Archive for Writings

10 Things You Shouldn’t Write on Your Recon Profile

// February 9th, 2017 // No Comments » // Writings

“I am pretty much willing to try anything once.”

Wait until you see my Makita power drill…


“Not into fakes and flakes”

Yeah, that should stop them…


“Bondage isn’t bondage until you want out”

Well, actually it is. And also, are you implying that you won’t let me out if I really need out?


“No drama”

Most people who are full Drama actually think they have none, so this doesn’t really help.


“=Results from http://bdsmtest.org/ = 93% Voyeur 88% Experimentalist 84% Dominant …”

These imaginary percentages are meaningless to 69% of kinksters.


“WARNING PRIVACY NOTICE: Any institutions using this site or any of its associated sites for studies or projects…”

This warning is meaningless, both in legal and scientific sense.


“Just ask.”

You do realize what the point of a profile text is?


“Not into underaged or anything illegal.”

If you were, you would still say that.


“Looking for something meaningful.”

Yeah, I guessed that already from the 36 dick pictures in your gallery.


“Thanks for reading this far.”

You do realize nobody will get that far, right?


Poppers, Eye Damage and Maculopathy

// January 26th, 2017 // 1 Comment » // Uncategorized, Writings

Executive Summary: There is increasing evidence that using poppers of any formulation carries a risk of permanent damage to the fovea, the area of the human eye responsible for sharp vision. This damage can occur after first usage, or after decades of use. The exact mechanism of damage is not completely clear, but it is inherent in the way poppers work.

I rarely feel the need to educate fellow kinksters, but having done extensive reading on scientific literature about poppers and their capability to cause eye damage, and seeing all the misinformation and rumours spread around, I had to compile an up-to-date, plain term but scientific explanation of the danger of eye damage with poppers.

Disclaimer: While I have scientific training, I don’t have a medical degree and all information here is provided without any warranty of accuracy of any kind.

What exactly are poppers?

Poppers are a street name for a group of chemicals better known as alkyl nitrites. They originally came into medicine in the form of amyl nitrite, which was discovered to have a potent capability to expand blood vessels. This feature found use in the treatment of angina pectoris, a particular kind of chest pain resulting from narrowing of the blood vessels of the heart.

Amyl nitrite remained a medicine, and in fact in many places available freely over the counter. In 1969, the US Food and Drug Administration made it prescription only[1] when the increased use of it in raves and gay sex aroused the attention of the government. However, other variants of the chemical group, including isobutyl nitrite, isopropyl nitrite, pentyl nitrite, and cyclohexyl nitrite, have a mixed legal status in different countries.

In the European Union, isobutyl nitrite remained most popular until it was banned in 2007[2] based on the European Chemicals Agency classifying it as a potential cancer-causing chemical. This resulted in European poppers shifting to isopropyl nitrite. For legal and liability reasons, poppers are invariably sold as not designed for human consumption (usually as ‘leather cleaners’ or ‘room odorizers’), which is also unfortunately why they don’t need to be labeled with detailed ingredients.

How do they work, and what is the difference between the different chemicals?

All members of the alkyl nitrite group work the same way, however, different members have different volatilities[3], which may affect how they feel. The mechanism still remains the same: all poppers cause a chemical called nitric oxide to be released into the bloodstream, which causes a rapid expansion of blood vessels, a drop in blood pressure, and an euphoric feeling we all love.

A lot of popper users report particular affinity to certain brands (such as ‘Rush’ or ‘Jungle Juice’). However, as most countries have only one or two legal variants of alkyl nitrites, and as all alkyl nitrites have a similar mechanism of effect, this feeling is more likely caused by both the label effect (seeing a label on a product changes your opinion of the product), and variations in bottles being fresh or stale, poorly manufactured, and so on. Additives in poppers are not regulated and may also explain why different poppers feel different.

What’s the deal with eye damage?


