Friday, 1 August 2014

Wading into the never ending, highly charged Rupaul 'Tranny' debate

When it comes to the rupaul dragrace issue of using the word 'tranny' I think it best to first talk about the nature of language and why some words become taboo to use.
Language isn’t just a way of directly communicating, it also carries with it a rich and subtle second set of meaning from the culture that births it. Indeed there have been historical attempts to aid the suppression of a culture by banning people from using local languages and dialects.
This means some words become taboo to use because of the negative social context and histories attached to them. When someone uses such words it signals a lack of understanding or even support for the social histories and institutions that caused such suppression and violence. This is why it pisses me off whenever I hear my 'I'm-not-racist-but' uncle use the term 'paki shop' for the local corner shop.
Normally use of words with bigoted connotations are pretty straightforward. You have the Cis, white, male heteronomative majority using terms that carry horrible connotations which tastily approve the social oppression/side-lining of a cultural 'other', gay, black, woman, trans ect. A simple case of aggressor and subject.

This is where the Dragrace use of 'tyranny' becomes a little more complex.

Drag is its own culture and community, with its own histories, cultural norms and yes, from that it has grown its own language and terms. A small subgroup with an already shunned group, they have historically been the most visible section of the gay community, forgoing the luxury of passing, which has sadly meant they have often been attacked not just from the outside heteronormative culture for breaking the rules of sexuality and gender, but from homonormaitve members of the LGBT community.

Tranny has often been used as a slur against members of the drag community in its history and the culture responded by reclaiming it for their own venacular. Turning it into a general term of identification and stripping it of its negative context. Much like the larger LGBT community has successfully done with the term queer. Drag queens use of the word tranny has become a part of their cultural language.

Transpeople have also been subject to the same slur and their response has been quite different; to reject the use of the word in any context as a rejection of all the negative stereotypes and destructive, ignorant attitudes that it carries.

This is the crux of the matter. You have two societal 'others', both with a cultural/historical claim to a highly charged word. Its at this point my views become a bit conflicted. Does one group have the right to come and pressure the other into changing its internal cultural mediums? I dont think so, my gut feeling is that it isnt right to do that, and this is understandably where a lot of the anger and backlash from the drag community comes from.
drag race is a different kettle of fish. Its not the whole drag community, its a small section that has become a teaching point and gateway to a large cisgendered/heterosexual audience. This power and position means it has a responsibility. Its contribution to cultural language and dialogue will have a lasting affect on wider societies view of transpeople.

Do I think the show's use of those words transphobic? No.
Do I think it could have legitimised transphobia in society? Yes.

I guess my point is this, the drag community should be able to continue to use to words of its own culture and context however they see fit WITHIN their own community. No one else, gay straight, trans, has a right to interfere with that. OUTSIDE the drag community, like popular tv shows, then it becomes a matter of acknowledging how Such words carry cultural context for other groups, like transpeople and the damage it can do.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Gym Thing: "cutting? ugh, cutting!"

