We do a lot of things in life with conscious intent, forethought, and planning. In the main, sex isn't one of them. We usually start thinking about sexual relations because we are feeling sexual-the thinking is not leading the charge, it is following. It is also notoriously hard to think clearly when a good part of the blood supply has moved to nether regions. If we used a clear head in our sex life, society would look radically different. We would individually choose the partner who was more sensible for us, instead of the one who made our blood race, and wed have the exact number of children we chose, instead of the number our hormones chose for us. Rich people would only allow their children to marry rich people, Even though they try that today, you can count on a sizable proportion of Capulets marrying people from the other side of the tracks. This is necessary thing in the long run as nature needs the cross-fertilization necessary to keep the gene pool from going stagnant. We might as well start from the proposition that your IQ is going to lower in direct proportion to the stiffness of your erection.This leads to the idle question of whether you'd rather be a moron with a great sex life, or a frigid genius. Having been neither, I feel well qualified to have opinions about both. I am, in fact, a sex educator. This term is about as close to a self-canceling phrase as it gets. Military intelligence, anyone?
A person in any walk of life should start by noticing which way the wind is blowing, so to speak. Raise the tide of hormones and you can predict hurricane or at least gale force winds blowing the chances of remembering much education right out of the picture. I speak not of the pictures of Gale Force, the noted exotic dancer, but of what you might remember about your sex education while on a date with her. Or, come to think of it, her brother-he'll go for just about anything too. Why bother with sex education if you can't even remember your own name when you get excited? Being notoriously windy myself, I like to blow the other way. It CAN be done; you can think and feel at the same time...it just takes practice.
Before I give a lecture/demo on creative sensual and sexual play, I like to talk about ground rules. First among these are: You must be over 21 to Ride This Ride. Whether you are reading this or hearing it in a lecture hall, I insist that there be no teen-agers or children in the room. Like many of my ground rules, this one is nonnegotiable.
The second ground rule I operate by is No Drugs. If a person has to rely on recreational substances to loosen up or relax, I don't want to share my ideas about creative and inventive sex play with them: they are an accident waiting to happen. It's hard enough to think and feel at the same time without adding drugs. Yes, the bondage and S&M and creative sex community (call it what you will) may have a reputation about being permissive in this area, but who cares? Taking drugs is dangerous and stupid...and in my dungeon we start off with a clear head.
Thirdly there is the issue of safety: nothing I do or teach should physically harm anybody. This third ground rule usually comes out as "No harm done, no exceptions." The only consequences I am looking to cause are lingering euphoria, profound soreness, and a need for pizza. Those partners who want a permanent mark as a memento of our scene will have to look elsewhere. I like to play tender and I like to play rough, but I believe in returning a person in one piece, in perfect working order.
Rounding out the Big Four ground rules is Informed Consent. This is an important concept, and I like to spend some time trying to make it clear. I believe your partner has the right of consent in all things....to agree to or to veto anything you have in mind. Consent doesn't happen just once, as a discrete event. A person shouldn't have to be put in the position of having their message of "Yes, lets get sexual with each other" mean, "Yes to everything you might want to do, and go ahead, invite your friends, burn the house down, scare the horses." A Top or a Dominant partner should not take a "Yes" as a blank check to be written out for as much as possible, if only for the fun of watching it bounce.
This does not mean that every trip has to be conducted with your foot a fraction of an inch next to the brakes. It doesn't mean that every trip has to be played with a safe word, a pre-agreed signal for the Top to stop. A Top has got to provide real leadership, and find that line between the annoying habit of asking for reassurance every two minutes and wanton rape and pillage. I like to lead my partner on a guided tour of their own central nervous system, and essentially torture them into an orgasm or three. This requires a fair amount of information to be given to the bottom before he can give informed consent. This also requires a considerable amount of trust on the part of the bottom partner-but that trust can be withdrawn, and at any moment.
