Archive for the ‘Advice’ Category

(The following is the keynote address delivered at the Leather Fiesta conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 11, 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.

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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. 

(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. (more…)

I was teaching a kink 101 class on Saturday and I emphasized that:

  • Power/Authority Exchange,
  • Kink / SM / Fetish Play, and
  • Sex

Are all different things and two (or more) people can enjoy one without either of the other two if that’s what works for them.

As always, it surprised some people that I would say that. And I’ve seen some people around the internet assert otherwise, so I thought I would post this here, along with the following incomplete list of clarifying statements:

– Even if YOU wouldn’t enjoy one without another, the fact is that many people do. So please stop telling people they can’t.

– Non-sexual kink is a thing and is awesome. Lots of people like it

– Many people can and do have fulfilling power exchange relationships that don’t involve kink play or sex.

– You can be a submissive without being a masochist.

– You can be a dominant without being a sadist.

– You can be a submissive and still not give consent for sex with your dominant.

– It’s ok to bottom without submitting.

– It’s ok to bottom while dominating.

– People who prefer non-kinky sex and egalitarian relationships are not less enlightened or boring. They just like a different flavor of ice cream than you do.

– You do fucking you. Find what makes you happy and someone willing to do it with you. Fuck everyone else’s conception of what things are “supposed” to be like.

– You should NEVER be expected to participate in other people’s power protocols until or unless YOU agree to.

We are all rebels against mainstream ideas of what we are supposed to be and explorers of the full breadth of the human condition. So stop trying to make others conform to your idea of what is an acceptable style of kink/relationship/dynamic.

By all means, debate what is ethical or not. Share your views on what you see as too coercive or deceptive to be considered consensual. We NEED to keep having those talks.

We NEED to keep talking about how best to achieve fulfilling relationships and sharing tools and ideas.

But we DON’T need people telling new folks that they have to submit to a dominant in order to find the fulfilling kink play or rough sex that they seek.

We DON’T need people telling new folks that they are a “real” dom or sub unless they like (or are at least willing) to do particular activities.

We DON’T need people re-enforcing the idea that there is nothing more to kink than deviant sex.

Kink is far more “normal” than people know. But it is still considered fringe because we are spending all of our time an energy keeping our community artificially small by excluding people who don’t meet our definition of “kinky enough” or they don’t kink “the right way”.

Please try to meet people where they are. Educate with compassion and remember that everyone is not necessarily looking for the same things as you, so the way you do things may not be right for them.

Stop Saying “Fluid Bonded”

Posted: July 21, 2017 by Isaac Cross in Advice, Learn Something, Philosophy

Note: Each use of the term “Fluid Bonding” in this article will link to different articles on the same topic and which are relevant to what is being discussed here. Click each one for further reading. 

I literally heard the term “fluid bonded” for the first time from the very first people I met in the community about 11 years ago. I still hear it thrown around constantly. It’s a term that means wildly different things to different people and it causes problems. So you shouldn’t use it.

The thinking behind the term goes something like this:

At a certain point in our relationship, we will decide that we matter enough to each other to stop using barriers with things like sex or blood play, after which point, we are “fluid bound/bonded”. This is both symbolic, similar to the “blood brothers” traditions of old, as well as practical (save money on condoms). In both cases, it’s supposed to represent a greater intimacy and connection and act as a sign of a “more serious” relationship.

That sounds all sweet and meaningful, right?

But here’s the thing about that. The term is only used by non-monogamous people or kinksters who play outside of there otherwise monogamous relationships. And there’s a reason for that, a reason which is the first of several problems with it.

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Guest Post: Exploring Fears

Posted: May 2, 2017 by Isaac Cross in Advice, Guest Posts, Learn Something, Philosophy

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post comes to us from Natalia Sombra of South Florida. We met at the Beyond Leather convention in Ft. Lauderdale. I loved this piece she wrote about an experience she had over the weekend and asked to share it with you all. +Isaac


This weekend at Beyond Leather I had the enormous privilege to meet wonderful new people, build stronger bonds within current friendships and overall have a shit load of fun. (One metric shit load is an actual unit of measurement equal to 1/2 of one metric fuck ton)

For anyone who knows me well enough, they know that I like to explore forms of play I intend to do as a Dominant in a scene by getting a little taste of it myself.
However there is one form of play I hadn’t bottomed for that I really enjoy and I had the opportunity to do so this weekend.

Enter, I head on confronted my fear of being stuck with needles and was reminded of the overwhelming effects complete vulnerability can have on ones mind and emotions. (more…)

On “Not Being Enough”

Posted: April 26, 2017 by Isaac Cross in Advice, Learn Something, Philosophy

I’ve always loved the idea of poly. I love that what you can’t give your partner another can and visa versa. I don’t believe that, that level of love can only exist for one person. That being said, I obviously haven’t gone poly yet for a reason. Like everyone, I have insecurities and I would say my biggest insecurity comes from not being good enough, be it sexually, emotionally, intimately, etc. Now, I know you don’t have to be the best to be good enough, but I think even with that knowledge I still have that mindset. I have to be so good that my partner does not desire anything I give them from any other person and I have to be good at everything, so there in nothing to seek in another person. What do i do?

I see this question a lot, or something like it, from folks new to poly and struggling with the emotions that brings. Mainstream culture teaches us that co-dependence is virtuous and that one person should be everything to their partners. So when a partner wants more than just you, it can feel like you are inadequate as a partner. But society’s emphasis on co-dependence is misguided.

The short answer is that you will be much happier (poly or not) if you recognize that you can be “enough” without being everything to them. (more…)