Rope Workshops with Michael Ronsky (27/28 June)

  
A rigger and performer, Michael Ronsky, was in town last weekend and SLAP! had the pleasure of hosting and running 2 workshops with him. 

A few of us did both workshops, and boy was it a rope intensive weekend for us. I’m sure a few of us went back with rope high. I know that my boy and I certainly did. 

I learnt so much from Michael over the weekend, and it was truly money well spent. Even though I already knew a lot of what he taught, I got to see things from his perspective and experience his style. 

I think at some point I let my OCD get the better of me and started focusing too much on technical aspects of ties and how to do it correctly. I’m not saying that isn’t important. It is. But I kept trying to perfect things and forgot to have fun and play. 

This weekend, I learnt how to play again. 

Michael had the riggers blindfolded, and asked us to start with a simple single column around the wrists. From there, we were to forget everything else and just use that one rope we had, and our body, to restrain and play with our bottoms. 

Being blindfolded helped me to forget all the details that I usually focus on so much. It made me focus on my rope, my boy, and our bodies. I’ve never felt this connected to anyone when tying before. And it was fun. We both had such an intense connection that I wasn’t even thinking about the other people in the room. By the time I finally removed my blindfold, I realised that we had been playing for quite awhile and everyone else was done. 

At the suspension workshop the next day, we learnt partial suspensions, but in that same concept of playing. We got our main ties done very technically and structurally sound, and then from there started playing with different ways to move the body around. I’ve always wondered how to do transitions, and I think I learnt exactly how to this weekend. My boy was all blissed out and in rope space after our suspension session. 

It is always interesting to learn from and understand the perspectives and styles of different people, no matter what your experience level is. As long as you keep an open mind when it comes to learning, there’s always something to take away from even the most basic of workshops. 

We at SLAP! are looking forward to bringing in more presenters to share their knowledge and experience with you. 

Basic Rope Handling: Joining/Extending Rope for Shibari

To maintain fluidity and increase the speed of tying, Shibari typically uses medium length ropes of 7-10m. This means that you will have to extend your ropes regularly while tying.

Safety

A knot is required to join the ropes together. If the knot is located at a point where it will place pressure on nerves and arteries, this can be dangerous. Adjust the positioning of the knot to avoid placing pressure over danger points. Common danger points include the nerves under the armpit, as well as radial nerve on the upper arm. The knot should never be under your armpit or on your upper arm wraps in a takate kote.

Methods

1. Lark’s head

  • Your rope needs to have knotted ends.
  • Both ends of the rope must be even. If the ends are uneven, all the pressure will be placed on the longer end of the rope. To remedy this, go to the last point at which the old rope crosses another structural rope, and loop the longer end around it until both sides are even.

2. Sheet Bend (Preferred)

The sheet bend is my preferred method of extending rope as it is more versatile.

  • It works on rope without knotted ends, such as ropes with whipped ends.
  • It works even when the ends of the rope are uneven.
  • It allows you to join a new rope anywhere along the old rope. This is important for avoiding pressure points (see safety note).

There are two commonly used methods. The first involves directly tying a sheet bend. This is my preferred method.

The second method involves separating or splitting the 2 loops of a lark’s head to form a sheet bend. (same video as in part 1)

Singapore Learn And Play (SLAP!) is a non-profit group that delivers quality learning experiences for the Singapore BDSM community. SLAP! Rope Socials are casual events revolving around rope bondage, meant for both riggers and bottoms. Demonstrate your favorite ties and exchange tips and techniques with other attendees. For more information on our upcoming events, visit our Fetlife discussion group or sign up for our mailing list

Tips, Tricks and Toy Care

Re-posting this from a thread in our FL Group.

Thanks 0celot for transcribing and posting this very detailed guide on toy care!


Our order from Pleasure Chest was accompanied by a rather comprehensive and concise pamphlet on toy care. Thought it’d be useful to share it here since I can’t find it on their website.

Here’s the PDF version, reproduced below.

