Mailbag Monday: Cell Popping, Poly, and Speech Restrictions

Posted: June 9, 2014 by Isaac Cross in Advice, Learn Something, Technique

First of All, I want to go ahead a celebrate having over 100 followers.

(Don't Play Drunk)

(Don’t Play Drunk)

Now, since it’s Monday, here are some quick answers from to questions that I have received.

Or… In some cases, questions that someone asked in my general vicinity or somewhere on the internet. But I am answering them here, because that’s where I am.

The questions have been paraphrased or otherwise edited down to the essential details.

Do you Have a Question? Drop it at the Contact Me Page, or you can post to any of the social network platforms listed to the left. (Unless you are on your phone or something, in which case, you can find he list here.


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I’m Gonna Pop Some Cells…

My partner and I are currently in the research phase of cell popping. We do have someone in the area who does practice this that we can discuss it with, but I’m wanting to read up on things like what can be used as implements as well as precautions/materials to have on hand and what not. Any suggestions?

Cell popping is when you heat up a piece of metal and then touch it to the skin, which causes the water in the skin cell(s) to rapidly expand and the cell explodes, which can be heard as a faint “pop”. This leaves a small dot on the skin which can last for a week or so or be permanent, depending on the person. These small dots are usually done in meaningful patterns to create a “brand” of sorts.

The most common tools I have seen used for this are, Dissection probes, which you can also get with with curved needles, and a sufficient heat source. Some use blowtorches, or high-heat lighters, but I prefer to use Sterno. It’s cheap, easy to transport, and is a little less risky in big public spaces, IMO. I also like the Sterno because I can have several needles heating at once and rotate them out, so there is no need to pause during the actual work.

I have also seen people use electrician’s probes in place of the dissection needles, but since the tools were not designed for extreme heat, I do not know what the materials do and how safe they are.

Ultimately, whatever you pick for the actual tool needs to be something that can withstand the heat of the flame without degrading and without transferring that heat to the part you hold. If you use dissection needles mounted in wood, pay attention during the work, to make sure the heat doesn’t melt the glue holding the needle in the wood, which can make it fall out, causing obvious issues.

As for the effects, everyone’s skin reacts differently. For some, the marks will no longer be visible after a few weeks, for others, they marks will be permanent. Assume the latter and make sure you are comfortable with having this on you for life. Even if you can’t see it normally, it can show up when you get a tan, since the scar tissue will color differently.

The pain level is generally less than most other BDSM activities, and has a relatively low risk profile. What makes this activity edgy-er is the permanent potential.

The Softer Side of Poly

My beloved wife and I have opened our relationship to expressing physical love & intimacy with people we know & feel that magnetism with. We’ve agreed to limit sexual activities to oral. I’ve learned that in the swinger lifestyle this is referred to as “soft swap”. Is this common in poly circles?

I don’t want to get pedantic, but I am going to. Poly is short for polyamory, which means (albeit through mixed etymology) “many loves”. And while what you are looking for might be accurately described as a form of non-monogamy, I would not, personally, call it “poly” simply because you feel it necessary to define your secondary relationships under the restriction of being “physical love & intimacy”, which tells me that you are uncomfortable with the notion of a secondary partner sharing emotional love and intimacy with you, which is what poly usually means. If that is not accurate, than you might reconsider how you are describing it and your emphasis on physicality.

Now, I am not trying to tell you what you are or aren’t, because I am certainly not any kind of authority on that. But I do want you to understand what other people usually mean with those words and how they might interpret your usage of them. Because if you go out and tell people that you are poly and searching for partners, most people, including prospective partners, are going to assume that means both physicality and general dating-type, couple-y stuff, and are likely to be hesitant with the physical barriers set up, as well.

Instead, you might just consider identifying as soft-swap swingers that are looking for long-term friendships with your partners. This might set up better expectations for the people you are interacting with and reduce complications. But, of course, that’s totally up to you.

In answer to your original question “Is this common in poly circles?”, my answer would have to be no. I do not personally know many, if any, poly people that set hard limits on sexual activities. Instead, most simply require some level of communication and safe methods. In a few cases, the primary partner has to approve new partners, or big steps like intercourse, but it is rarely off the table altogether. But that is just my experience.

For more on non-monogamous relationships, check out one of these recommended books:

The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships & Other Adventures

Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships

The Polyamorists Next Door: Inside Multiple-Partner Relationships and Families

Don’t Look At Me

I have always wondered how Eye and Speech restrictions work and how they are enforced, because I have no idea, can someone please help me out, any and all advice is appreciated.

Power-Exchange relationships are built on the notion of surrendering control to another person. For some, it is important to have that control apparent at all times. One simple way to do this is with a variety of speech or eye contact restrictions.

A speech restriction can be something as simple as requiring the use of a certain honorific, such as “Sir” or “Mistress, or it can be a complicated serious of protocols which require a great deal of attention to be paid to each word chosen.

“Sir. Please forgive me for interrupting you, Sir. If it pleases you, this slave would like your approval regarding the schedule for the evening, as well as the clothing that you would like this slave to wear. Is this a good time, Sir, or should this slave return later?”

Speech restriction might also simply mean that there are situations where you are not permitted to speak at all, or without permission. Similarly, restrictions may be put in place where you are never allowed to make eye contact with a dominant. Or, conversely, you may not be allowed to break eye contact during a conversation with them until you are dismissed.

In any case, these rules and protocols provide an environment which reinforces the power dynamic and a constant reminder of who is in charge. This can be a powerful tool, when applied effectively.

But as with any rules or protocols, it should not be put in place unless the dom actually cares about the behavior and intends to enforce it.

If you are interested in protocols in a power exchange relationship, you might be interested in these books:

Protocols: A Variety of Views: Power Exchange Books’ Resource Series

Becoming a Slave

Living M/s; A Book for Masters, slaves, and Their Relationships

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