tapping on the glass, pt. 2

A sequel to this mess.

cn: uhhh, talk about “the kink community” as far as my limited exposure to it, touch and desiring-touch talk, bondage, some D/s talk from someone easily squicked by D/s, with mentions of the more alarming stuff, & sex aversion and lamenting sexual expectations re: the physical touch escalator

general problems:

  • I don’t want to see naked people.  I don’t want to see half-naked people.  That’s an issue unto itself.
  • Even when the interest-in-kink-requires-interest-in-sex assumption doesn’t lead to me ending up seeing images I really didn’t want to see, it’s alienating.  Try to look up some basic instruction manuals?  Find a bunch of books that assume you’re trying to “spice up your sex life” with “erotic” bondage and “sexy” domination.  Take a type quiz just to see what things it’ll ask you about?  It keeps asking whether you find XYZ “arousing.”
  • Everything is so heterosexual.
  • Aside from just assuming what your preferences, boundaries, and tolerances are with regard to sex, the same happens with other kinks.  Just because I’m interested in learning about different kinds of knots and uses of rope doesn’t mean I want to see a lady awkwardly positioned at the feet of a faceless man grabbing her, thanks.  Please don’t just take that as a given.
  • On that note: for the love of God, “top who takes a nurturing role” is not mutually inclusive with an ageplay/parental/incest fetish.  Jesus.  This is why we can’t have nice things.
  • As Minty pointed out, it’s not that easy to come by serious, intimate touch and intense sensory experiences outside of sexual relationships (and especially outside of romantic relationships), and so as someone who’s arcflux and not dating anyone and not trying to date anyone… accessing those kinds of experiences seems nigh impossible.  Seeking touch as a structured centerpiece (rather than just as a casual sideshow, as in occasional greeting hugs or cuddling during a movie) doesn’t have a designated path… outside the kink community.  I’m drawn in that direction because it seems like the only place I could conceivably get the things I have in mind, especially since “conventional”(?) romantic-sexual relationships are so far off the table for me.  So in that light, I’m actually drawn to kink because I’m sex-averse.
  • For reasons that are… comprehensible, the kink community in general has an ethos of acceptance and privacy, which can turn into the whole “don’t judge” value system and the whole secrecy issue and don’t-talk-bad-about-anyone thing and the loyal protect-the-ingroup dynamic that… is… really easily put to the service of abusers.  And I know that the whole “BDSM is abuse!” kneejerk reaction is why privacy and mass acceptance are so valued by practitioners, but that doesn’t change what I said, and if what I know via the copilot about the local scene is anything to go by, there really is an Issue with known abusers not being ousted.
  • And on that subject, in every single example I’ve seen of someone writing about the difference between kink and abuse, the differentiation relies on a premise of such nominal consent that it’s no wonder that Issue is a thing.  Really, I get the impression that none of these authoritatively-speaking people have a very thorough understanding of how abuse works to begin with, because, hi, you know what, I was technically agreeing to remain in my friendship/relationship with the Ex-Friend at the time, that’s what I consented to, that’s what I wanted, and that doesn’t mean he wasn’t mistreating me.  You have to go beyond nominal consent, sorry.  I know.  It’s almost as if there isn’t a way to make this easy.


specific interest areas:

  • “service top” & “topping from the bottom”: two terms made confusing by the fact that “top” is used to mean multiple things which are traditionally grouped together (as far as I can tell: initiator, decision-maker, person delivering sensation, assertive party in a assertive/passive dynamic).

So, from what I could glean, the concept of a service top describes delivering touch and sensation in ways that are explicitly dictated by the play partner moment-by-moment or are delivered in the manner of “service” (possible parallels w/ “stone” identity in lesbian & transmasculine communities).  Apparently there’s a lot of elitism about how service topping is not the way things are supposed to be done and “True” Dominants are supposed to impose their will on others during the scene and not take directions from anyone and blah blah blah, take that and shove it.

