Usually this website focuses on the functional aspect of BDSM toys: How do they perform at doing what you bought them for. And to a large extended that makes sense being the only “hard” way of judging a toy even though because pain and restriction is felt by everybody else differently the verdict is a bit spongy. Because of that I have adjusted the ways reviews are written.
Last weekend at a party of the Chicago Hellfire Club I consciously experienced for the first time another quality of a toy: The sensual aspect. Before a flogging session the top asked me if I needed to be blindfolded which I confirmed. He told me to kneel down and put the Mr S Bishop Head Harness (and you wonder why it is today’s Desiderate) with just the blindfold on. From the practical point of view I was a bit disappointed because my cheap basic blindfold from SlingKing performed better at blocking out all light (or perhaps the harness was not adjusted perfectly). But what followed intrigued me: The top spend a couple of minutes adjusting the leather straps, putting the harness in place, asking me if the collar wasn’t too tight. At least for me it had a great level of intimacy; it felt the top cared for me and caressed his precious torture toy. After the harness was fitted he told me to stand up and guided me to the St. Andrews Cross holding me on my shoulders which added to the deep feeling of trust an intimacy. So even before the main party of the session had started I was already half way in headspace which felt great.
After this experience I went through my toy collection and instantly discovered several toys with a sensual value. So maybe after returning to Germany I will write an article about “sensuatables” –toys with sensual potential.
If some rich admirer of my website is still looking for a birthday present: I wouldn’t say no to such a head harness… 😉
For about two month I have kind of taken a break from running this site as I should. Of cause I have posted blog entries on my life in the US and other things but the main point of this website – reviews – has been neglected. But this is about to chance. I have spent my Spring Break writing new editorial content which hopefully should get me to Germany without having to write new one in between. So you can enjoy some reviews and desiderates and I can enjoy the second half of my exchange year. However, since most of the stuff I review I currently don’t have at hand some measurements will be missing. I will add them as soon as possible. Also, I have suspended writing articles because I don’t really have an inspiration for stuff I could do with my limited means in the US. But I have great stuff planed for the future so look forward to the second half of the year.
This morning Fossil9 published a blog entry introducing the concept of the game theory to improvie scene quality. It is an interesting approach towards getting a good session for all participants. However, I want to critique it a bit: From what I know of game theory and the prisoner’s dilemma (studying marketing as a major I have only touched game theory in some micro and sociology classes) the players have to have the same goal which they try to maximize. But I see that the only profit both dom and sub want to maximize is satisfaction which I find a too high level goal because every human being is generally striving to satisfaction.
The reason why a dom or a sub engage into a scene is to satisfy a desire but in the rarest cases this desires are complementary thus both dom and sub strive towards a same effect through different actions (a session of a pure sadist with a pure masochist would be one of this rare cases). So to resolve this dilemma you mostly need to “trick” the other part into doing what you want. This leads to the argument that it is part of the prisoner’s dilemma to give in so much to the other’s need that the other person is enjoying their session enough and do what you want so you get the maximum of you satisfaction. But I don’t like this idea of BDSM for two reasons:
- As much as BDSM is a (played and inverted) situation of power asymmetry, in a good scene mutual players come and work together and at least in my world view mutuality contradicts maximizing profits at the expense of the other.
- Sooner or later somebody will feel cheater. This undermines the trust which is necessary for a good, intense and deep scene.
Besides not liking this play style, it is outright stupid. Why play with a person you don’t have a common consent on play style with? In order to get a better scene, I would draw upon two other economic concepts: Coordination and transformation problem solution.
Coordination means finding an offer for your demand. In BDSM terms this means finding someone who shares your likes and your play style which requires you to have at least a rough concept what you want. The advantage of this concept is that it already takes place before the scene thus ensuring a higher level of play and mostly prevents you from bad experiences. Once you have found a right partner or multiple ones the scene faces the transformation problem. This problem deals with the challenges of transforming an abstract concept into something specific, f.i. defines how much force you can apply when the other says he likes ball busting. While coordination is more or less easily achieved (e.g. through questioners, hankies or acronym lists) transformation is much harder because many factors like experience or form of the day alters what the other can take or deliver.
This is the point where you leave the economic concept and turn to good BDSM practice. As I wrote above all players want to get satisfaction (examples would be giving or experiencing pain, humiliation, dominated someone, etc. pp.) and all have an interest in getting it for all participants as good as possible thus enabling future encounters which will be better because the transformation problems recedes further into the background as knowledge of the partner(s) grows. But until you get to this point all partners must give feedback in order to direct each other in the right direction. How to give and to read feedback is something which would stray way to much of topic so I just assume that experienced players know how to do it and that they will teach new players how to act accordingly. The ideal form of this feedback mechanism is that before a scene only taboos are negotiated (= coordinated) and the dom(s) is (are) experienced enough to know how to get the sub(s) where he (they) want(s) him (them) to be. This ensures the dom’s satisfaction and if he is doing it right the sub will equally enjoy the scene. Furthermore both parties can enjoy the satisfaction of success: The dom of getting what he wants thus enforcing the self-concept of him leading the scene and the sub of pleasing the dom which also should enforce his self-concept.
