The first class I attended was one on the current state of research about sexuality and kink, presented by Dr. Richard Sprott from CARAS. Having just finished my own degree, and being slightly jetlagged from traveling across the pond, this was the perfect way of starting the Shibaricon weekend, as any attempt to tie would have been a foolish one.
Sprott first did a short review of the current state of sexual research in relation to BDSM, fetish, sadomasochism etc. What transpired was that there is a lot of work done, but it is often lacking in nuance, and furthermore, still ridden by a pathological bias, especially in relation to the field of psychoanalysis and psychology. Studies on so called sexual sadism mainly feature samples which are taken from offenders, i.e people convicted of sexual violence and the like. Now, I am pretty sure I know the difference between myself and a sex offender but if these are the only studies being made, and the assumed framework is one in which this is violent pathology, and if these narratives are the dominant ones, we do have a problem. There is no denying that there are people out there that are violent, who need help, who abuse people sexually, but there needs to be a stronger and more clear divide between the narratives of pathology and the understanding of kink. Furthermore, there is actually very little done on sexual masochists, in any field. And do no get me started on those damn switches ;)
If you move towards the field of anthropology or sociology, there is much more stuff being done, and in a pretty much completely different light. As I am writing this, I cannot find all my notes from the class, so will return to this presentation sometime in the future. Needless to say, it was a very good review, which was then followed by some very interesting updates on recent research into pain, pleasure, and all of those things which kinksters like. It was a good presentation, mainly because it encouraged us to think about kink.
The next class was that of Lochai, and he spoke about the subject of Rope Intentions. That is, what do you convey, what do you wish to convey and how do you do that with rope? The intentions of rope can all swift, from day to day, and nothing is better than the other. Sometimes, we seek different things you know? Perhaps to create an object, something for pleasure, amusement, that creates a shift in the ‘us’, as the nominally human object of pleasure or practicality is removed from its position as a subject. But even then, I would guess, for me, my focus remains on those or that involved, reaching out and reaching inwards, towards lust,deep longing into dark alleyways and relying on terrifying lust or even a will to serve. These are not exclusive of each other, the objectification, the submission, tenderness, intimacy. They are just all a part of the huge pot of great that is boiling during a scene. Lochai sought to point out how we pronounce our intentions with the rope, what it is that we communicate in ways of tying, but also how that communication and the wide spectras of lust are pronounced by the rope-bottoms. To high-light this, he tied his two demo-bottoms in two completely different styles, with different rope and also got different reactions from them.
Ava was tied with palm frond; a harsh, scratchy rope, which coincidentally is really painful to even tie with, as your hands will go sore very quickly. Ava hates that kind of rope, making faces when it is taken out of the bag, reacts to it with discomfort written on every part of her body. But she still accepts it, and Lochai keeps on tying. After a while he turned towards his other demo-bottom, Duracell and starts to tie her in the completely opposite manner. It was much more close to her, with a hemp/jute rope, long movements, letting the rope caress her body, and Duracell drifted away. He kept on demonstrating different ways to interact while tying, to know your abilities, to clearly define the parameters of the scene, if it is a scene at all or if it is practice time (if this is going to effect what is happening or not). We also discuss the way in which the bottom/submissive communicates, and it is here that an interesting discussion about archetypes comes up. Lochai mentions the signal tat the person who dresses up in a school uniform sends out, how they can quite clearly be perceived as a bottom, etc. But it gets hard to resist to point out that these are assumed roles and signals, because it might as well be a school girl that cannot wait to gag the teacher with the apple she brought with her and then fuck his arse until he screams… So I tend to be careful around those archetypes, because they can as easily be something completely else. But anyhow, this class was a very good reminder of communication through body language and movement, and the presentation really got that through.
The next class was Michael Sol’s ‘Binding the bodacious’. I wanted to do more of the classes like this during the weekend, since there are so many people who find that standard ties are ones which are very tough to be in. Now, all of us know that sometimes,rope just happen, it is not planned, it is not structured from A to Z, but there are some important things to think about how we do it, and why. Sometimes, it can actually be about just doing a specific thing for the sake of it self, but most of the time, we go somewhere with our ropes because, well, we are just supposed to, almost by default. A takate kote, a hip hope and a side-suspension, over and over again. Becoming mechanical, a perhaps well-oiled machinery, but what else are we, but creatures of habit? We are also creatures who are curious and feel, each and every day we process and engage with our world, not only through a script of what we are supposed to be doing, but also through the unexpected, the unknown, that which gets our blood pumping. I’m finding myself being caught in that very easy trap of the takate kote, but it can of course be tied without being a mechanical reproduction. It probably has to be, as each and every person who you tie is different, shaped differently, moves differently, speaks and communicates with you differently. But in more than one situation, I’ve seen irritation over how someone who ties the standard can’t seem to ‘get it to work’, simply because they are trying to tie the person into a preconceived standard tie, instead of seeing the person in front of them. Worst example of this was the man who said ‘ You have too short arms’ to a playpartner of mine. ‘Too short arms’ ?! Phuleaze! I find that classes like Sol gave are very well needed. He spoke a lot about how the box-tie is dependent on the configuration of the rope-bottom, shape of the shoulders, mobility, etc. Also, there are many possibilities to tie the arms behind the back with out the common box-tie, there is indeed. For the future, this is something that I might start to dig deeper into, and try to learn much more about, as there really is a need to not just applying one set of standards upon bodies that are so different.
The class itself was good, Sol was interesting to listen to and clearly had a good appreciation of how to approach the subject and demonstrate it. Will definetely go to more classes like these next year.
These were the classes on the Friday, then there was also the play party in the evening. You can read about that here…