**Please excuse any typos – had to OCR the pamphlet as the scanned version was rather difficult to read.*

MATERIALS: CARE AND CLEANING
Non-porous materials
may be shared safely after proper disinfecting

  • Aluminum is a lighter weight metal that warms quickly to body temperature but can also be cooled or warmed with water for temperature play. It can be used with all types of lubricant. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner. Disinfect with isopropyl alcohol or boiling.
  • Ceramic toys are double fired & covered with body-safe glaze to be non-porous, hygienic & durable. They may be warmed or cooled with water for temperature play & can be used with any type of lube. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner.
  • Glass can be used with all types of lube & washed with soap & water or toy cleaner. Do not expose glass to extreme heat or cold & discontinue use if it becomes cracked or chipped. Disinfect with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Medical-grade plastic & Elastomed are non-porous. They are compatible with all types of lube. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner. Disinfect with isopropyl alcohol.
  • Pyrex is glass that is more resistant to impact or extreme temperature. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner. Disinfect with isopropyl alcohol or boiling.
  • Silicone is hypoallergenic, hygienic & durable. To clean, wash with soap & water. Toys without electrical components can be cleaned by boiling for 3 minutes or on the top rack of your dishwasher with no soap. Silicone toys should not be used with silicone lube.
  • Stainless steel toys are prized for their hardness, heft and hygiene. Try cooling them down or warming them up with water tor temperature play. They can be used with all types of lubricant. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner. Disinfect with isopropyl alcohol or boiling.
  • Wood used in high-quality dildos is coated with various (depending on the brand) food-safe and in some cases medical-grade finishes that make them non-porous. Read labels on how to use & care for individual products. In general they can be used with all types of lube & should be cleaned with soap & water or toy cleaner. Do not boil & retire or discard if deep scratches occur.

Porous materials
are not safe to share without a condom, as they may transmit STIs & harbor bacteria & yeast.

  • Acrylic can be used with all types of lube. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner.
  • Cyberskin (also sold as Ultraskin, Softskin & UR3) is very delicate & must be used with water-based lube only. Most require a gentle & thorough wash with soap & water & air dry, but see individual manufacturer for specific instructions. To maintain the feel of Cyberskin & keep it from getting sticky, powder it lightly with cornstarch (never use talcum powder on or near the genitals) & use a plastic bag for storage. Condom use with these toys is highly recommended.
  • Elastomer & TPR (Thermo Plastic Rubber) are durable, hypo-allergenic soft plastics free from phthalates. Use with water-based lube only. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner.
  • Hard plastic (yes, it’s porous!) can be used with any type of lube. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner.
  • Jelly-Rubber is a soft rubber that contains phthalates & may contain latex. Clean with soap & water or toy cleaner. Condom use is highly recommended.
  • Leather can be cleaned with soap & water, with leather cleaner or a rubbing alcohol solution. Once leather is cleaned, it should be allowed to air dry for at least 24 hours. You may want to use leather conditioner to keep the leather soft & supple. Never soak leather.
  • Neoprene should be washed with soap & water or toy cleaner. Allow to air dry fully.
  • Nitrile is a latex-free synthetic rubber compound that is now used in many cock rings & gloves as an alternative for those with latex & other sensitivities. Dispose of all gloves after use for sanitary reasons. Clean nitrile rings with soap & water or toy cleaner.
  • Nylon can be washed in the washing machine on the delicate cycle or by hand. Using a lingerie bag in the wash & air-drying can protect straps & help them keep their shape.
  • Silagel, Silicone blend & Vinyl toys can be cleaned with soap & water or toy cleaner. They contain lower levels of potentially problematic chemicals than jelly-rubber, but they may still be present. Condom-use is recommended.
  • Phthalates (pronounced “thal-ates”) are plastic softeners that are known to have carcinogenic properties. We do not recommend inserting them into the vagina or anus, the most absorbent areas of the body, without a condom.

SAFER WAYS TO SEXY
Lube
can not only increase the quality and duration of penetrative play, but also make sex safer for both partners, providing a slick cushion that prevents tearing.