But all theory left aside: We do not torture ourselves or others for the sake of proving a theory. This is one of many ways to ensure a great session and frankly: If you have great sessions with great doms and subs, do not worry too much how you got these. Just enjoy the intense and deep feelings you share with your partner(s).
Last week I had drinks with a fellow American Kinkster and talked about my communication problems. He told his American point of view on the issue and it is a valuable addition to my last blog entry emphasizing the cultural differences in communication.
First of all, regarding Recon there is a technical problem when it comes to the display of read messages. Apparently the Recon iPhone app marks messages as read when you acknowledge the incoming message. So when somebody is only with his iPhone a message is marked as read even though he hasn’t actively read it.
But the major difference is in the communication culture. While Germans usually only open messages when they think they have time to read and also answer messages. Apparently in America a message is read and then evaluated if it needs immediate or later answer.
Since knowing both facts communicating has become way less stressful and more enjoyable.
Before I write about what I really wanted to blog about, I want to get something out there which is very important for me. In my series “An European Gay in Chicago” (which afterwards I would have better named “An European Kinkster in Chicago”…) I am blogging about everything which I find curious in the American scene from a European perspective. Sometimes my remarks may sound picky because due the culture shock I am experiencing I am seeing things more clearly than a tourist or an expat is seeing them after a week or a year. Sometimes my blog entries may sound presumptuous having the tone that everything is bad in the USA and that they should learn from the good Europeans how to make it good or right. I don’t intend both effects, I am actually a bit sad that they occur but there is no way from stopping them to do so. These lines are my highly subjective impressions which reflect my experiences. So some things might be unpleasant for me where most people don’t bother. Especially not Americans since they have been socialized into this culture and perceive them as normal. So for every experience, for every observation I make I am thankful because I am experiencing the rich and complex American culture and am forced to reflect my own one which is always a good thing.
But now back to the original topic. Two weeks ago I complained a bit that due to the nature of the major online dating networks in the US finding good people to play with is very difficult. Luckily since then I have come in contact with a group of very experienced and very sympathetic kinkster. I value these contacts very much and hope that someday sooner or later will become friends. However I am struggling a bit with the American attitude towards online communication. I am used to an actual online conversation which for me means the exchange of several messages in a short term of time. Especially when trying to set a BDSM date this is vital for me because likes and experiences need to be exchanged and clarified in order to make a good session both can enjoy. But in America I have made the experience that people tend to ignore messages for days or read them and reply hours or days later. I know that my conversation partner don’t mean it or want to put me off on purpose, I actually fear that they perceive my in their eyes probably overenthusiastic communication drive as pushy and clingy. Yet as much as they cannot strive from their learned communication habits I can’t really free myself from my learned expectations. So chatting with people in the US is sometimes very frustrating for me and probably also for my chat partner. Despite that I hope that I will have more good and deep session in the USA.
Another thing towards I am very ambivalent is the American friendliness in combination with the value of commitment. In Germany we have a saying: “When you spend a four week vacation together with strangers, having neighboring beach chairs for the entire time, talk every day, feel very sympathetic towards each other and promise each other that you will spend another vacation together, there is a 10% chance if they are Europeans that this will happen and a 0% chance when they are Americans.” This American character is based in the welcoming and friendly yet a bit superficial attitude. Of cause this has advantages: Coming to the US or being for the first time at Chicago Hellfire Club I felt welcomed, people were interested and talked to me. Being approached so openly will never happen in Germany! The drawback is: People try to not be unfriendly or put you off. So when you hand out Recon nicks at Grindr or in real live in order to chat more easily and figure out if there is a common basis for a date, the chance that the people will never get back to you or will ignore your messages is very high. Yet again: I might just lower my expectations in order to not be disappointed but pushing back 25 years of socialization is a hard thing to do.
So while writing this blog entry, it turned out grimmer then I wanted it to be. I don’t want to convey a wrong impression: I am really enjoying my stay in the USA and love being in contact with locals, especially local kinksters equally for talking and torturing. What I am currently experiencing is the normal culture shock everybody is going through when he is staying there for a longer period of time. So to close this sadly a bit somber blog entry, a happy quote a good friend who has been an expat in the USA once told me and which especially applies to the special experiences kinkster make: Sundays wouldn’t be special if it wasn’t for rain.
Keeping these words in mind, I wish you a good, successful and kinky week.