“You know I’m so glad bulking season is over, I finally get to start cutting!” Said no gym goer ever!
I don’t do cutting, mostly because it’s one of the least enjoyable things at can be done in relation to the gym. Sure, there is the struggle with lifting weights and the soreness and stiffness that come the day after and even the long trudging stretches of time in the cardio section, but with all of these I feel good after with a great sense of achievement and a flood of enorphins. When it comes to cutting I just feel crap, and hungry, and tired and just plain miserable. Beyond this however, my mental health starts to deteriorate.
Spending a stretch of time starving myself to the point where my body has to dig into its fat reserves are never fun. I’m just constantly tired and hungry, so very hungry. My sex drive goes, my ability to concentrate goes but beyond that my mental health suffers. It starts with me feeling ratty and short tempered. I begin to see my body in a negative light and start measuring my waist all the time. I start to feel horrible about myself and hate how my body is. This is the biggest thing that makes cutting repellent to me.
Since starting back at the gym four years ago my relationship with my body has completely changed. I feel I relate to my body in a much more positive way, I have gained a greater understanding of how it works and I don’t feel powerless against it. That may seem a weird thing to say, that I felt subjugated by my body, but I did. It seemed like my weight and body shape were things I was trapped by. My skinny arms were something forced on me and I couldn’t change that. If I became fatter or thinner, it was because of reasons I didn’t understand and so felt dragged along by my body for the ride. Now I know I can affect change on my body. I know how my activities and eating patterns affect it. If my body starts to go in a direction I don’t want, I can just change my behaviour and my body will respond. This feeling of control over my own self has improved my body image to no end. I now like my body, not for what it has changed into, but because it isn’t something that makes me feel bad about. Its part of me, not something forced onto me. Sure there are goals I have set to achieve in terms of body shape but I’m happy with where I’m starting from.
This all seems to go out the window when cutting.
The wearing down of my mental health probably has a lot to do with this. Being miserable and tired for so long won’t do anyone any good, but then further combined with fighting against an appetite that I often loose against and lack of easy progress means that old feeling of my body being an object I am forced to deal with, rather part of me, rears its ugly head.
Being a cub helps a lot with it, as I don’t feel any social pressure to strive for the classic gay mans abs when I can have a rubable belly instead (well most of the time, going to Hampstead heath pond and sitting in a large group of topless gay men all with abs in speedos) so if I feel my bellies getting beyond my comfort zone I just start clean bulking and do a bit more cardio, which is normally enough to bring things back to where I want them.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Whats In a Puppy Name

My musings on the nature of how puppy boys are named

I thought I would put to paper (or more accurately, screen) some thoughts that have been swirling about my head for a while, and lately became fuel for a conversation with a friend. The main topic of conversation was the nature of puppy names.
Now for full disclosure, I do not identify as a pup as many people I know do. it has caused me some consideration as I have a lot of puppy tendencies, when the people around me are pups I feel I can let out a side of myself that clicks with them. The tactile, huggy, happy, in-the-moment part of my self blooms. I have even started barking back with the pups I know. I have joked with them that they are slowly trying to assimilate me into puppy-hood like a playful, kinky borg collective. But I fundamentally do not feel that puppy hood as a whole fits me. I do not have that inert ‘puppyness’ I see in others. But one thing about puppy culture fascinates me; the names.
Names in general fascinate me, I grew up fed on fantasy novels and Wiccan books that all agreed names have special meaning. I have noticed that people tend to create an online name that they use all over the internet, a name they chose for themselves rather than their birth name. So puppy names fascinate me for the fact that puppies never decide their own names.
This seems alien to me. The notion that you need another person to name you seems wrong to me, it is a concept that does not sit right in my brain. I understand that real dogs don’t have the language or mental setup for names, so they are always given them by owners, and so it makes sense that a puppy boy’s name would be given by their trainer/owner/master/generic-dom-term-here. But there is a part of me that can’t wrap my brain around such an important part of your personal identity being dependant on other people and because of that, often being transient.
I have noted the widespread use of mythological references in puppy names. My NSFW twitter feed is filled with names from the Norse and Greek pantheon. This I wonder if it is because of the symbolic nature of mythological characters. The Norse and Greek myths were often anthropomorphic personifications that had very singular character traits; Pride, wisdom, hubris, trickery, kindness, compassion etc. so I can see why they would be popular puppy names being clear shorthand for what a pups personality may be like. In this respect I suspect Puppy names are in their nature are more descriptors than identifiers. As with real dogs, they tend to have names that are more descripted of their doggy nature. How many highly energetic, but low on attention dogs have we all met  called something like ‘Sparky’ or the like.
On my limited experience with my own full puppy play from a play night with some friends  I was given the full mits and muzzle treatment and was given the name Pup Scamp for the night. Which I found fit me well in its implications of acting cute but naughty, but I can’t say I felt any massive connection to it. It’s not like my Birth name or my ‘internet name’ of mouse that touches to a deep part of me.
Many puppies change their name with a new owner. Feeling the old one no longer fits. Is this because with each person that enters and leaves our lives we are changed, and so the name only fits a version of the puppies self that has passed? Or is the name works as a symbol of their relationship to another person more than a symbol of their self? It’s a topic I wish to understand more about but again it seems to point to the name being a descriptor rather than an identifier.
I would love to talk with more puppies about this, because it’s something that I am hungry to understand and really fascinated by and a subject that has given me much thought in my wider musings of others, and my own identity.

