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I’ve been pretty silent here for a while. There are reasons, of course; there always are. But I would like to be saying more in this space. It’s just that the things that are happening to me in the kink realm seem increasingly private, and it’s hard to talk about them in a space where so many people know my real name.

Instead I’ll talk about the woman in the Firefox window I’ve had open for a month, Marina Abramović.

I read about her first when Cal pointed her out at the closing of her recent exhibition in New York.

For those who don’t know (because I certainly didn’t), Abramović is a performance artist who began her career in the 1970s. Her work was explicitly about the body: what it can take, and to whom it belongs. She did work that was grueling, painful, and sometimes close to lethal. In what was likely her most famous piece, Rhythm 0, she stood completely passive and silent for six hours near a table full of objects: chains, feathers, olive oil, razor blades, cameras – and a loaded gun. Audience members were invited to do whatever they liked to her, and while at first people were reluctant, by the end a spectator was holding the gun to her neck until another group of audience members stopped it.

Throughout her career, she has demanded that the audience engage with the art directly – and she has demanded endurance and discipline of herself which, reading about her, made me think of the most extreme forms of submission and service. In this latest exhibition, she sits in a chair, completely silent, and stares into the eyes of whomever cares to sit across from her and look. She did not speak for three months. In older works, besides the extremity of Rhythm 0, she played the point of a knife between her splayed fingers as fast as she could, sometimes missing and cutting herself. When she would complete a cycle, she would attempt to repeat it exactly – including the cuts. With her long-term partner, Ulay, she did a piece where he held the string of a bow, with an arrow pointed at her heart; she held the bow itself, and the two of them leaned back, balancing each other. (A video of this and other pieces is here.) She did a piece in which she lay in the midst of a burning five-pointed star, and one in which she lived on platforms raised high above the gallery floor for twelve days without eating or speaking. The only way down was via ladders, the rungs of which were upturned butcher knives.

The dedication and grace with which this great artist has put herself through privation, suffering and humiliation are admirable in a stark way, that moves me as a person interested in the extremes of human experience. It offers, to me, another window into why we do what we do. Sometimes – often, in fact – it is about sex. But not always. Sometimes, it feels to me, we are reaching for something more: a spiritual cleansing, a direct encounter with our own limits, the kind of fear that allows one to walk the line between life and death without falling in, because the guide, your partner, is there. Watch this to get a sense of that peculiar terror, the predicament that you’ve entered into willingly.

She performed these pieces to say a number of things: about the body, about limits, about Communism and the terror under which she grew up. But it still strikes me, the way we still do these things ourselves: the way we subject ourselves to suffering in order to learn something about ourselves and what we can take. To show ourselves that suffering has meaning.

Because we all suffer, each in our particular way, from the most abject to the most privileged among us. Not many of us can claim the kind of suffering Abramović endured under Tito – but perhaps that’s exactly why we put ourselves through what we do.

I don’t believe, as some do, that kinky inclinations are the result of a diseased mind. But I do imagine that most kinky people are in semi-privileged positions – and for those of us who have never known what it’s like to starve, live in war or occupation, or really hurt people for a living, it can be very intriguing to get close to violence, to put yourself through the kind of challenge that humans who live indoors and have TiVo are rarely called to anymore.

Sure, kink is sexy. Sure, power play is hot. But for me, at least, there’s something more to it. It’s about overcoming fear – or about seeing that fear in someone else’s eyes. It’s about seeing how much pain I can take before I break. It’s about finding my limits. It’s about knowing myself – and stretching the definition.

More of Marina here.

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So, after my advice the other day, I found this New York Times article, about how Google has begun a ban on advertising for cougar dating sites.

Cougars, for those of you who have been asleep, are older women who want to date younger men. Sites like Cougar Life promise to set up older, sexy, successful women with young hot studs. Google has decided that the whole concept isn’t “family-friendly,” and therefore is no longer allowing advertising from such sites on its content network – including sites like Ask.com, YoutTube and MySpace.

The kicker? Sugar daddy sites are still fine.

Mind you, I’m not all that thrilled with either concept – at least not as they are peddled by such dating sites. I’m not against May-December romances in either direction, but the commodification and objectification aspects bug me.

Nonetheless, this is flat-out discrimination. Cougar Life boasts that it “pairs women in their prime with younger men and ends the double standard!” The very language stating that such sites aren’t “family-friendly” brings bile to my mouth: it suggests pretty strongly that older men who cheat and have affairs with younger women are fine, but we mustn’t promote the idea that older women – who might even be MILFs! – might do the same thing. What about the CHILDREN??

Google has been on thin ice for a while when it comes to its motto of not being evil, but this sort of tears it for me. When Google starts trotting out the “family values” crap and applying different standards of “adult content” to women than they do to men, I start to become very afraid about how freaking huge Google is, and how much it owns.

Incidentally, though we know Facebook is evil, too, it should be noted that they’re still allowing the cougars to mate over there.

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Recently, Maymay, my favorite young sexuality warrior, was attacked by two women named Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks, who are affiliated with the branch of the Salvation Army that deals with sex trafficking. They set about to defame him, name him a pedophile and a generally disgusting human being, and make out his KinkForAll unconferences to be recruitment centers for children to become involved in “violent and unhealthy sexual practices.”

Anyone who knows Maymay knows what an earnest, intelligent, caring and free person he is. His recent post, where he responds to the woman who alerted him to the bulletin by first writing a ranty post, then gracefully apologizing for her anger, is nothing short of inspiring.

As one commenter said, I want to be like him when I grow up.

At the moment, he’s looking for support, which is why I’m making this post to begin with. If you have a moment and care about the cause of sexual freedom and education, please check out his post and signal boost it.