Topping from the bottom is kind of(?) the opposite.  From the “bottom” — recipient — role, someone gives instructions or otherwise exerts more explicit control over how the scene plays out, during the midst of the scene itself rather than just during negotiations.  Using the phrase as a search term brought me an article about “recognizing” the “signs,” like it was a disease or something.  People seem to talk about it like someone topping from the bottom is Doing Submission Wrong because during the scene you’re supposed to just accept whatever you’re given and gughlgrhuhguhhh.  Shut up shut up shut up.

Yes, they’re contrary to the standard “rules” of D/s, but that’s actually what appeals to me about these; it’s that they play with D/s frameworks but simultaneously aren’t D/s — or muddle and muck with the way D/s is “supposed” to work.  There’s some degree of assertive-passive dynamics but it looks (and feels?) more overtly cooperative and collaborative while being monodirectional in sensation and direction roles, and I think that’s pretty cool.

  • “soft kink”: kink without the use of physical force, or kink that’s less overtly dramatic, if you will, and more gentle in nature.

There’s a description the copilot dug up from somewhere on Fetlife that gives some sensation play examples — “hugging, petting, effleurage, back and body rubs, light fingernails, textured cloths and fur.”

I had to look up what effleurage is.  It’s a massage technique.

(Remember when I said I have strong visceral empathy?  I got all relaxed just reading that page, and then went off to watch a bunch of massage videos on youtube for a while.  So, my weakness has its upsides, at least.)

I don’t even know any issues with this.  It just sounds really nice.

  • bondage: the use of some material (usually rope) to restrain or wrap around limbs or body parts.

I was never a Boy Scout and never learned to tie any knots, but I wish I had.  The copilot is a big rope nerd and I get curious about the techniques involved.  This is a special “common” kink to me in that it doesn’t involve anything I think is painful, aggressive, or gross.  You just make interconnected shapes!  Pretty neat.  Now there’s something my normally kink-repulsed nature doesn’t recoil at.

Problems: the copilot says that you can’t do body harnesses with a shirt on (for reasons related to the physics of rope-on-skin vs. rope-on-cloth-on-skin?).  I don’t care much for suspension or harnesses anyway, but it’s apparently one of those commonplace things in the bondage realm (meaning: bare boobs everywhere).  Also, trying to look up some basic rope configurations brought me stuff on how to tie someone in a way that spreads their legs and/or was written like the intent is for bondage to be an addition to sex, which… is really not related to my interests.

  • “primal”: literally none of the definitions for this are coherent or satisfactory.  It seems to describe a loose grouping of things including but not always: 1) animalistic behavior of varying kinds, like sniffing, 2) forgoing artificial implements and 3) being blunt and intense and no-holds-barred or whatever.

Sounds kind of alarming and pretentious, to be honest.  Definitely nix #3 because everything written about that part sounds like someone’s excuse to be a thoughtless jerk.

Apparently what distinguishes this from pet play (besides the fact that pet play seems to involve a lot of tools and toys, and the fact that it creeps me out more) is that primal play doesn’t have the human-owning-a-pet idea as a central component and is more based off of wild animal behavior (or not-necessarily-nonhuman “instinctual” behavior).  The neat thing about that is that it places an emphasis on nonverbal communication, without framing it as a speech restriction/punishment thing.  Which sounds… nice, sometimes.  In everyday circumstances, sometimes I want to interact with people, in person, but am not always up to the braintask of speech, not because I’m tired or not mentally present but just because that’s not what I’m feeling, and it’d be convenient to have a sanctioned space for that.

Also I’ve always liked it when animals sniff my hand and people mimicking the behavior of curious inspection sniffing sounds adorable, sorry.

That said, the whole “primal mindset” junk that descriptions of this idea come wrapped in is very… ehhhh (not to mention… makes a bunch of inaccurate generalizations about animals and general biology and psychology).