This is my Big Bro Pete. He’s one of the dearest and most important people in my life. This weekend for a much delayed birthday present I gave him my old pair of chaps that don’t fit me anymore and boy does he look good in them. I don’t see him nearly enough as I want to as he’s living outside of London currently, but when I moved to London having him close by helped me a lot to ajust. 
Also, the fun we have when he I and my bf get together is insane and provided me with so many great memories.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

You are feeling sleepy…. The exploration of hypnosis as a kink

You’re going under…..

I have noticed in the kink world fetishes rise in popularity and commonality in a voguish fashion. Now I have no empirical data to back this up, only my own observations, so I’m not going to claim this as fact. A few years ago it seemed like fisting was on the rise, with more people dabbling their toes in it. Currently I think its puppy play that is the rising star of fetishes. Many people I know are eager to explore it and find that the nature of puppy play fits their psychology, the kink blogs and podcasts I follow seem to be talking about puppy play to a great degree. I’m talking about this because a fetish I have long held now seems to be entering the up and coming category and recently swelling in fans. I talk of course about hypnosis.
Now the general populace I find tend to find have a vague, often misinformed understanding of the nature and limits of hypnosis. It is seen as a dark and near magical art, and very few people think it could be used for mutual sexual enjoyment. (I say mutual sexual enjoyment because online seems to be littered with adverts promising to teach other how to use hypnosis to pick up women and bed them. If this was possible I believe it would count as date-rape, however as I learned, someone can’t be made to do something they would consciously object to.) People tend to easily see how things like rope, paddles, floggers can fit into a sexual scenario but hypnosis is rarely ever placed in with them. The truth of the matter is this; the cliché of the mind being the biggest sex organ we have is true, and hypnosis is an incredible tool for stimulating it in many strange and fantastic ways.
My personal fetish for hypnosis and mind control has been something quite innate, as opposed to more recent fetishes I have gained from discovery. Like many people who early years had an oddly specific interest in seeing people tied up on TV or in stories and play, I always had an intense interest whenever hypnosis was used in the media I consumed. As I grew into an adult this grew to a full sexual fetish. Like much of my interests the basis is the power dynamic. It features someone submitting to another; however the nature of hypnosis takes this to a much higher and more intense degree. As I have discovered ways to explore this fetish I have found the fun people are able to have doesn’t all have to be based on power exchange, it can be a much more playful and light-hearted experience of sensory play. It came in incredibly useful when my partner and I were living long distance and A hypnotist I worked with gave us some verbal triggers to simulate certain *ahem* intimate sensations when my partner and I was chatting over Skype.

You’re getting curious… want to know more….