In specific, he asks that you follow these guidelines:

* Refer to me as maymay.
* Name Donna M. Hughes and Margaret Brooks as the sources of attacks.
* Do express your opinion, but do so civilly. Do not use hateful language when you refer to Donna M. Hughes, Margaret Brooks, or their affiliates.
* Link to my blog post(s) about this[0][1] and the posts of my friends,[2][3] but NOT to Donna M. Hughes’ or Margaret Brooks’ writings; linking there merely amplifies their damage.
* Link to your friends’ blog posts who have written about this when they do.
* Quote my blog if you feel tongue-tied or inarticulate.

It is my hope that all of us can rise to his example in this fight. We’ve all been Ranty McRantypants from time to time; in the blogosphere, it’s easy to do so. Attempting rational discourse and bridge-building is just incredible in this sphere, but it looks like it has begun.

Let’s go.

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Friends, kinksters, countrypeople,

Tuesday Advice has been on hiatus for a bit, mainly owing to nobody sending me questions of late. It is my hope that the launch of my new site will begin to remedy that, as well as bring me new opportunities to see people who would benefit from the kind of help I can provide.

To all of those ends, I present to you: Transformative Kink!

I advise you all to go check it out. 🙂

Seriously – it’s mostly worksafe in terms of pictures, though your office’s servers may record you visiting a domain with the word “kink” in it.

But I hope you will take a look and let me know what you think.

(Also: send me your questions. 🙂

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So when I was a pro domme, there were things I simply Would Not Do. Some of them were about legality: I didn’t have legally-defined sex with my clients. Others (and that last one too, in a way) were about my own boundaries: I didn’t have strap-on sex with clients because I liked it too much and found it too intimate. Still others I didn’t do because of a lack of expertise: needleplay falls into this category, though I’d still love to try it. And then there were the things that just squicked me: I would not give enemas, change diapers, do saline injections, deal with poop or sound urethras.

Well.

I still don’t deal with poop, or at least not in a sexy way. And the other things pretty much still stand. But…oh dear. I seem to have found a new kink in urethral sounding.

It started with a conversation about strange sexual things done during childhood…and before I knew it I was playing around with a very clean thermometer, a lube shooter, and one of my favorite cocks…and my oh my. He actually wasn’t sure how he felt about it in terms of sensation, but said he’d do just about anything for the look I had on my face.

Soon he’d sent me an article on the difference between urethral sounds and uterine dilators, then proceeded to order this nifty silicone toy in the shape of a nail from Mr. S, and this set of uterine dilators, which tend to be cheaper, smoother, shorter and straighter than actual sounds. Not to mention getting all those sizes in one pack! Yee!

Last night I got to play with the dilators for the first time, scrubbing up all doctor-like, using surgical lube, then forgetting all the kinky medical details and marveling at the beauty and power of a smooth piece of cold curved steel sliding seamlessly into the end of his cock…watching him shudder and breathe sharp as it dropped all the way down to his balls. It’s one beautiful thing to fuck a man in the ass. It’s quite another to fuck him in the very thing he usually uses to fuck.

Were I still in the business, I think this would go squarely on the “too intimate for clients” list. Wow.

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After a great deal of work by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders has agreed to change its criteria for its Paraphilias section, which up until this moment has listed Exhibitionism, Fetishism, Sexual Sadism, Sexual Masochism, Frotteurism, Pedophilia, Transvestic Fetishism, and Voyeurism as mental disorders in and of themselves. The proposed revisions would finally differentiate between these desires, which can be experienced healthily (pedophilia being possibly an exception), and the unhealthy expression of these desires, i.e. examples in which these desires inhibit day to day functioning, are exercised on non-consenting parties, or otherwise cause harm to self and/or others.

The manual will now include such things as Exhibitionistic Disorder, Sexual Masochism Disorder, and so on, and would require not just that the person exhibit the desires, but that said desires adversely affect the patient’s functioning or that they cause harm to others, such as unsuspecting strangers to which the exhibitionist exposes himself.

I will admit that I am a little concerned that pedophilia is included among these other so-called disorders: I believe that a person can have a fetish for shoes, for example, without it impinging upon his or her life or harming self or others. It’s difficult to imagine, however, someone having a strong sexual attraction to kids without it eventually becoming problematic – or even without it initially seeming sick in some way. It makes me wonder where and how we draw the line between just kinky and really actually kinda sick. Is there a way to have sexual attraction to kids and have that not be sick?

I mean, I suppose if you don’t act on it, it never actually causes harm. But I’m still not crazy about it being included with the other paraphilias, as I think that there are ways to enact the other paraphilias without causing anyone harm. I guess you could dress up someone of age as a kid. But…ugh. Seriously. Somebody help me out here. I really think that a line should be drawn between someone who gets off on hurting people – because they consent to it and like it – and someone who gets off on having sex with kids, who by definition are unable to consent. There are sadists who are truly sick, who want to hurt people who don’t want to be hurt. But are there pedophiles who aren’t truly sick? Somehow I can’t see it.

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Signal-boosting here, for a grant application that Maymay and Emma have out. They’re planning a great project seeking to highlight that sex education comes from everywhere, not just high school health class, and to spread the word about the importance of accurate and reliable sex ed.

A bit from their page:

Our vision of lasting change is to create a world in which accurate information about sexual health and freedoms reaches more students and young people than suffer from misinformation or a knowledge deficit. By engaging young people in the creation and distribution of knowledge, we hope to help them recognize their power to enact social justice in their local communities. This would be a world in which women and young people are aware of their sexual and reproductive rights from an early age, and are empowered to make informed decisions for themselves and educate those around them.

Awesome as usual, Maymay. To boost their vote count, click here!

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