Archive for Writings

Gearblast USA 2018: Event Review

// May 14th, 2018 // No Comments » // Writings

A few participants chilling at the pool

Executive Summary: Gearblast US is a unique gear-intensive weekend, straddling nicely between social and sexual, and providing a wide variety of gear interest to cater to most gearheads. While the venue is a bit out of the way, it’s perfect in size and layout for an event of this nature. Strong, professional volunteerism provided excellent practical arrangements from good food to an excellent play space.

Gearblast US, one of the three Gearblast event franchises in existence, took place May 3-7 in The Dunes Resort in Douglas, Michigan. Being the fourth incarnation of the US franchise, this was my first visit to it. Having previously done both the UK and EU versions of the event, I was curious to see how this 4-day event compared, and I was pleasantly surprised.

Venue

The Dunes is a gay-resort, hosting other sexual events as well, so the venue and staff are well-equipped to deal with special clientele. As the venue itself did not have capacity to host all 150+ participants, some were in overflow motels within walking distance. While there’s nothing luxurious about the Dunes, the rooms were clean, housekeeping efficient, and security present; that’s all you need for a great weekend.

Concept

Gimp waiting for lunch

The concept of Gearblast is somewhat loosely defined: get together in gear. This is probably intentional to cater to the fact that not everyone goes to it for sexual purposes, and you can get a lot out of the weekend purely on a social basis. Also, due to US legal issues, genital exposure is forbidden in public; however, bondage play and other mild forms of touching took place all around the venue. It’s also perfectly fine to wear any gear at any point during the weekend.

Talking about gear, all forms of gear were present during the weekend, from American football to full-on furry costumes. There’s no reason to fret your particular fetish isn’t compatible with the weekend.

The volunteers paid particular attention to the non-sexual aspects, with add-on events ranging from a gear walk and lacrosse match to Pup Olympics. 

Playspace

Me getting into some trouble at the playspace

The playspace was well designed, with some unique pieces of furniture, providing ample facilities and space for bondage play, or just sex in gear if that’s your thing. It was also continuously monitored by volunteer Dungeon Masters, providing an additional level of safety. I volunteered for a DM shift, and the training was thorough and professional. Also, several workshops, from saline play to electro, were organized in the play space, providing an interesting educational aspect as well.

Arrangements

This is technically not public genitalia exposure, but I’m not a lawyer…

Registration, food, and information flow were all professionally organized. A Telegram group kept everyone up to date. It’s a sign of heavy volunteer effort that you don’t really notice that everything just works. Food was standard American fare, with enough calories to keep you energized for the whole day.

GBUS also has a no-nonsense photo policy: just don’t be a dick and ask everyone in the photo before you take one.

Comparison to GBEU and GBUK

It would be unfair to really compare Gearblast US to its UK and EU counterparts, the latter two being essentially club nights in city clubs. What was truly remarkable about GBUS is the fact that being stuck in rural Michigan for 4 days forces you to chill: there’s no rush to do anything, so you end up socializing and having deep, philosophical late night discussions in the parking lot, which would be impossible in the other franchises. Also, the venue is perfect to stay in gear all 4 days, though this is by no means obligated: the only place with a dresscode was the playspace.

 

 

FAQ: Poppers and Eye Damage

// January 20th, 2018 // 1 Comment » // Writings

This is a follow-up to the original article about poppers and their ability to cause permanent eye damage. If you haven’t read the original article, please do, as it details the actual medical way the damage is being done.

Isn’t this all just because of Europe using isopropyl nitrite after 2007?

No. Isopropyl nitrite is not solely to blame for the eye damage. While it’s true that after 2007, isobutyl nitrite was phased out due to it being a suspected carcinogen in Europe, damage has been linked to other members of the alkyl nitrite group as well.

The first well documented case is from 2004, with isobutyl nitrite identified as the agent. This was before isopropyl enteted the market in Europe: Transient visual loss after amyl Isobutyl nitrite abuse (Seminars in Ophthalmology. Volume 31, 2016 – Issue 5)

Why is this happening now?

Poppers have been used for decades, but all well-documented cases are from recent years. One explanation may be that the damage is elusive in a sense that it’s generally not easy to diagnose in a normal optical test. The golden standard for poppers-related eye damage testing is optical coherence tomography, a relatively recent diagnostic procedure: invented in 1991, modern OCT high-resolution machines didn’t enter the medical market until 2000. 

I’m only using Jungle Juice from Canada, so I’ll be safe?

No, you won’t be. The contents of poppers vary widely and they are not subject to the same kind of strict quality control as medicines and food. They are often vaguely labelled, and in reality may contain a mixture of several chemicals.

I only use poppers very rarely, so I’ll be safe?

No, you won’t be. There are several documented cases where usage has been very infrequent.