A lot of people claim that they don’t believe they can be hypnotised. This isn’t true as we all enter a hypnotic state multiple times a day. Don’t think you do? Well the just think for a moment, have you ever found your mind wandering off and daydreaming? Ever just sat in front of the TV to let you mind rest and just passively experience the program on TV? If the answer is yes then you have entered the mental state of a hypnotic trance. There is nothing special to it really, it’s no magical rare state and no one needs esoteric powers to put people in that state. All it is, put simply is letting your minds ability to critically analyse and examine information drop. Your brain goes into a passive state where your mind will just accept new information it is provided with. Don’t worry however, yourself preservation mechanism still works in this state, so if you’re in a hypnotic state no one can suggest to you to jump off a cliff or give out your bank details. Anything you morally opposed to, or if it’s a concept you naturally would be opposed to your mind won’t accept. Apart from that your mind will accept what it’s told. If you’re told you feel like your cold whenever you hear the word weasel, you brain will tell you you’re feeling cold.
This manipulation of your perception or your senses can lead to a lot of fun. Having trigger words or actions that set of reactions in a sub can be very fun, especially if the sub can’t remember what these triggers are, giving the Dom/hypnotist a lot of fun to play about with them. My early experience with a hypnotist was a very enjoyable session where he made me forget important information, such as my current address or my own name before returning that information to me. This was trippy at the time, but when he then asked me if I was sure that the name I could remember was really my own or one he had placed there, that was when it really got interesting. To quote Dr Frank N. Furter; “a mental mindfuck can be nice”.
As well as perception play and using triggers as tools in play another common desire I see amongst hypno fetishists is the desire for mental transformation. A lot of them are for things like getting into puppy headspace. A friend who in the past could never comfortably fit into a puppy persona despite wanting to do puppy play went to see a Dom with knowledge of hypnotism. After a session of hypnosis he reports he easily slipped into the mind-set of a puppy and had a deeply enjoyable time in that state. Other doms and subs like the idea of long term changes. A popular request is for a hypnotist to help change a person’s outlook and interests into that of more of a jock; to be obsessed with building a muscular body and to have over masculine behaviour. Many hypnotists are quite happy to comply with this; the subject gets help for filling their desired goal and the hypnotists seem to take enjoyment out of changing a person and being able to nurture a positive change in someone.
AS mentioned previously my own experiences have been great, for the most part. I started with a wonderful ‘tist who lives in Brighton. He has been great to work with as he was very informative and able to answer a lot of the questions both I and my partner had at the time. As mentioned before he placed a few triggers for my other half to use over Skype or telephone whilst we had been living apart long distance. I have worked with one or two hypnotists since then and enjoyed the kind of fun of having my perception played about with in small, entertaining ways. I have also run into one or two assholes along the way. This brings me to the point we must come to in any discussion about fetishes and kink play: Safety.

.you’re getting the urge to stay safe sane and consensual…..

Now as I said before. Your self-preservation and innate senses of right and wrong will protect you whilst you are under hypnosis, but that doesn't mean there aren't people that won’t try and overstep boundaries, often in some more subtle ways. I had a session fairly recently with someone who tried to implant suggestions that I would feel a greater sense of trust with him which, as the greater trust you have in some means you tend to be more receptive to suggestions from them. This of course made me feel uneasy and brought me out of trance. He then proceeded to try and get me to only want to work with him as a sol hypnotist and agree to things whilst he thought I was under his influence. Needless to say I haven’t worked with him again. The whole unethical behaviour of the session made me feel very freaked out. Unfortunately, as with any kink or power exchange play, there are people who will try and use the vulnerable positions people put themselves in for play in unethical or horrible ways. So what can be done? My advice is to take the same precautions that you would use with any kink play. Firstly draw up a list of hard and soft limits for yourself. It helps a great deal to clearly define your own boundary’s in your own head. Next, when trying hypnotism out with someone, don’t rush into things. Always, always have a discussion to clearly define boundaries and things that make you uncomfortable.
This is just as much about helping out the hypnotist as yourself. Things are better when all parties involved know where they stand. I have heard many examples of subs becoming upset after telling the hypnotist they are ‘up for anything’ and then freaking out later when a ‘tist crossed a personal boundary they never thought to mention to the hypnotist they were playing with. Also get to know a person before playing with them. Take some time to have a few conversations with them to get a feel for them as a person. Lastly, if you listen to pre-recorded hypnotic tapes, skip the induction and listen to it once while fully conscious to see if someone hasn't put some unlisted, malicious suggestions.

.and on the count of five, you will be awake and ready for more.