Yellow spots on the fovea (A) and damage to the nerves of the fovea (B), from [10]

Similar damage, from [12]

Very unfortunately, nitric oxide has another effect on the human body. It interferes with a special enzyme in the human body (guanylyl cyclase), which is responsible for a lot of things. One thing it is responsible is the controlling how the retina in the eye adjusts to light[4], although this effect is not completely understood yet[5]. Nitric oxide has been linked to excessive light causing damage to the eye[6], and specifically blocking the effect of nitric oxide has been shown to protect the eye from light damage[7].

So because poppers get their effect from nitric oxide, and it also interferes with the retina, there have been numerous well documented cases of poppers use immediately causing damage to the fovea, the area of the retina responsible for central, sharp vision. In some cases, there has been recovery of eye function after poppers use was discontinued[8][9], but in many other cases, the damage appears permanent[10].

It is also a possibility that simultaneous use of certain erectile dysfunction drugs (such as Viagra), and/or HIV medication adds to the mechanism causing the eye damage[11] because of how
the human body metabolizes those drugs.

How big is the risk?

There are a few dozen well-documented cases in the scientific literature. However, as this phenomenon is not well known even by eye doctors, it’s probably underdiagnosed and the true victim count is much higher. A simple Google search for ‘poppers eye damage’ reveal hundreds of discussion board messages detailing people’s issues with poppers and unexplained vision problems.

Because of this, the true incidence of eye damage is not known.

How can I stay safe?

That’s the sad part. The only way to stay safe is not to use poppers. The damage to the eyes is not linked to any particular brand, or formulation of poppers, and neither is it linked to how much you use them. Some cases in the medical literature describe situations where first ever use of poppers has resulted in damage, and in some cases, it’s been after decades of use.

Life is a calculated risk. I enjoy poppers immensely, but the risk of permanent eye damage is too great to take for a quick high.

Further Reading

[1] http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfCFR/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=250&showFR=1&subpartNode=21:4.0.1.1.16.2
[2] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ%3AL%3A2006%3A033%3A0028%3A0081%3Aen%3APDF
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poppers
[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4289840/
[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20171265
[6] http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1005118
[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7507723
[8] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/08820538.2014.962175
[9] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08820530490882292
[10] http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)60887-4/fulltext?rss%3Dyes
[11] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/aos.12753/full
[12] http://search.proquest.com/openview/4995733a48abcee30d5701cc96e22c41/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=33647

Product review: S10 gas mask blindfold caps by RobotGarage

// December 1st, 2016 // No Comments » // Writings

aaa-1871

aaa-1874

aaa-1878The British S10 mask is one of my favourite gas masks, but the biggest downside is that all additional lenses, such as tinted add-on-lenses, are absurdly expensive.

However, RobotGarage on etsy is selling 3d-printed S10 lenses for $18, which is a cheap price compared to standard S10 add-ons. I ordered a pair.

Delivery to Europe was quick, and immediately upon receiving the caps I tried them out with my Regulation S10 hooded gas mask.

The caps fit nicely, they are not too snug but will not come off spontaneously no matter how much you shake your head. They are offered in two colors, black and blue: I originally wanted blue but RobotGarage advised me that they might leak some light, and suggest a compromise of blue color with black backing.

The caps in this configuration block light fairly effectively. There is a faint, almost imperceptible streak of light near the rim, which is probably due to the blue plastic letting a bit of light through. This is not a major problem, and you can only see the light if you really concentrate on it.

It’s probable that an all-black version of the mask does not have this issue.

At $18, they are a steal and highly recommended for any discerning S10 owner.

Event review: Recon’s London Fetish Week 2016

// July 22nd, 2016 // No Comments » // Writings

This July saw the 7th annual Recon Fetish Week in London. Having been to all of them, since the first one in 2010, it’s interesting to see how the weekend has evolved to be a full week of kinky craziness, and even recently branching out to non-sexual events, such as a film screening and an art display.

My first event was the Best in Show pup play event on Wednesday evening. Held in the club Fire, this was the first time pup play was featured so prominently on the agenda. The main programme of the event was a pup play contest in multiple parts, awarding medals in five categories. All parts of the competition were professionally organised, and went smoothly, but it was evident that many people had not expected a drawn-out, real competition. Also, the lack of any dark room was somewhat noticeable, but then again, life is about improvisation, so I had my fun with a rubbered pup in a suitably dark corner, away from curious eyes.