And while it’s easy for me to imagine various tones for primal play to take, most(?) of the stuff written about it seems to treat it as though most of it’s very aggressive or involves aggression (despite the fact that, as you may have noticed, wild animals do other things besides be aggressive).  And that’s. hm. um. potentially of interest as well, depending.  I mean, competition and play wrestling is one thing.  But it’s one of those weird areas where, at a certain point, it’s like “this seems like it could be interesting but I don’t trust anyone who says they’re interested in this.”


So I’ve got my thoughts a little better organized than before, at least.  Now I’ve just got to… figure out a safe and satisfying way to pursue any part of this, given all the deterrents of the aforementioned problems.

17 responses to “tapping on the glass, pt. 2

  • epochryphal

    “drawn to kink because sex-averse” mmmm yes. and Seriously, all the nsfw ads all over kink everything. i went to folsom street faire one time, and nooo, sorry, mass of naked people with unavoidable accidental body contact while walking, nooooo.

    yeah pretty much everything about 50shades and kink and abuse is awful. even the Official infographics by, what is it, national advocacy for sexual freedom (a telling name for a kink lobbyist group), way oversimplified.

    trying to deconstruct top/bottom dom/sub is always this meta elaborate thing. it’s funny how service tops get conflated with “not in control of the scene anymore” — like…sure, maybe more rigid/clear boundaries, more focus on only doing things the other person likes..? that’s less Power? ohhh nooo how horrible. idk. i feel like Control isn’t…that necessary to assign. like you said, cooperation. with or without a sort of, passive/active vibe.

    huh. now i’m all wondering about — hm. about *sense* of un/control, and passivity, and specifically like. servicey fearplay? lmaooo making shit up, that’s me. but why the hell couldn’t that exist?

    sensory play yes! electro stuff and wartenberg wheels (yesss) and feathers and wax and ice and options! it’s so nice. and readily forgotten.

    also i’ve totally seen rope over clothes? not often but. i have no idea about friction but as long as you’re not suspending them it’s prob fine, just decorative? rope is a whole intricate, patient thing (and i usually don’t have the patience). there tend to be more rope workshops than anything else, and the ones i’ve been to didn’t have nudity? but lots of sex jokes and assumptions, yeah.

    primal stuff weirds me for the most part. sometimes werewolf or vampire stuff is cool? and yesss wrestling. but 10000% the “this could be interesting but i wouldn’t trust anyone interested in it” heyo (consensual nonconsent, *shakes fist*)

    happy dance of kink talksss

    • Coyote

      “i went to folsom street faire one time, and nooo, sorry, mass of naked people with unavoidable accidental body contact while walking, nooooo.”

      aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh! e.e

      “that’s less Power? ohhh nooo how horrible. idk.”

      Because, as we all know, wanting something that someone else doesn’t want is Bad. …and this coming from kinksters isn’t ironic at all.

      “sensory play yes! electro stuff and wartenberg wheels (yesss) and feathers and wax and ice and options! it’s so nice. and readily forgotten.”

      I had to go look up wartenberg wheels. O.O Spiky.

      “primal stuff weirds me for the most part.”

      I feel like this should. be framed. or go in a photoalbum. That one time that something I’m sort of interested in weirded out Cor.

      Anyway, on that subject, I’ll add… it’s mostly like, if someone said, “hi I’m interested in aggressively pinning people down, seemingly against their will, and brutally wrestling them into submission,” especially if it was a dude saying it (but even otherwise) I just have to take that as a red flag and be wary around that person — and probably avoid them as much as I can. And that sounds like exactly what I’d encounter if I tried to seek out folk with shared interest in “primal” play. guh.

      @brain why do you have to be so inconvenient

      • epochryphal

        hahahahaha i love…when my friends take pride in weirding me out… 8) (yes. all the pride. revel)

        and Yeah. why this. but especially men. also feeds into why i have a whole circle of friends with similar feels and All of us are like “yeah that would be great and we’re safe for each other but none of us want to give that stuff, where find safe givers why.” (soooo at least if you go looking for interested bottoms as a hey-nuance-and-safety-and-talking-about-abuse top, you are literal gold)

    • Sennkestra

      Ah yes, Folsom, land of naked men and more naked men….it’s slightly more tolerable if you go super early in the morning before it gets crowded and drunk, but it’s still pretty awkward. And of course all the random masturbation. I will say that going with a couple aces this year made it more tolerable, but yeah, really not safe for anyone who is even a little bothered by that kind of thing.

