Category Archives: Technique

Aftercare

Aftercare is affectionate care and attention following any type of traumatic or mentally challenging event.

D/s relationships are engaged with a passion and intensity that are often so strong that they can strip away at the barriers and defenses that we normally use to protect ourselves from exactly those extremes. To ‘feel’ that intensity means that we are not ‘as safe’. To some extent we have stepped across our own thresholds of security and exposed some or all parts of our inner selves to the scrutiny and possible damage of others.

Scening can or may be seen as a compromise between what the submissive is seeking or desiring and how close to achieving those desires the Dominant’s own fears will allow them to go. This is a stretching in ‘both’ directions. Both the Dominant and the submissive often venture into areas they have never gone before. These areas can test their inner strength and resolve, their will and compassion. To retain ‘personal integrity’ or a belief in ourselves we have to stay within the ‘codes’ that we live by and believe in. In learning about ourselves we often test these codes to see if they are indeed ‘our’ codes or codes we have simply adopted by rote at some point along the way.

The road to ’emerging’ as a Dominant or submissive is filled with these kinds of moral and ethical choices and the contradictions and apparent paradoxes that they present. Reconciling these contradictions and forming ‘true’ choices of who we are and what lines are inviolate within the self is a process that takes years and perhaps the entirety of our lives to discover fully.

When we ‘expose’ ourselves to another human being there is an expressed obligation by both people to refrain from injury or damage, offer solace, nurturing and care until that sense of exposure recedes. We call this period of time ‘aftercare’. Most often we associate this term with the time frame immediately following a ‘scene’. However, this term is equally applicable at many other points and times and many times is not associated with BDSM or D/s at all. Essentially it is an ‘understood’ promise that should exist prior to anyone agreeing to engage in any type of relationship. Often it is overlooked or ignored as an ‘incidental’. The concentration or focus of many people appears to be on the action ‘events’ such as any and all forms of BDSM or sexual interaction that may and in many cases will occur as part of the relationship. Minimizing the importance of aftercare is a mistake. Aftercare is a period of necessary ‘recovery’. This is a fundamental recovery of the self into a form competent and ‘safe’ to independently interact with other people.

Some aspects of BDSM trigger responses much like intoxication. The ability of the brain to rationalize or make important or serious decisions may be seriously impaired for a substantial period of time after an event or scene. Scening can and sometimes does summon up long hidden memories, feelings, emotions and traumas that the individual has kept safe behind the barrier wall or mental defense system that during a scene may suddenly no longer exist. We maintain these walls through diverting a portion of our mental energy to them at all times. In periods of low stress this constant trickle of energy is negligible. In periods of high mental activity the brain diverts energy toward activities which take precedence. Managing a BDSM scene will often become an activity of such precedencial choice. When this occurs the brain is no longer sustaining the wall and it may simply vanish, exposing what is behind it.

We maintain personal barriers and walls of defense to protect ourselves from things we know but perhaps have serious trouble dealing with. An example of this would be an automobile accident. Some portion of the brain does ‘know’ and fully experienced all that occurred during the accident or ‘event’. The extremes of the experience may be so great that a self protective determining factor inside the brain decides that it is ‘unhealthy’ for the cognizant areas of the brain to experience this event through memory loops over and over again. At that point this determining factor selectively places this event in a ‘safe area’ or behind one of the brains natural mental barriers or walls.

Should one of these ‘events’ become exposed then the individual may re-experience the event. It is vital to remember that these hidden events were considered to be potentially damaging when the real event occurred so much so that the brain took active steps to protect the individual from them. Supporting and assuring the person who has re-experienced one of these events that they are ‘safe’ is profoundly important. The new ‘information’ may be of a nature that they do have great difficulty coping with it and in some cases they may need good professional assistance from a qualified therapist.

Normal aftercare occurring without such an exposure is often the simple nurturing of one human to another. The support and protection of and from revealed intimacies and aiding and assisting in rebuilding the former protective walls, barriers or defenses. These protective mental measures appear to rebuild naturally as a simple part of how the brain functions and manages over a period of time. That time frame will vary with the individual and with the intensity of the experience itself. Aftercare in its most simple form is just being there with your partner for a sufficient time period that they feel safe and no longer feel the need to cling to you. It is equally important to recognize that aftercare is for both the Dominant and the submissive. If either person leaves too soon then
their partner may feel abandonment or loss far exceeding the apparent parameters of the interaction.