Since I have come to the USA I have been receiving fraud spam mails on PlanetRomeo at least every two weeks. I can only guess why I have not been getting such messages in the USA. Since I am mostly only using PlanetRomeo for a reason, I would like to know if people experience similar problems at ManHunt or Adam4Adam.
Anyway, since I find these messages kind of funny to read, I want to share the latest one with you. Maybe the ridiculousness brightens your day and helps you make it to the weekend.
Am: 08. Feb. 2013 – 11:05
On behalf of GayRomeo lotto team, We are to inform you of the announcement made on the 5th of Febuary , 2013 of online lotto Program held on 7th of April 2013 through a computer random system. Your Profile is attached to file REF: 192361411 with Serial number 116238098 won in the fourth category. You have therefore been approved for a lump sum pay out of $450,000.00 in cash credited to Ticket number 113-0705649 for the total cash prize for fifteen (15) lucky winners in this category…………………………………………………………………………….
Your winning details falls within our American representative office in Central London, as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of $450,000.00 (Four hundred and fifty thousand Dollars) will be released to you from our branch office in England………………………………………………………
HOW TO CLAIM YOUR WINNINGS
Contact the Claim Management
Quote your ref and serial and ticket number and send it to your assigned agent:
Name – Scott David
E-mail Address – email@example.com
Please provide your full name, address, postal code, phone number and your country.
I have a confession to make: I am spoiled. PlanetRomeo spoiled me regarding my expectations towards gay (online) dating and hook up.
For those of you who don’t know PlanetRomeo: It is the major gay dating website in Germany or even Europe. Founded about 10 years ago it earned the reputation for being the gay “registration office” in Germany with a coverage of nearly 10% of all German gays. And it earned this success well with a detailed profiles and searches (yes, you can search be fetish and if somebody is into BDSM), free unlimited profile viewing and messaging and until recently free access to porno pics if you had enough friends.
Prior of coming to the USA, I made some research on gay dating over here. So I was prepared that I will not have it as comfortable as I had it in Germany but the experience I have made is way worse than I expected it to be.
The first thing I have done is switching my Recon profile to Chicago. This got me into contact with some people but as everywhere there are way too many subs I have to compete with so success has been fairly limited. At Recon I first observed the American attitude towards date communication: If you haven’t agreed on something specific after the 5th message they will refuse to write back. For a person who is only into rough sessions which need some coordination on what can happen and a certain level of trust which builds up during the chat, such a communication habit is depressing. Futhermore, the rather basic search function and the small limit of daily profile views when you are not a premium member make a thorough search stressful and annoying. I could upgrade but the relatively low number of potential guys and the relatively high price of a subscription – at least compared to the price of the one at PlanetRomeo – put me off. Of cause there are some promising guys so I might get lucky but sadly they are a small minority.
Next I downloaded Grindr and Scruff on my smartphone. Since I don’t have a perfect body I can’t use a picture of my faceless abs which makes me uninteresting for 90% of the guys there. 5% of the guys show the American communication pattern (see above) and the last 5% are desperate guys into vanilla – mostly bottoms – who stalk every new guy.
Being used to more traditional gay online dating I signed up on Manhunt.com and… oh boy! The material there is comparable to the one on PlanetRomeo in Germany: A decent cross section of the gay community. However, there are just so few guys on there that you are stuck with a little number of BDSM kinksters. But this isn’t a big deal: With a limit to 10 (!) messages a day and no possibility so see you sent messages (both without the premium subscription), there is no way a decent communication can be established. And again: With no talk, there is no date – at least for me, especially since I have heard so many horrible stories from crazy and dangerous persons on gay dating sites who will lure you into your home to do all kinds of mischief to you.
And of cause there is PlanetRomeo. But with less than 900 members in the Chicago Metropolitan Area I don’t think to write any more on this website.
I know, I am only at the beginning of my US experience and I hope to soon get in contact with some pervert locals. But since I am easier to get in touch with people first online and then meet them in real life it might be a bit harder to get to know new people over here. So my adventure just got a bit more challenging and interesting. If you are interested in helping me settling in or overcoming my difficulties just hit me up.
This blog entry should mark the beginning of a little series o entries where I talk about my highly subjective thoughts on my experiences as a European gay and pervert in the US.
As you might already know, I am spending my exchange semester at a Christian university in Chicago. When I was told where I would be spending my semester abroad there, I was kind of concerned due to the attitude some protestant churches in the US have. But when I took a deeper look at what values my host institution has and after getting in contact with the president of the local LGBT club, I was a bit calmed down and flew to Chicago with a good feeling.
The first two and a half weeks have passed by, I have come over the jet lag, got adjusted to the sometimes strange ways an American university works and now I am ready to get really involved with the life in the US and ready to share my thoughts on things I find remarkable from my European perspective.