  • Never use any lubricants that contain the spermicide Nonoxynol-9 because it can irritate the skin & actually make you more susceptible to STls.
  • Glycerin-free water-based lube is recommended tor vaginal sex, especially for women who are prone to yeast & urinary tract infections.
  • Use extra lube for anal sex & never use oil-based lube with a latex condom.
  • Do not use silicone lube with silicone toys.

Condoms, Gloves & Dams
are a must-have for safer sex with partners & toys.

  • Never use oil-based lube with latex condoms, gloves or dams.
  • For those with latex sensitivities, polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms & darns, plastic wrap & nitrile gloves are great alternatives. Polyurethane (NOT polyisoprene) & nitrile can be used with oil-, silicone- & water-based lube.
  • Be sure your plastic wrap is the non-microwavable type, as microwave wrap has tiny holes & will not protect from infection.
  • To create a slippery sensation & increase pleasure for the receiver, use gloves to apply lube to the area beneath the dam or plastic wrap before cunnilingus or analingus.
  • Use fresh condoms, gloves or dams when switching between partners or from the anal to the vaginal area.

TIPS FOR A LONG AND HAPPY TOY LIFE

  • Wash toys before their first use & immediately following each subsequent use.
  • Always remove batteries when storing vibrating toys.
  • Know whether your toy is water-resistant (“splash proof”) or water-proof. Only water-proof toys should be submerged.
  • Be sure the rubber ring around the battery compartment of your water-resistant or water-proof toy is present, intact & tight. Do not use it in water if it is not.
  • A bit of electrical tape around the wire or cord can strengthen & protect wired toys.
  • Store porous toys separately in plastic bags.
  • Never pull on or use the cord at a vibrating bullet as a “handle”. If you plan to insert it, put it inside a condom.

COCK RING SAFETY AND FUN

Cock rings made of rubber, silicone, wood, leather, metal and other materials keep the flow of blood In the penis, which creates an erection that is more sensitive, harder and may last longer. Many people also love the way they look.

WARNING: Do not use cock rings if you have a blood-clotting disorder or any nerve disease. Use caution if you take drugs for erectile dysfunction.

  • Cock rings should be worn against the body, surrounding the base of the penis and the testicles. The fit should be snug, but comfortable. Some cock rings, such as smaller ones made of wood or metal, are designed to be worn around the shaft only. Always read manufacturer instructions.
  • Adjustable cock rings are recommended tor new users. They are often leather with snaps or rubber bolo styles.
  • Put on the cock ring before the penis becomes hard. Non-adjustable cock rings should be entered one testicle at a time then tuck the penis through head first. Lube can ease this process, but be sure to hold the ring until you’re completely hard to avoid slippage.
  • Do not wear a cock ring for more than 2 hours and remove it if the swelling is overly pronounced and accompanied by pain, numbness or cold genitals.
  • Wait until you are flaccid to take off your cock ring.

G-SPOT AND P-SPOT

The G-spot, also known as the urethral sponge, is not as elusive as you may think. It is the area inside a woman’s vagina that fills with fluid when aroused. It’s located at the front wall of the vagina and can feel textured & bumpy. Pressure applied to the G-spot can feel very pleasurable and some women are even able to ejaculate liquid (which is not urine) from the urethra.

The Prostate, also known as the P-spot or male G-spot, is a gland located between the rectum and bladder. During arousal the prostate fills with fluid which helps semen travel through the urethra upon ejaculation. The spot can be felt through a man’s anus as an area similar in size and texture to a walnut. Stimulation of this area heightens pleasure for many men.

To locate the G-spot or P-spot, insert a finger or fingers 2-3 inches into the vagina or anus and press upward gently towards the belly button using a milking or come-hither motion. It helps to use lube and for the receiver to be very relaxed and comfortable.

  • Toys with a gentle, upward curve aid in solo or partner G-spot or P-spot exploration. Be sure all anal toys have a base.
  • Clit stimulation during G-spot play can enhance arousal and orgasm.
  • Position is crucial for G- or P-spotting during partner penetration. Remember to angle upward, toward the belly button.
  • If you’re trying to experience female ejaculation, a.k.a. squirting, bear down and pull the toy/penis/fingers out of the vaginal canal during orgasm as a full vagina can hinder ejaculation.
  • Bodies will respond differently to different types of stimulation so experiment with pressure, rubbing, tapping and vibration of the G- or P-spot to find what feels best.
  • Your goal should be pleasure, exploration and fun!

