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San Francisco Leathermen's Discussion Group

Kink is about Connection - and that can't be taught

Erik Will

Race Bannon recently wrote an extraordinary column in the Bay Area Reporter. I was reading [Joseph] Bean's 10 rules of SM, each one a gem of wisdom, one in particular stood out for me because it reflects what I have often said about what it takes for the best BDSM experiences. His Rule Number 5 is, "If you're not in love, don't do the scene." For those unfamiliar with the specifics of BDSM, a scene is what BDSMers call the actual session in which they engage in a BDSM erotic encounter.
Bean then elaborates, "If desire and consent do not lead to a kind of love, the scene is probably not going to work. Love can take many forms, but the very ground from which it springs is the demand one places on oneself to please and do what is good for the other person."

I agree. New folks (including myself when I first got involved) sometimes ask why LDG doesn't always have a demo - and Race's column helps illuminate why.

The mechanics of a scene—with some basic safety and common sense—aren't a challenge. Race and others have been overheard to say that one can learn technique of many scenes in a half an hour, or a few hours at most.

The challenging part is cultivating a trusted connection and continuously seducing consent with your play partner.  Something you usually learn directly with your play partner. You may be honored enough to witness a scene in a dungeon so powerful that play partners and witnesses alike float on a magic cloud of endorphins. You may be able to gather a group of playmates with enough trust and rapport to both play and discuss the interactions in a way that the connection is tangible.

However, expressing the magic of a connection rooted in some form of "love" for an audience can't always be planned, may be intangible in front of a larger group of people, or even between perfectly matched partners may not be there that night because something isn't in place. If you're just watching someone get smacked, or poked, or prodded, or bound down, or experiencing pain in some way without seeing a connection, what have we gained?

So while we do offer "demos," and try as often as we can to make sure those are meaningful, between skilled players who tangibly exude that intangible connection, we intersperse those with conversations, interviews, and panels. As with traditional education, no one can impart every detail, but these conversational programs are part of an overall "curriculum" of things we believe help you learn what’s fundamental in kink/BDSM, from the people who do it with all their hearts. More importantly, we hope they instill a sense of wonder, curiosity, and desire to get out there and learn and experience it on your own.

Read Race's BAR column and tell us what you think!