If you follow these guidelines you should be safe to go ahead and enjoy all the new avenues hypnosis play can offer you. I do suggest that everyone try it once to explore what possibilities can be opened up by playing with your perception, I’m sure you will be amazed. To fall back onto a cliché I have avoided for this entire article; the brain can be the greatest sex organ.
For further information on this subject I recommend the No Safeword podcasts episodes guest starring the professional erotic hypnotist Neil:
And for your own exploration feel free to visit the following sites:

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Life Is Good

Well dear reader, I suppose I should really get round to posting another erratic update on my life. Things have been moving steadily along in my life and seem to be getting better and better. With the expenses of moving in and a period of unemployment for me, our funds became very tight. This state of affairs in now easing thanks to my new job.

I'm employed again!

I now have work again, and so far its been a job I really enjoy. In fact its a job I have had on my life's bucket list. I now work in a fetish clothing store. That's right, I get to work with rubber and leather all day with a great group of people, many of whom I am already friends with. It's one of these new-fangaled zero hour contract deals, but I don't mind as its such a nice team to work with. I really am surprised just how different it is from working in a large corporate company. Everyone knows each other and everyone pitches in to help. You don't get clueless managers going round with paperwork badgering you to work to an unrealistic standard set by head office. It's all people who work alongside you and know what needs to be done. The shop itself is in a very nice aria with a green across the road that's wonderful to sit and have my breakfast and lunches in. Yesterday as it was the boyfriends birthday, on my lunch hour we nipped round the corner to a lovely little Cuban restaurant which served awesome food for actuality decent prices. I'm even loving the fact that I now have a proper commute into work, although I'm sure that novelty will wear off soon. All this has now given me the realization that....

I'm now a Londoner

When the hell did that happen? I now live in London. Not student halls living, but proper contract rent living. I commute on the tube to work, the bf and i have an overpriced cramped house-share to live in. I go drink over priced drinks after work so I don't have to deal with the rush hour on the transport system. We are looking in the mid-term to moving to somewhere near Vauxhall if we are lucky or somewhere like Wimbledon if we are not so lucky. I have taken to city living like a duck to water, and find it suits me down to the ground, the best part is how social I can be with everyone now. Every weekend a fun time out with friends is only 15 minuets away, now if only I could plan my days out better so i could always make it to...

The Gym.

As my membership to the student gym ended with the the university semester, I thought it would be a good time to explore further afield. I chose my local branch of the 'The Gym'. You may have come across them, they are the extremely cheap gym chain that works on the Ryan air model. The monthly payment fee is minimal, but they charge whenever they can. I was shocked to find even the lockers were not coin operated models that are the standard in most gyms or swimming pools. No, you had to bring your own padlock, or purchase a 'The Gym' branded one from a nearby vending machine. Luckily next-door is one of those 99pence shops, the chain that have filled the corpses left by the demise of Woolworth, that sold a sturdier padlock for only a pound. If you are smart and prepare ahead of time to get the extras you will need cheaper elsewhere 'The Gyms' can be great value Now they gym itself isn't bad, however I find most of the gym is dedicated to cardio machines. Apart from dumbbells, the weights section is under supplied and over populated. I've given up on hoping to get the Olympic bar with so many other people prowling around waiting for it to become free. Also, as often as I griped about the disorderly nature of the patrons of my last gym, this gym is worse. I just don't get why it is so hard for people to put weights back in the correct order.
The eye candy here however is a counterweight to my frustration. I seem to have struck it lucky with a plethora of cute cubby boys getting all sweaty as they work hard.
My body is developing nicely, if slowly. Although that is my own lax attitude to the gym. The kind of gains I really would like to make can only be quickly achieved by not letting life get in the way and planing everything around gym visits and a strict eating schedule. The latter I have been improving upon with a much better diet, but meals as a social ritual for bonding and pleasure are too important to me to give up to a regime structured around only fueling the body.
My attitude about my body had been flailing wildly over the spectrum, at times I am fine with my body and like what I see, at others I feel like I have too much of a muffin top and belly and wish to downsize, and others I feel good about my belly but wish my arms and pectorals were better. It is my belief that everyone feels like this from time to time and we live in a day and age where people cannot have a constantly positive body image. I know many people that really hate their bodies all the time and I'm glad i can look at mine, when in a good state of mind, and appreciate what i see in the mirror for its good points. Over all I have become quite secure in my physical identity, lately however I have been thinking about the implications of my inability to find a clear sociological/mental identity.