ENTERING THE BACK DOOR

When engaging in anal play, it is essential to relax and use plenty or lube. Unlike the vagina, the anus is not self-lubricating. One of the key things to remember about anal adventures with a partner is the incredible amount at trust Involved. Practice open communication with your partner and let the person being penetrated control the action, at least in the early stages.

  • Use a lot or lube. Silicone lube is great for butt sex because it stays slick for a long time, but water-based lube can be thicker and more cushioning for delicate anal tissue. Experiment to find what’s right for you.
  • Avoid numbing tubes or creams that are unsafe because they inhibit the body’s pain response and could cause you to overdo it.
  • Only use toys with a handle or flared base, otherwise they can slip inside the rectum during use. Cover porous toys with condoms for safer sex and easy cleanup.
  • Condoms, gloves and dams are not only great tor safer sex, but can reduce friction during anal play.
  • Before entering, use a finger to stimulate the sensitive outer area of the anus to excite and relax it. When penetrating with a finger, enter pad-first to avoid scratching. Short fingernails and/or wearing gloves help.
  • During butt play, don’t enter the vagina with the same toy/finger/penis without thoroughly washing it or changing condoms. This can lead to infection.
  • Always pull out of the anus gently and carefully.

Source: “PLEASURE PRINCIPLES: Tips, Tricks & Toy Care” from Pleasure Chest

Tips for the new Dom/me

“Just be your usual guai lan self. He want, you don’t give. He don’t want, you give more.”

This was the piece of advice someone gave me before my very first session.

Everyone is different. I think the most important first thing to figure out is what your style is. That, and learning the right techniques and knowing how to play safely.

Technique and Safety

Between the time I first thought about topping to the time I actually topped someone, it was about 1.5 years (or maybe more). I had been thinking about it for a very long time, but it was only after learning proper techniques at the 2 kink conferences in Hong Kong that I felt I was ready to try.

I personally don’t like doing things without the proper research. I also don’t do anything to my subs that I haven’t tried on myself. I like to know exactly what I’m doing to the other person. Some call it my OCD, some think I’m a perfectionist, but I think it’s also about being in control of the situation.

The kink conferences were the perfect place for me to learn. This was a weekend full of workshops from experienced people, some of whom also came from overseas. They taught us the skills we needed, and more.
At both kink cons, I attended workshops on how to do rope, impact play, CBT, humiliation, etc. I wanted to make sure I knew exactly what I was doing, and don’t end up screwing someone else up, or breaking something/someone. These workshops taught me skills I didn’t already know, and I learnt so much from a FemDomme presenter about what I could do to a male body.
While you can learn a lot from the Internet, it is so much better to learn first hand from someone experienced, and also learn tips and tricks that they might have figured out themselves while experimenting. This is also why we encourage members to attend our skill-shares.

Finding your style

Equipped with these skills and techniques, I was still having trouble trying to top. I was constantly worried that I wasn’t giving my bottoms what they wanted, and was questioning whether they really liked it.

Speaking with a few more experienced Dom/mes, they told me to worry less about what the bottom wants, but rather what I wanted out of it.

I’m not saying that the bottom is unimportant. He/she is the most important person you need to watch out for. But once you figure out what you want, it becomes a lot easier to find a bottom with similar kinks, and/or to match your kinks with your bottom’s when you are negotiating the scene.

Find out what you like. Do you want play to be sensual? Do you prefer intense, sadistic play? Are you looking for someone to wait on you and do your chores? Or are you just a rope top who just wants to tie a bottom up?

It took a bit of time and experimentation, but I’ve figured out what really interests me – rope, inflicting pain, mind fuckery, humiliation and predicament bondage. It’s so much easier now to find a sub/bottom with matching interests, and I also know that as long as I’m enjoying myself, he/she will be too.

Experiment

Play parties are great for this.