Thursday featured the ever-present Sportswear Cruising party once again at the Hoist. This has become a fixture on the Thursday programme, and Hoist was again full of hot and sweaty sportsmen. Deviating from my usual plan to wear my Spider-Man suit (Recon explicitly allows this in their written dress code!), I borrowed an American football kit from a friend and went as football pig.

Friday was the oddest evening of the week. Previously, Friday had always featured a general fetish party with a mellow theme, such as the BLF Party, the Black Party or the Into The Tank party, uniting everyone. This year, Recon had made the surprising choice of putting the Skinhead party on Friday evening (and by mistake, having conflicting information about dress code in their publicity). This was held in the back section of Union, and proved to be somewhat small, also without a dedicated darkroom. Also, the Hoist had a roleplay-intensive private event on the evening so there were no close-by options. Putting a niche event such as Skinhead on Friday evening is a dubious choice, and the Skinhead event should be moved back to its normal place as a daytime bar event.

Also on Friday was the Fetish Dinner, at the Counter at Vauxhall. I don’t know anything about food, and I don’t pretend to, as the event is more about socialising than food. My burger was great though.

Saturday was the much-anticipated Full Fetish at the Coronet, for the last time since the venue will be closed soon. Everything was functional in the party, which is no small feat, so kudos to Recon for that.

Sunday featured the standard double-event of the Rubber Party and Deconstruction. The Rubber Party was once again at the Union, although this time with rather demotivated staff, serving customers as slowly as possible and showing little enthusiasm for the event. In contrast, the security people were the funniest and energetic I’ve seen in a long while.

Overall, Recon’s Fetish Week has established itself as the European go-to event competing with other major events such as the Easter or Folsom Europe in Berlin. It will be seen what the venue for Full Fetish will be next year. With a few schedule adjustments, Recon has an amazing concept in its hands.

Secret Life of the Human Pups: Balanced?

// July 22nd, 2016 // No Comments » // Writings

The Channel Four documentary Secret Life of the Human Pups (Firecracker Films 2016, produced and directed by Guy Simmonds) is a rare glimpse into the world of human pups.

Doing its best to show pups in their normal environment and letting them do the most talking (or barking), the documentary follows a few pups in the course of their normal lives, and also highlights Mr. Puppy UK’s participation in the Mr. Pup Europe competition. Certain public events are also portrayed.

Before the release of the documentary, the pup community anticipated an exploitative scandal, and possibly an public outrage, with many pups hiding their online personas and psyching them ready for a free-for-all. In stark contrast, the documentary presents a relatively neutral portrait of a few pups, and lets the viewers make their own conclusions.

Why only relatively neutral? The documentary does its best to avoid any discussion of sexuality, being only slightly alluded to in a discussion of pup play’s roots in BDSM. Pup play is strongly portrayed as a non-sexual hobby, only there to provide a safe headspace where to escape the daily grind. As anyone exposed to the pup scene knows, this is an omission. A lot of pups play either partly or solely for sexual purposes, deriving sexual pleasure out of the pup gear, or using pup gear to facilitate other sexual practises.

This is an understandable omission, considering the context of the documentary. It is hard enough to introduce the greater public into pup play on the innocent side, let alone show what happens to pups in the back rooms of kinky cruising parties. However, documentaries are judged by their impartialness and balance, not as adverts. The discussion about sexuality is analogous to the furry community’s eternal divide between non-sexual furries and sexual furries.

The most outstanding element of the documentary is the carefully composed cinematography, soundtrack, and narration, serving to bring the viewer into the same peaceful headspace the pups themselves seek to immerse in.

All in all, the documentary is valuable in a broader sense as it exposes the general public into the not-so-usual sexual practises, and it can be argued that the time is not yet right for public to see the full spectrum of pup play, so for now, we are stuck with the fluffy part.