Existential identity pondering

This deserves its own blog post to fully explain the thoughts and uncertainties I have on this subject, and I will produce one in time. The short explanation is that with few real troubles in my life now my brain has seen fit to find lesser troubles to bother me with. I have found myself mulling over my lack concerted identity that I could identify myself with. Many others in my social circle have this privilege; they are puppy boys, furies, muscle boys, cubs, bears, rubbermen, leathermen, slaves and owned boys. None of the commonly used identifers comfortably fit me. As I have explored these avenues I have found none are for me and I struggle to explain to people who I am and what I enjoy. This may sound silly, but in the kinky world having a pre-made role to use as a shorthand for what you want and will do is a common and useful tool that also helps foster a sense of belonging to a community. As I stated before, this will be its own post and will explain it fully then. Until then I will simply say that my life at the moment is going well and i hope it lasts for a good long while.

Monday, 18 February 2013

I love causing pain

I love causing pain. This has taken a long time for me to come to admit. And the reason behind my inability to admit this is is very much at the core of why I think I have developed a sadistic streak.

The how
I should start with the event a few weeks back that started this ball rolling. I had a session with a friend of mine whom I have played with before. He has a lovely collection of toys and gear and seems to bring out something new when playing together. I have a great time with him since many of his sexual fetishes match up with mine. This play session ended up being a little different from before.
I came wearing my knee high boots and I we had planed a boot worshiping session. Now I am always interested of the affect of an outward appearance on someones persona, “clothes make the man” as the saying goes, so I enjoy the confidence wearing a well shined pair of knee-high grinders bestows on my sense of self. I was also nervous about being the one who’s boots were to be worshiped. I am in no way a natural Dom. Giving orders, making decisions and having the confidence in my own right to take the lead are not things I have. Normally.
This night was different, and I found myself naturally taking the lead and then a dominant role. I think this was easy as my own fetishes are so closely mirrored by my playmates I could naturally just divine from my own fantasies about being topped in the same situation, but it was after we was done with bootworship when I really began to experience something new. I was asked by my playmate to tie him up and use various implements on his body and balls. Crops, canes, floggers and boxing gloves were all employed as I worked him over. As I did so, I found myself enjoying each instrument more and more. The different yelps and gasps of air and moans I could encourage all brought out a deep sense of both satisfaction and curiosity within me.
How far could I go?
Would changing the angle or the motion in my arm do?
How can I hurt him more?
As these thoughts ran through my head I began to see how much enjoyment I was deriving from not just the experimentation, but the act itself. The little yelps and grunts brought me happiness as it was a symptom of the affect I was having on this person. The act of being able to inflict this on someone was deeply satisfying and for filling to me and it has not be said, tho erotic, not in a sexual way.

The why
Its taken me a long while to examine the why in my head. The answer really comes out as who I am as a person. Who I am all day, every day. And that person is someone that tries to be nice and helpful. I have developed a deep and driving need to please those who I care about. Even people I don’t know I will be kind to. I feel on a very deep level that in this life we all have to treat others the best way we can because that’s the only way the world becomes a better place. Being rude or nasty to people because I am angry or annoyed is no excuse. Its failure to do so. This coupled with my need to please, to make sure those in my life are cared for brought happiness means I feel constantly pressured to never hurt others. So letting myself have license to let go of this driving imperative in my head is very satisfying. In a situation where I can cause someone else pain, to hurt them, and for them to enjoy it and want that from me lets me have a loop hole from the rules in my brain.
I get to be naughty, and nasty. I get to be bad for once. And that is a powerful notion to me. Not to be the meek little mousey boy being quiet to appease the turbulent and rupturing world around him but to be free of all the needs of others is all held in the smack of the crop and the singing whistle of the Cain. As I made clear earlier in this post. Its all very new to me but I would love to try it much more in the future.