything good comes out of our churches. Or, for that matter, out of our SM clubs and other leather organizations.

XCBDSM has added a new, full-day intensive to our list of workshops and we will be offering it for the first time on July 7th in Denver, Colorado.

The workshop will cover all the in-and-outs (get it) of play piercing from the basic to the extreme.

For information about the class, CLICK HERE.

(The following is the keynote address delivered at the Beyond Leather convention in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on April 28, 2018)
© Isaac Cross XCBDSM@GMAIL.COM

Egbert van der Poel - Fire in a Village

Egbert van der Poel – Fire in a Village

There is an African proverb that says if a child is not embraced by the village, they will burn it down just to feel its warmth.

When I attended my first play party at age 21, an older gentleman remarked to me that young people like myself were ruining the kink community, a sentiment I’ve heard echoed more times than I can count within my own story and that of nearly every young kinkster I know.

Many of us young people are feeling a bit cold and we can’t help but notice how flammable the village looks these days. Read the rest of this entry »