Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

For most people in western societies and in many other cultures around the world, a successful relationship is one that lasts “forever”.

But this is an inadequate definition for many reasons.

(more…)

Rigging, Load Ratings, and Suspension

Posted: September 13, 2019 by Isaac Cross in Uncategorized

I am not a rope person. I don’t do rope suspensions.

In kink, however, we often have to draw from sources of information that are designed for similar applications. I think that theater is one of the best analogies for a rope suspension scene.

It just so happens that I worked professionally as a theater technician for a number of years. The information below comes primarily from the Backstage Handbook and the Stage Rigging Handbook, two excellent sources of information for anyone interest in the subject of rigging. However, I have links to online resources along the way as well.

In other words, while I am not a “rope person”, I did dangle very heavy things (and even sometimes people) over other people’s heads for a living, so I have some idea of what I’m talking about.

Here is the question being addressed (Paraphrased):

Many people in the rope community say that every part of a suspension rig requires a load capacity (rating) of at least 10x the weight of the heaviest person that will be suspended from it. But I can’t find a formula that supports that.

Short answer.

There isn’t one.

The formulas tell us that roughly 3x is the safe load capacity. And since manufacturers also buffer their numbers, the load rating on a piece of equipment will likely be well below the weight at which it will actually fail. So if you set up your rig at 3x or 4x the max static weight that will be hung from the system, you will probably be ok.

But if you want to be extra safe, at very little cost, kicking that up to 10x shows that the safety of your bottom matters to you.

Resultant Force

If you are hoisting your bottom (Pulling on the loose end of the rope to lift them up off the ground) then the formulas will tell you that you need a load capacity of, at minimum, 2x the weight of the bottom for a hoist at direct downward pull or 1.907x at a 35 degree angle. This is called Resultant Force.

Variable Affecting Resultant Force

This formula does not include the friction coefficient or account for other factors which can increase the force necessary to lift the object, and can increase the weight capacity to well above 2x the weight of the person.

Weight of Suspension Equipment

Also necessary to consider is the fact that the rigging itself has weight, which is applied upward (here referring to direction of systemic force, not necessarily in the opposite direction of gravity) in the system, so if your suspension ring and pulleys and clips and rope all weigh 10-20 lbs, that is all added to the calculation as well.

Dynamic Weight and Shock Force

That formula also assumes that the load is completely static, and that the force on the line is equal to their weight, this is rarely true. A drop of as little as 3 inches (called shock force) for an average weight person (80kg, 175 pounds) will add about 134 pounds (approximately 600 newtons) of force to your line. (Formulas for these calculations are gravitational potential energy and work-energy principle. That three inch drop can easily occur if the bottom is squirming, and you would do well to calculate for 6 inch (+263 pounds) or 12 inch (+526 pounds) drops to be safe. This calculator works well, but you will have to convert from pounds and inches to kilograms and meters and then convert back from newtons to force pounds.

This means that an acceptable safe minimum for a suspension point under just normal conditions, with average or below-average weighted individuals, with nothing unexpected happening, is roughly 3-4x, or about 1000lbs.

The Give-a-Shit Buffer

Increasing the load capacity of your suspension rig and it’s various components is relatively easy and inexpensive. So if you care about your bottoms (and I am assuming that you do), why not go ahead and increase the rating to 4000lbs or more, just to be safe?

What If I’m Wrong?

Some rope folks call bullshit and say that 2x the weight of the bottom is more than enough. Some even go so far as to say that the weight of the bottom plus 50-60 pounds is plenty.

I think the important question to ask is what happens if I’m wrong.

The bottom line is that if I am wrong and I use a 4000 pound capacity when a 300 pound capacity would have been enough, it means that I are being more safe than I need to be and everyone walks away happy, though it cost me a few bucks more than it needed to.

If I go with the lower capacity, though, and I am wrong, it means that I am putting partners at risk of serious injury or death because I’m too lazy and/or cheap to use something better.

Given the relative consequences of the two, I prefer to err on the side of being too safe.

Note on Intention:

I want to clarify that I am not trying to be the safety police of the scene. In fact, I have been actively and aggressively criticized over the years for being willing to teach both a safer method for something and a less-safe method side-by-side, one of many things that earned me the moniker of Unsafe Asshole in certain groups on Fetlife. I tend to draw from the philosophy applied in comprehensive sex-ed that giving more information and letting people decide is the best way to go, and has the best results in the long run.

When you treat people like children by withholding information from them and simply telling them what the “right” thing to do is, they tend not to trust you and make worse decisions for it. That’s why areas with “abstinence only” sex-ed also tend to have the highest teen pregnancy rates.

While I don’t do rope suspensions, I am hoping to begin doing hook suspensions soon, and so these numbers were important to me as I began my research. This post is, more or less, the thought process that I used to arrive at what I felt was a comfortable safety margin (10x), but I also wanted to be clear that someone using 3-5x was not necessarily being unsafe, since I have seen that accusation being made in some circles.