Not every rule or law has its exception, but this one does. It goes by the awkward name of "Consensual Non-Consent". This is where the bottom partner agrees in advance to be brought to the point where he will be saying (or, more likely yelling) "Stop! Stop!" but he doesn't want the Top to stop at all. Consensual Non-Consent should never be assumed, it should be talked out as such excessive length beforehand that there is less chance of misunderstanding. This form of Edge-Play is absolutely not for beginners and not for most of the rest of us either. Every instance of Consensual Non-Consent has to be negotiated and agreed to or its just rape. Even when the agreement is as clear as you can get it in advance, humans are such complex animals that the possibility of misunderstanding is huge.
Consider the following semi-fictional dialog: "Yes, I know I said, yes, yes, do anything and don't listen to me, but I didn't know you were going to film it....or I didn't know you were going to use the electrical devices....or I didn't know you were going to call the dogs in (or the neighbors, or the neighbor's dogs, etc.) I didn't want that!" Its cold comfort to point out that anything usually means anything and to ask what other language besides English shall we use? If there has been a breach of trust, the Tops have got to consider themselves responsible and do a better job of informed consent. Being accused of rape is serious. A Top has got to consider whether a partner has the stability and wit to truly understand what Consensual Non-Consent actually means, and whether they can be trusted to give it, and keep to it. This trust goes both ways, and if Consensual Non-Consent doesn't make you at least somewhat nervous, on bottom OR on Top, there is a screw loose. In case of doubt, don't, particularly when consent issues are involved.
This issue of communication is central to sex education. Consider the following singles ad:
Impossibly fussy and demanding bottom, wants dedicated attention 24/7, high technique sexual play, respecting my incredibly complex sensitivities, but I won't tell you what they are. Telepathic Tops only need apply.
Some of us have met this author, in several different guises. Some people don't even like to talk before sex. Perhaps they feel it ruins the mystery...it certainly can. "First we are going to do 17 minutes if simulated foreplay, followed by a forced entry, insincere remarks and a premature climax followed by hours of recriminations" Isn't it romantic? If that is the Tops idea of talk, maybe it's not such a good idea. It's better for the Top, or more active partner, whatever we call it, to assume that even if talking before sex can convey useful information, there's no need to wait till the last minute to begin the romance.
Let us also consider the word, and concept of seduction In its most negative aspects it means talking a person into something, usually dropping their clothes and their guard and their better judgment. If the Top has a win/lose paradigm in mind, seduction isn't about emotional intimacy at all, it's about the orgasm. At its best, seduction is warming a person up to wanting what you have to give, and setting the stage for a dance that is done together, step by step.
I'm going to discuss bondage from the point of view of the Top, the person responsible for the tying up...or down, or sideways. The Top is more or less responsible for the experience the bottom is going to have, and should consider how much power the bondage gives him. The bottom is going to feel his experience magnified, and is going to feel exposed, vulnerable, and sensitive. His time sense is likely to feel speeded up, particularly in the beginning-if the Top accounts for this it goes a long way towards getting him to relax. Bondage gives the magnification of physical sensations similar to drugs but without the side effects and hangovers...unless rope burn can be considered a hangover. If a Top starts more gently that he would have without the bondage, relaxation will usually follow. For some reason, many on the bottom expect that all hell is going to break loose the minute they are tied, and previously, maybe it has. If a Top wants to cause fear, instead of relaxation, he has to bear in mind that bondage is going to energize even the mildest threat. Fear will snowball rapidly when the bottom is tied, and it's better for beginners to go for relaxation instead. Only very experienced Tops should consider playing with fear, and be ready to deal with possible prior abuse issues to come up.
After the scene is over, it ain't over....that is to say, there's going to be fallout. It's a responsible Top who will take care to see that his partner has a gentle re-entry into what is usually known as reality. Those of us who have been living in a dream world for decades may have trouble relating, but it isn't really fair for the Top to say "BYOAC"---Bring Your Own AfterCare. It's commonly considered good form for the leader of a scene to solicitously guide his partner to a vertical position and consciousness, able to stand on his own feet and face the world on his own. Bolting up after your orgasm and declaring, "That was great! Where's a towel? Where's my pizza? And, don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out!" ruins the afterglow. Take it easy, slow down, and help each other out-after all, waking reality has real speed bumps, and worse... Also, remember that how well you treat your partner after the fact determines a lot whether you receive a nice note with red roses, jewelry, or slashed tires.