How To Stop People From Stealing Your Photos

// January 16th, 2018 // No Comments » // Writings

  • The only way to stop people from stealing your kinky images and other media is to never put it online, ever.
  • If you destroy your awesome media by using intrusive watermarks, or remove your profile because you’re upset, terrorists win.
  • Most people don’t really care whose picture they are currently masturbating to.

 

One of the strangest points in your online career happens when you are popular enough that you start to see your pictures circulating online without your help. You feel a fuzzy feeling of accomplishment — you’re famous! Then you start to notice some of the pictures are mysteriously missing the precious watermark you spent hours figuring out how to do in Photoshop (or Microsoft Paint, if you don’t want to support Evil Corporations).

It feels like stealing. People are stealing your effort and brand, and use your media as their own. Of course, we don’t care about this when we get our movies or music from PirateBay — that’s just easy and fair, because Quentin Tarantino is swimming money anyways. But you are putting your media out for free — the least you deserve is some credit.

How do we react? Maybe we’ll put a bigger, more annoying watermark there. Put it in the center of the picture, so people can’t take it out without destroying the whole thing. This actually works: you will notice less people are retweeting your pics, because nobody wants to jerk off to your huge logo, with a rubber guy hidden in the background.

Maybe we’ll get upset on Twitter. Because the people who follow you on Twitter love the pornography, but even more, they love seeing angry people complaining about the unfairness of life. That’s an instant retweet.

Maybe we’ll delete our profile. But wait, that doesn’t help, since the pictures are already all over Tumblr. And it makes it a bit hard to claim you’re the original source, if you’ve just destroyed your online presence.

What do to then? Embrace it. Embrace the fact that your content is so good that out of a billion images available online, they took the time to actually Photoshop your image a bit. Realize, that there’s nothing you can do about it, and by putting out more original content, they’re not stealing your attention.

And let’s be fair: when was the last time you lost a hard-on while jerking off to internet porn because the picture lacked a watermark?

How dangerous is it to leave a sub alone?

// January 7th, 2018 // No Comments » // Writings

Being left alone helpless to enjoy your bondage is a common fantasy among kinksters. It’s the ultimate form of consensual non-consensuality: there’s no way out, if there’s nobody there to release you.
 
We all know the fundamental rule of BDSM is to never leave your sub alone in bondage. But this begs the question: how dangerous is it to actually leave a person alone?

External causes of danger

If we forget the complications of bondage itself, and focus on external dangers that could kill or injure your sub, the numbers are pretty clear: any external danger is ridiculously low.
 
Fire and burglary are the main external dangers. According to FEMA, there are approximately 380 000 household fires annually in the US, and according to FBI, about 1.5 million burglaries. As there are about 125 million households in the country, the risk of having a fire in a residence in the US in any 8 hour period is approximately one in 360 000, and a burglary one in 240 000 (it should also be noted that if your burglar sees a slave in a cage, he’ll most likely flee: only 7% of US burglaries happening while house is occupied result in any violence).
 
Other causes of household danger are far lower than fire and burglary, so it’s clear that your house will not destruct itself while you are away unless you are extremely unlucky.
 
For perspective, the average risk for an American 40 year old male dying in the next 8 hours is one in 490 000, according to the Social Security Actuarial Table. This increases to one in 95 000 if you’re 60 years old, so when you are playing with an old top, him keeling over and dying is much more likely than a catastrophic fire.

Physical causes of danger

Bondage itself is dangerous. Any form of constriction around the neck or head can cause death in two ways: asphyxiation (not getting enough oxygen), and the vasovagal response (constricting the neck, resulting in a reflexive crashing of blood pressure). These risks depend on the kind of bondage, so it’s best to stay away from the head and neck area.
 
Even if the head and neck area is completely free, constriction around the chest area may cause positional asphyxia, where the sub is unable to breathe properly due to exertion required to physically breathe. This is usually caused by the sub being on his stomach, as in a hogtie.
 
What if the neck and head of the sub is free, and there is no significant pressure around the chest area? It’s pretty difficult to kill your sub. Other dangers are also present, but generally nonlethal.
 
Too tight bondage in any part of the body causes two kinds of damage: circulatory and nerve damage. These are significant, because if a top is present in a scene, any problem can be quickly fixed, but if you are alone, there’s nobody to help and things can go wrong quickly.

Circulation problems

Circulatory problems result in tissue not getting enough blood due to position or constriction. Lying immobile, bed sores can form as quickly as 2 hours when a static position prevents free circulation. In legs and arms, tight restraints can result in loss of circulation and progress to ischemia and eventually gangrene in a matter of hours. There’s also a danger of blood clots.
 
Circulatory problems will eventually cause nerve damage (which is often permanent) due to nerves not getting enough blood, but nerve damage can happen sneakily by itself as well.