You don’t have to go into serious Dom/me mode, but you can experiment with various toys and see where things take you. Because it is a group setting, you can be assured that there are always more experienced people around who can help you, or point out anything that you might be doing wrong.

The first time I topped someone was at a play party. I knew there were very experienced people in the room who were looking out for me and my bottom in case anything goes wrong, and I knew they would correct me if I did something wrongly.

I definitely recommend playing at parties to gain experience, and to watch other scenes and learn from them.

If you are experimenting in private, constant communication is key. If you are playing with an experienced sub, he/she should tell you if anything feels wrong. You should also keep checking in on your sub to make sure that things are going well.

Planning a scene

I like to have a few main things planned, and then fill in the blanks around it.

My very first scene as a Domme was very simple. These were the 3 things I had planned:

  • Go with him and make him buy a pet collar at the pet shop near my place – I scouted Out the place prior to our play session to make sure they had collars that could fit humans.
  • Play an evil predicament game – something to do with a zipper line ;)
  • Use my pole as a whipping post – I had my ropes tied to the pole in preparation because I wanted to see his reaction when he saw it.

Be creative when filling in the blanks around your main points. Anything can be perverted. Go with the flow and follow your gut when inspiration hits.

I find that I become more creative when I have a partner to bounce ideas off. Therefore, when my sub gets smart-mouthed or says something interesting, I tend to pick up on that and find more evil things to do.

I told my bottom that I bought a bamboo mop handle especially for him. When I asked what implement he wanted me to hit him with, he chose the mop handle, not knowing that I had only intended to use it as a spreader bar. Well, more fun for me (and more pain for him)!

At a recent play party, a masochist I used to play with showed me an interesting contraption. This device picks up sound or music, and delivers electric shocks to the beat of the music. I had a brilliant idea. What if I left the receiving end near my bottom’s mouth. If I hit him hard enough, he will scream and the receiver will pick it up and deliver a shock. And if he screams again because of the shock… it becomes a vicious cycle.

Many times, subs end up saying things that will give you a thought-starter. I don’t know why, but their mouths like to get them into trouble a lot.


These are just a few tips from my personal journey in finding my Domme side.

If you want to find out more, SLAP! will be doing a series of skill-shares around the topic of domination at our March event.


Featured on SimplySxy

Basic whip tutorials for sport cracking and scene play

Here’s a list of the most instructional whip cracking tutorials I found. Not all the cracks are applicable to BDSM/kink scenes, but some of the flicks are quite useful for wraps and targeting.

Wraps (Demonstration-only, not instructional)

Robbie Amper of Whip-Basics using cattleman’s crack and sidearm flicks for wraps.

Adam Winrich uses the forward vertical and sidearm flicks for doing his wraps and targeting.

Alexander Jacob of Cobra Whips using the sidearm flick, forward vertical and underhand flicks for body wraps

Cattleman’s/Circus/Gypsy crack

Reverse cattleman’s crack

Highwayman/Coachman’s crack

Overhead crack

Reverse overhead crack

Forward flick

Forward vertical

Underhand flick

Sidearm flick

Singapore Learn And Play (SLAP!) is a non-profit group that delivers quality learning experiences for the Singapore BDSM community.

Somerville Bowline: A more secure single column tie

When Nawakiri Shin was at the SLAP! rope social in November, he showed us a more secure way to tie a single-column tie called the Somerville Bowline. This was originally invented by @Topologist in 2009.

The most common type of single-column tie, the Boola Boola, has a tendency to collapse if the line tension shifts and comes in from the wrong direction. The Somerville bowline addresses this weakness and is stable under tension from multiple directions. It tends to be a bit looser, and is less suitable for ties that require tight wraps.

The original blog post describing the tie can be found HERE.

Here’s a video tutorial on how to do the Somerville Bowline:

 

Singapore Learn And Play (SLAP!) is a non-profit group that delivers quality learning experiences for the Singapore BDSM community. SLAP! Rope Socials are casual events revolving around rope bondage, meant for both riggers and bottoms. Demonstrate your favorite ties and exchange tips and techniques with other attendees. For more information on our upcoming events, visit our Fetlife discussion group or sign up for our mailing list

How to clean out your rectum for anal play

I had the privilege of teaching a class on anal play this weekend, as part of SLAP!’s December series of skill shares. I’d like to thank the participants for being so engaged. I had a lot of fun sharing my knowledge with you.