More than anything, I want people to have information from good, credible sources so they can make informed decisions about their own safety and the safety of their partners, instead of dogma passed from others that may or may not be reliable.

Is Your “Preference” a Prejudice?

Posted: August 20, 2019 by Isaac Cross in Uncategorized

A quick guide:

Perfectly Acceptable:
Dating only the people you happen to be attracted to

Not Wrong, but Probably a Sign of Conscious or Unconscious Bias and Prejudice that is Worth Examining for Yourself:
Quietly filtering out whole demographics of people, in advance, from your dating pool and telling yourself it’s just a “preference”. (E.g. Trans people, black people, low IQ, ETC)

Bigoted and Problematic:
Loudly advertising those “preferences” in order to prevent one of the untouchables from mistakenly interacting with you under the misguided assumption that their “type” is worthy of a conversation or consideration.

A Defense of Hedonistic Kink (Rough Take)

Posted: August 11, 2019 by Isaac Cross in Uncategorized

This “Rough Take” post has been published without review, editing, or revision. Rough Take posts are designed to communicate thoughts and ideas that haven’t been fully developed in order to spark discussion and responses which may fuel later, more refined articles. 


What is Hedonism

Hedonism is an ethical theory that pleasure (we’ll define what we mean by pleasure in a minute) is the highest good and proper aim of human life.

In the more casual usage, hedonism means indulging in the senses. People use it to describe those who are unashamed of their love of food and music and sex and aroma and everything else that feels good.

And hedonism gets a bad rap.

The primary objection relates to the first, more formal definition. Of course there are other sources of meaning and other worthy pursuits in life besides just feeling good as often as possible. Living in the moment, achieving meaningful accomplishments, mastery of skills, preservation of knowledge. Any number of things can be a source of meaning and fulfillment. So that criticism is valid. (Google Robert Nozick’s experience machine thought-experiment for more on that)

But lets never mind the formal definition and focus on the other, most common use of the word. When we leave the formal definition behind, we no longer have to defend the position that pleasure is the only or at least the most important goal in life.

Instead, the modern hedonist says that we should strive first and foremost for pleasure, as did their predecessors, but with an additional emphasis on personal freedom and equality.

And for the average person ascribing to hedonism, this could result any any one of a variety of lifestyles. But I want to talk about the path that might lead one to kink and BDSM. And I want to talk about the derision that hedonistic kinksters face in a BDSM/Leather community that so often (and so ironically) emphasizes formality and rigidity and conformity. (more…)

Primary Rights Don’t Exist

Posted: February 17, 2019 by Isaac Cross in Uncategorized

In a poly group, a person posted asking [paraphrased] “if I’m the primary, shouldn’t I have the right to sex without a condom instead of other people.”

A discussion ensued debating whether the primary is entitled to that specific right or what the specific wording of their negotiated rule was, etc.

My response was:

First of all, if your main concern is sexual health, then you should use condoms with everyone, including your primary. If you are willing to do something less than that, then you’ve decided you happiness is more important that sexual health and that’s the standard you’ve established.

Second, y’all talk about “primary” like it’s a real thing with defined “rights”.

It isn’t.

It’s something a bunch of people made up so that they were allowed to go have outside sex but still keep control over their partner. So they didn’t have to deal with the obvious insecurity and lack of trust in their relationship.

Because if your relationship is solid, you trust each other, and you respect each other, then you don’t need primary rights, rules, or restrictions.

If you find yourself asking questions about what you are entitled to as a primary, it’s a great sign that their are much deeper problems with your relationship that you should probably resolve before bleeding your problems onto innocent and unsuspecting outside partners.

You have a right to say “if you have unprotected sex with others, then you may not have unprotected sex with me”.

You have a right to say, “having unprotected sex with you is important to me, so please don’t compromise that.”

You do not have the right to tell them how they are allowed to have sex with others just because you met them first.

If they agree to a “rule”, they have the right to revoke their agreement or renegotiate it whenever they want.

If they break it without telling you, that’s a problem, especially if it’s something that could compromise your safety. But I didn’t see anything in this discussion that implied that’s what happened.

Instead, it sounds like someone decided to reassert their control over their own body and the OP is upset because they think they own that part of him now.

But they don’t.

So they should either accept that and talk to them like an autonomous adult to find way forward that will make both of you happy or leave and find someone so insecure that they will do anything to appease you, even if it means sacrificing their own happiness or the right to control their own body.

But the TLDR is that there is no such thing as primary rights. It’s not a real thing.

So the basic answer to the original post is just a simple “NO”.

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.

Isaac Cross’s First Keynote Speech

Posted: January 20, 2018 by Isaac Cross in Uncategorized
Now that the official event schedule has been posted, I can proudly announce that I have been asked to give the keynote speech for Beyond Leather this April in Ft. Lauderdale.
 
This is a big step in my “career” as an educator, and I look forward to using my time on the soap box to encourage people to build bridges and strive for compassion.
 
I look forward to seeing my Florida friends, my presenter colleagues, as well as a sizable Colorado contingent that is attending and/or teaching at the event this year.