Nerve damage

Pressure in incorrect places, or unsustainable positions, will damage nerves directly. In mild cases, the myelin sheath around a nerve is damaged, resulting in damage which heals by itself. This healing can take up to 6-9 weeks, but often happens in a matter of hours. More serious damage affects the nerve itself, resulting in damage that can take months to years to fully heal.
 
Nerve damage usually has symptoms (pins and needles, progressing to numbness), but occasionally it’s symptomless until the damage has been done.

Psychological dangers

People react unexpectedly when they are left alone. Panic attacks are a real risk. While a panic attack itself is not dangerous, its symptoms can be. Uncontrollable struggling may result in bondage or equipment failing, suddenly changing the situation.

Vomiting is a dangerous symptom of a panic attack, especially if the sub is in a vulnerable position. Any gag or obstruction in the mouth while vomiting will most likely result in death through asphyxiation, or at least aspiration pneumonia when vomit gets inhaled into the lungs.

Prolonged or intense fear can cause long-lasting psychological symptoms, of which most famous is PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder. This may be destructive for any future kink.

Should you do it?

As a sane adult (I hope), that’s for you to decide. There are ways to mitigate risk when it comes to leaving someone alone in bondage:

  • Do not use gags or hoods, or do head bondage, that obstruct with breathing or vomiting in any way
  • Do not do any bondage around the neck, and be conservative with any bondage around the chest area
  • Be careful with any pressure points, give the sub enough movement to be able to move around to avoid undue constant pressure
  • Do not leave subs that have a history of panic attacks or related psychological issues alone
 

As with anything, it’s impossible to remove all the risk. Being alone in bondage is a big fantasy for many people, but focusing on the details, you can make it as safe as you can.

Isn’t this irresponsible? You should be saying ‘never leave a sub alone!’

BDSM is always potentially a lethal activity, and we take a calculated risk when we get tied up. If we lived in a world of moral absolutes, you shouldn’t be doing bondage at all, since there is no way to guarantee the safety of your sub even when you are 100% present. People will leave their subs alone, bareback, and smoke weed, along with other things you consider morally abject, and to condemn everything simply prevents real information from getting through.

There are stupid ways of leaving your sub alone, and relatively safe ways of doing the same. It’s your call which one you pick.

Why Doesn’t Anyone Want To Play With Me?

// March 30th, 2017 // No Comments » // Writings

It’s a widely known fact that 78% of kinksters don’t get as much play as they would like. Okay, I made up that number, but it’s gotta be close. Chances are you know people who are perpetually frustrated at other people having constant fun — while they get none. Or maybe you are one of those yourself. Regardless, you should know that everyone is in the same boat when it comes to finding play.

“If only I was 20 years younger, with a six pack, I’d have so much more fun.”

The easiest way out of dealing with your problems is to blame external factors. If only you were younger, more fit, lived in a bigger city, had more gear, you’d have all the fun, all the time. This is simply not true.

If it makes it any easier, I’ve met young guys in Berlin (The Gay Kink Mecca™ of the World) complaining there’s nobody interesting to meet. And people in major US cities, with world-class playrooms, complaining that everyone’s just looking for a quick fuck.

Then again, there are older, average sized guys in small cities having more fun than you.

Action Point: Stop blaming things you have no control over. External factors matter less than you think, and it’s a waste of time to blame them.

“Everyone is just looking to get a quick session.”

The second easiest way to escape the situation is to blame other people’s motives. You are looking for deep friendship, others are just want to get off and then vanish.

It is relatively rare to find an individual who prefers kink scenes with random people instead of people they care about. Most people prefer to form playing relationships, learning each others particular interests, and having deeper, mutual fun. Boundaries can be pushed with repeated sessions, and relationships can be developed out of this.

Why do we end up in random sessions? The same reason we have random sex, fail to eat healthily, avoid exercise, and smoke. Instant pleasure trumps delayed pleasure. And when we see other people on the hunt, we assume that’s the only way to go. Building a playing relationship takes time and effort, and it’s not always instant fun, so it’s easier to go online to jerk off to profiles and then complain how superficial everyone is.

Action Point: Be clear about what you want. Most people are open to deeper relationships, but you have to push beyond the surface. Meet people over coffee. Get to know them.

“Everyone just wants to sub. Why doesn’t anyone want to dom me?”

Finally, if you get over your appearance and other people’s motives, you still have The Sub Problem™. There are so many subs around, and so few doms, and the ones you find are all creepy in different ways. Why doesn’t anyone want to dom you?

If you look closely, you may see some irony here: first complaining that there are too many needy subs around, and then being one.

While it is true that subs are everywhere, and sane doms are not, the issue here is a bit deeper than that. When you complain about lack of domination in your life, it reveals that you look at the world through your own needs and supposed entitlements. Why don’t other people give me what I want? This is of course the exact same situation people face in all avenues of life: other people in the world seem to prioritize their own needs over yours, and so do you.

Action Point: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” -Zig Ziglar