During our class, we went over how to clean your rectum for basic anal play. This method will cover 95% of all anal play scenarios, other than deep fisting and deep enema play. Here’s a good video that goes over the key principles. The video uses a shower-shot, but any of the usual enema methods will work.

  • Don’t use too much water. We don’t want water going into the colon
  • Water going into the colon tends to get trapped and stimulate the intestines into moving more feces down. This tends to lead to a bit of a mess
  • You’ll need to experiment to get the amount of water right
  • Rinse and repeat until the water runs clear
  • (Optional) Wait 1-2 hours for any remaining water to get re-absorbed by the rectum

SLAP! is a non-profit group that delivers quality learning experiences for the Singapore BDSM community. The SLAP! Skill­Share Series is aimed at helping members learn or refine techniques, with the main focus being on safety. These are either non­demo (lecture style) or demo (hands­-on workshop) and are held in private spaces. For more information on our upcoming events, visit our Fetlife discussion group or sign up for our mailing list

Rope Safety and Nerve Injuries

Photographer: immoralrestraint Model: adriannamay

Photographer: immoralrestraint
Model: adriannamay

One of our members recently posted a guide on Fetlife about various resources covering rope safety. With their permission, we are re-posting it here. [We have also added new links that we’ve found useful]

As rope bondage is one of the most popular kinks among our members, we think it’s important that both bottoms and tops are aware of the risks involved in rope bondage, and take appropriate steps to mitigate that risk. Play safe and have fun!


I’ve been reading about rope safety because I’ve heard a lot about the risks of nerve injury. Thought it would be good to share what I’ve found.

Links

Remedial RopesSite focused on rope safety, with a heavy emphasis on nerve damage.

A guide for rope bottoms and bondage models This link has photos of good and bad rope placement.

On My Nerves, Part 1 (signs of a bondage injury) Lists warning signs and gives some basic anatomy.

Nerve and Circulation Problems This link has diagrams that might be helpful.

The Little Guide to Getting Tied Up (Including Suspensions)

This is a book by Evie Vane. Covers more than all the online articles I’ve seen combined. Also includes stuff about the psych side of rope bottoming, e.g. mindfulness, communication, and instincts. It’s super detailed and useful.

Relevant Discussion Groups on Fetlife

Rope Bottom’s Roundtable

Riggers and Rope Sluts

Rope Incident Reports

The Low-Down on Authority-Based Relationships

SLAP! has had the good fortune to host a number of very experienced and knowledgeable BDSM practitioners since we first started about six months back. In September this year, a lovely couple from Seattle passed our shores and expressed their desire to run a workshop on authority-based relationships. Of course, we complied. This lovely pair, BrianR and MelR, also happen to be title holders. Together, they hold the titles of Northwest Master and slave 2013.

If you read that sentence more than once, don’t worry because I was as bewildered when I first heard their titles. You mean there are competitions for BDSM? That was the first question that ran through my mind. How does one compete for the title of best slave? That was the second question. I had a brief image of a woman in fetish gear being put through her paces like in a dog show. Very kinky, but I had a feeling I wasn’t quite right.

I googled the competition and this is what I found –

The Northwest regional Master/slave contest takes place at Northwest Leather Celebration. This contest celebrates the Master/slave dynamic by providing positive outreach to the community at large. The purpose is education – promotion of healthy leather relationships. To qualify, contestants must have been part of their current self-identified Master/slave relationship for at least one full year. The contest is for pairs who identify as Master/slave regardless of race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. The title holders will be expected to honor the title by helping educate the leather community as a whole about the Master/slave lifestyle. It is also expected that title holders will attend/teach at a minimum of four events during their title year. Titleholders are encouraged (but not required) to actively pursue fundraising for the charity of their choice as a way of giving back to the community.