      I’ve found that munches help avoid much of the nudity and public sex and such, but of course it’s not a place you can actually do anything other than talk. Also, they unfortunately seem to be divided into either munches in bars with lots of young men who aggressively hit on you, or munches in cafes where everyone is the age of your parents and mostly talks about events you didn’t go to…which is basically why I stopped going to any local kink community events.

      (The only munch that I actually felt comfortable at was the more-than-just-gays queer munch, which of course was canceled after that meeting…)

      I did meet someone who was starting a kinky discussion-based student group at their university, which I think is the kind of atmosphere I’d actually like for a kink community, but I’m not a student anymore so that’s not really an option.

      Idk, can someone here win the lottery and start an ace-friendly kink resort on an island somewhere?

      • epochryphal

        hahahaha an island with complimentary travel. yes.

        we had an “it’s complicated” group with Super Rad people and good talk, but once a month ill-advertized meant it fizzled out really fast. sigh

    • Ettina

      What about wearing a T-shirt and tying your wrists?

  • Hezekiah the (meta)pianycist

    So until I read this post I didn’t know that “topping from the bottom” and “service top” were Names for a Thing that Other People Did. I am so happy to discover that there are names for those concepts so that I can refer to my sensory-play-related desires with better words!!

  • Libris

    Yeah, you have listed almost all the reasons I don’t feel okay with supposedly ‘community’ stuff. (The other big one for me is the assumption that literally everything comes from a D/s perspective, which weirds me the fuck out, since my response to D/s stuff being even theoretically, abstractly applied to me is to run away screaming. Plus, it misses out so much two-sided stuff which could be so interesting!) (There is a difference between monodirectional stuff and explicitly applying power dynamics, godsdamnit!)

    I’ve seen ‘forgoing artificial implements’ be super pretentious, yeah, but I also understand how it can not be, if that makes sense? Something about maximal sensory experience and intimacy, etc. And yeah, the safety negotiations round that are… yeah. One of those things that is much easier when it happens as a corollary, hard to look for. (A lot of people figure out whether they are interested in that by way of martial arts classes? Which also helps contribute to safety if you do run across someone skeevy. But you may have already done/thought of that!)

    Also yeah the constant, constant assumption that something’s only a kink if you’re sexually interested in it is urgh.

    • Coyote

      “I’ve seen ‘forgoing artificial implements’ be super pretentious, yeah, but I also understand how it can not be, if that makes sense?”

      Oh it’s not that part I was talking about with that, haha. But yeah, that seems fine.

      “A lot of people figure out whether they are interested in that by way of martial arts classes?”

      That… is… not something I would have expected… although I really did enjoy my MMA course while it lasted, despite not being any good at it…

      • cheerfuloptimistic

        I took a self-defense class a few years ago, and what happened a lot was pairing off with people to spar. While I’m not really into masochism as a kink, one of the reasons I’d like to find another class would be the fun of sparring.

  • Sennkestra

    For what it’s worth, I went to a local rope bondage meetup and got to experience a basic chest harness and suspension bondage, and it worked fine over my shirt and shorts. There was a little more slipping than there might have been on bare skin, but not too much. It probably depends on how complicated of a tie you are going for. (I also had a pretty tight fitting shirt on, which may have helped).

    • Elizabeth

      Yeah, I’ve seen plenty of rope bondage done over clothes. Tight-fitting clothes are preferable, but I’ve been tied up (but not suspended) wearing jeans and a two-layered shirt before, and it worked just fine. I suspect that the comment about “it doesn’t work with clothes” might actually be more about the person who made it’s comfort level/expertise with rope than anything else. It’s probably more difficult to tie someone up who is wearing clothes, but it can certainly be done without hurting the person who gets tied up.

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