It is also important to recognize that aftercare may be a serious factor when a relationship ends and especially when that ending is through the choice of one person and not the other. To some extent it remains the obligation of the person who makes that choice to extend aftercare support in a form agreeable to the person who has not made that choice until they have reached a point where they feel emotionally less devastated or more able to cope with the changed aspects of their life. In these days of acrimonious breakups it is common to act without dignity or respect for yourself and for the person whom you have engaged in a serious relationship with. This type of attack damages everyone involved and is seldom decent but most often reflects cowardly and selfish actions.

All Rights Reserved By Mistress Steel

www.steel-door.com

Presenting

 On Presenting

By Lord Ramirez

Recently several people have posted to the lists in regards to teaching their skills to the community at large. In the two main cases the results were disastrous. As someone who in the past has presented locally, and at current teaches at several of the larger national events, I’d like to offer a little bit of insight and advice based on my own experiences.

When I first moved here, I came from the NYC, NJ and Philadelphia, scenes. There were people, especially in NY and NJ who had so much experience it would never have had occurred to me to ever present. In comparison to them I was just an average joe. My first opportunity came by an unplanned incident…

I came out to a whip demo and class. I thought to myself “Great! I do use whips already, but I can always learn more.” It turned out that the presenters whips were broken, and as I was one of the only others who came with whips, I was asked to help with the demo portion. As I did some of the demo, people asked me questions, and I did my best to answer them. I think the presenter was getting a little ticked because people started asking me more stuff than they were asking him.

From there sometimes I was asked to present things locally, as I went to events, people saw my skills and were curious about them. At several points after I had done a class or two, I would invite small groups that I knew and trusted to my house to learn from me. I would post an event, and those who were interested came. (in fairness I actually had to turn people away, because I lacked the room for them). After a while I was regularly asked to teach to many of the local groups, different topics that I was skilled in, etc.

For those who aspire to teach locally, I do recommend a few steps that will help you greatly.

1) Get involved with your local groups.

People nowadays entering the lifestyle are taught in BDSM to be paranoid. As such, they will question anyone who they don’t know or comes without a chockfull of quality recommendations. If JW says “Hello, I’m Jay Wiseman and I approve of what this person has to say” will pretty much guarantee you can teach whatever you want. Otherwise get to know the people in your local group, it will make them more comfortable with you, and once they are the word will spread, and you will find others more interested in knowing who you are and what you have to say.

2) Demonstrate the skills you want to teach.

Many people have commented about certifications. The truth is there is no BDSM degree from Harvard, and even if there were, it would be bullshit because there are so many varied paths to BDSM. It is helpful to have mentored from prestigious individuals but even then that says nothing for your ability to teach. At least if you can demonstrate that you can perform the activity well, you will be much more easily accepted as an authority (though not THE authority) in said activity. The more you can be seen dong your skill, safely, confidently, and to rave reviews to those who have had it performed on them, the less you will have to rely on the credentials of others. Instead you will stand based on the true merit of your own skill.

3) Let them approach you.

This seems to be the tough one for a lot of people. There seems to be this need to show off an individual’s skill by teaching them to others. This is worsened when steps one and two have not been done. I think there is also another point that needs to be made. It can only be answered honestly by the individual who wants to teach. That question is “Why do I want to teach this?” If you have not been active with a group, or you immediately want to each any skill but even more so with an edgeplay skill, it says, “Look at me!!! I am so awesome, and this is why you should respect me!!!” It becomes an attempt by the individual to establish immediate authority and respect within a group in which the individual is not yet a member. Others pick up on that mighty fast and become cautious, and very confrontational. In all honesty if that IS your reason, you need to stop right there. If your reason to do it is to get laid more or find more play partners, stop, do not pass go, do not collect $200. You ARE offering to teach for the wrong reasons. If you reasons are to share a skill that you are passionate about, or to offer help to those who don’t know how to do your skill and are interested, then you are doing it for the right reasons. But if you want to share that skill with you local community it is important that you establish yourself as a member of the community, and establish your competence with your skill on its own merits, versus though the recommendation of others, or worse, what is more common, your own recommendation (which is worthless). Note: these are what I said to do in #1 and #2. When they approach you to present on your skill, you won’t have to face the confrontation because people WANT to be taught by you. As you teach more (If you do well) you will find other groups will want to hear about what you have to say. Trust me its a lot easier when others are touting your skill to the other groups.