When I finally got to meet BrianR and MelR in the flesh, they gave us more information about the competition and reinforced that their titles were teaching ones. I was impressed and counted my lucky stars for having the opportunity to meet them in Singapore. What were the chances? Anyway, I learnt a lot from the 101 workshop entitled “Authority-Based Relationships” that BrianR and MelR ran, and I thought I would share my takeaways with you.

The main thing I learnt was that authority-based relationships can exist anywhere, both in the kink and vanilla spheres. BrianR shared that it isn’t uncommon for one party to ‘wear the pants’ in a vanilla marriage/relationship. I could relate because I was brought up by parents who were clearly in an authority-based relationship, but vanilla. My mother was in charge. She controlled the finances so tightly that she gave my father a monthly allowance of eight hundred dollars after pocketing the rest of his pretty sizeable income for “household needs”. She was the loudest person in the home, always forcing her opinions on others. Even as a mere child, I could sense my father’s displeasure at having to give up so much of his hard-earned money, even if it was for the family. It didn’t take long before their marriage fell apart and my father had an affair with a woman from a third world nation who looked up to him despite his faults.

While there are certainly vanilla authority-based relationships that thrive, it is apparent that my parents’ relationship did not because neither of them was entirely comfortable about the role they had ‘chosen’ for themselves. My father felt emasculated by my mother’s need to control everything, and my mother was crying out for my father to, for once, step up and ‘be a man’. I know this from the things she told me on the many occasions when she broke down in disappointment with my father. I didn’t know how to tell her that she was setting herself up for failure. Sadly, in most vanilla authority-based relationships, the exchange of authority or power is not something that is discussed earlier; in many cases, even if it is, individuals might find themselves adhering to cultural norms rather than choosing to take or give up authority.

The difference, therefore, between a successful authority-based relationship and what I just described is consent and negotiation. Whether a couple identifies as top/bottom, dominant/submissive or master/slave, the authority in the relationship is clearly acknowledged by both parties who make an informed decision about how they want to manage that authority.

A top/bottom couple usually find themselves in a transactional relationship. Polyskeptic describes a transactional relationship as “a relationship where both (or all) parties are in it for themselves, and where partners do things for each other with the expectation of reciprocation.” In such a dynamic, while the top is expected to accept responsibility for what he/she does and to work within the skills he/she has acquired and the consent negotiated with the bottom, the bottom is expected to accept responsibility for what he/she wants done and to provide the top with clear limits. At any time, either party can stop the scene without feeling a sense of failure. As you can see, the authority in such a relationship exists as something that the couple can manipulate for their mutual enjoyment. This empowers them both, something that was lacking in the example of my parents.

A dominant/submissive couple, by BrianR and MelR’s definition, and also by mine, is one in which areas exist where control is neither given nor taken. As with tops, dominants must accept responsibility for their actions and consequences within the scope of the negotiations, and submissives, like bottoms, need to accept responsibility for their own best interest. Both have the right to refuse to do things that are not in their best interest. The giving and taking of authority is, yet again, an empowering affair.

Finally, the master/slave dynamic, that Master and I subscribe to, thrives on the understanding that the slave’s consent needs only be given once. After this, they are not expected to dissent. Some of you might wonder about my psychological stability, but let me assure you that I am very happy and very confident in my relationship. This is not a case of stockholm syndrome. I thrive on the knowledge that I trust my Master to make decisions with our best interests at heart. Similarly, Master thrives on the knowledge that I have trust that he will lead our relationship the way that he deems best. Is it easy? No… But that’s fodder for another article that I will write some other day.

For now, I leave you with this conclusion on authority-based relationships. If you desire to be in an authority-based relationship, make sure that you first examine your motivations for doing so. Engage in lengthy negotiations with your partner to ensure that the two of you are on the same page. Deal with the authority in your relationship as something very precious. It must be given and received, not unwillingly lost or taken. With the correct foundation, an authority-based relationship can be extremely satisfying. You’ll still have to work hard to iron out kinks along the way (kinks… geddit geddit?), but at least you’ll both be working towards a clear goal.

If you’re interested, but you still feel like you need to talk to someone who has some experience, feel free to email me at amberwine@gmail.com.

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