I could go on about how to do a good presentation, but its very late, and I’m here in RI getting ready to do my own classes here at the Fetish Flea.

Until Next,

-Ramirez

The Role of a Mentor

 The Role of a Mentor

By Master Dale

For what it’s worth, this is my own opinion of what a mentor should do…and what I have done for quite a few people over the years.-A mentor helps someone define their own goals. This does not mean substituting my goals for theirs. But it might include me offering the benefit of my experience and insight to help them step around common mistakes and follies.

-A mentor helps someone create their own plan on how to best achieve those goals. Again, I do not try to create their plan for them, but rather help them think clearly, plan well, and come up with possible ways to get what they want.

-Once someone has made their attempt(s) at achieving those goals, I am there to listen, debrief, and mostly help them to digest and make sense of whatever new experiences they encountered. We look to find the things they want to build on, those they want to discard, and those that need to get put on the shelf for a future exploration.

-In summation, a mentor should work with someone to improve their skills in self awareness, awareness of the motivations of others, interpersonal relations, good planning, implementation of their plan, good decision making, and developing effective means of reality testing. Not surprisingly, these skills aren’t exclusive to living a kinky lifestyle. They are important skills for living life. Kink is not the answer to all the things that don’t work in your life. If you are dysfunctional in vanilla life, you will probably carry all of your dysfunction into your kink life and probably suffer the same kind of setbacks there as you do in other walks of your existence. A mentor helps you improve the life skills that will serve you in almost everything you do, including kink.

So again, in my opinion…..your opinion my vary…..if a mentor only wants to focus on kink methods and teaching you their definitions of all the jargon, then they are only doing part of their job and they are cheating you out of the very best things they should offer. If a mentor wants to become your practical guide and make you their toy so you can learn? That is not what a mentor should be doing. They would be your play buddy, and should call themselves what they are.

You need to do the very first thing and decide what YOU want a mentor to do for you. If it is being your play partner, then look for that, not a mentor. If it is to find someone to hold your hand a little and impart some of their wisdom and experience as you explore, then you are a good candidate for being mentored. But that mentor has to be right for you, too. Regardless of whether your mentor is a Dom, a sub, or whatever…..if they click with you and you have good mutual respect and good communications, it can really be beneficial. I have mentored just about every kind of person in just about every kind of role identity. I had no agenda other than to help. So it made my goals as a mentor universal to anyone. The incompatibilities I have found with some people were never about conflict of interest …….. just different views on life and kink. Not all mentors fit all people. Your first choice might not be a good one. But making bad choices will usually teach you something so that the next opportunity you have, you will make a better choice.

So, if you can decide where you want to be heading in your kink relationships, a mentor may well be able to help you get there. As with any relationship, it is negotiable and you need to be getting the things you really need from your mentor. So as you look for one, try to find someone who not only preaches the gospel of kink, but also listens to you and understands what you you are trying to say. Look for someone you respect, who treats you with resepct, and you feel that you can really learn to trust. Beyond that, its simply a matter of building on your relationship with your mentor and staying with them if you feel you are gaining something. If not, talk to them. And if it is a bad pairing then graciously back away. If it has just become time for you to fly on your own, tell them you need to back away a bit till you need their assistance again. Any decent mentor will accept that with grace. I know I have, many times. And I have welcomed them back months…….even years later…….when they felt the need to ask my thoughts on something.

All these things are what I consider the role of a mentor……and of course, many more things, too. Best of luck in figuring out your starting point and in finding a mentor to help you launch from there.