Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy (LIIST)

NCSF

Getting Kinky in Quarantine

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by Sara Rosen, LMSW, MEd

While the global pandemic continues to grow and physical distancing measures remain, relationships across the globe are redefining what intimacy looks like for them, and so is the kink community. As distancing mandates evolved, kinksters across the globe watched as all of their conferences and meetings were understandably canceled. While major kink conferences like Portland’s kink fest are issuing refunds for canceled events, kinksters are left wondering how to connect with their communities while practicing safe social distancing. A draw to the community, for many, is the freedom to have a safe space to be their authentic selves. Being isolated from one of your supportive communities while managing the uncertainty of life in a global pandemic, can have devastating impacts on mental health.

Get creative

Luckily, Kinksters all over the globe have created both public and private virtual play parties and experiences of all kinds.

A good time to explore

If you’ve been curious but haven’t explored, now is a great time to get involved in and learn about the kink world! As virtual play parties and workshops gain more traction, there are many social distance friendly options to explore. This is an excellent time for those who have been interested in trying out alternative sexual play but have felt shy about physically attending a meetup. Virtual play parties mimic real-life play parties in that there is a well-established community that prioritizes consent. New attendees have the opportunity to learn the rules, “the ropes,” and the many experiences available to them at any type of kink/fetish play party. Attending a kink play party from your own home could be an easy way to get an introduction into a new community and sexual play.

Logging in

For those looking to attend a virtual event, here’s how it works: typically individuals and couples are given a Zoom code, where they are able to log into a protected and discreet chat room. Some parties mandate each participant to keep their cameras on in order to reduce the risk of uninvited voyeurs, but rules may vary between meetups. Virtual kink parties can reflect in-person parties in that they start out by getting to know one another and then ease into play. 

Where to find some virtual meetups

One organization that started the wave of virtual kink parties is the well known “Killing Kittens” group. Killing Kittens is a website and meet up for kink and fetish parties, with an emphasis on female pleasure. Killing Kittens hosts events, workshops, and play parties under the premise of sexually liberated women and couples. Killing Kittens continues to host a series of virtual parties and workshops to keep kinksters entertained and engaged in the community while practicing social distancing. If you’re looking for the closest thing to a meet up right now, I highly suggest checking out one of the many virtual kink meetups out there! If you already have friends and partners in the community, think about hosting your own virtual party. 

Play & learn on your own at home

If virtual sex parties aren’t your cup of tea, there are plenty of other ways to get kinky while physically distancing. Being cooped up makes for a perfect time to extend your kink world and learn new skills. You can attend an online lecture style workshop or watch live demonstrations. Pagans Paradise, on Eventbrite, hosts yoni massage live streams, interactive naked home workouts, and other “quarantine edition” classes and parties. Lady Euphoria of NYC facilitates an online workshop on alternative bondage, where she teaches viewers how to utilize household items as restraints. Sex ed Ashely on Eventbrite provides free webinars on BDSM, play parties, and dungeons. You can find a plethora of kink/fetish workshops, classes, and parties on sites like Eventbrite and Fetlife. If you’re looking for something more private, a virtual coaching session with Mistress Couple, author of The Ultimate Guide to Bondage, might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Looking for anonymity?

If you want to try something that might feel a little more anonymous, try connecting with like-minded, sex-positive people on Reddit. Reddit Gone Wild (subreddit r/gonewild) is a platform for individuals and couples to post their own homemade pictures and videos.  If you want to dip your toe into the virtual kink world, try posting an anonymous sexy pic, and see how it feels for you! Reddit has numerous forums for open-minded sex-positive people to connect without having to publicly identify themselves.

Toys!

Maybe you want to stay off the computer entirely. Try ordering some new toys to use whether you’re physically distancing solo or with a partner(s). Check out Kinky Toy Store for a range of toys and gear that will arrive discreetly at your doorstep. Kinky Toy Store sells everything from vibrators and lube, to fucking machines and cock cages. Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran, browsing the options and talking about what piques your interest could be a really fun way to get the conversation started with a partner!

Dating apps

Even though we can’t go out and meet new partners in person just yet, you can still match with and meet new like-minded kinky people. Feeld is a dating app for ethical non-monogamists and kinksters alike. The app currently has a “quarantine core” option for connecting with kinksters who are physically distancing. When creating an account, Feeld gives you an upgrade option that allows you to keep your profile private from social media acquaintances, so you can feel comfortable knowing that you won’t run into your co-workers (unless of course, that’s your kink). 

Have fun

Being kinky doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be hanging from the ceiling spread eagle in a rubber suit. There are plenty of ways to explore kinks and fetishes while also being safe and practicing social distancing. These are just a few ideas on how you can physically distance and enhance that spark. I encourage you to get creative and kinky!

Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Bondage by Mistress Couple

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book cover for the ultimate guide to bondageReview of The Ultimate Guide to Bondage: Creating Intimacy Through the Art of Restraint. By Mistress Couple, Jersey City, NJ, Cleis Press, 2018. 294 pp. $ 16.95 (softcover). ISBN: 978-1-62778-274-6

Dr. Rosara Torrisi, LCSW, MEd, CST, PhD

The Ultimate Guide to Bondage is exquisitely written, from nose to tail. With Mistress Couple’s writing style, it is easy to be right there with her. This book is encompassing of all the information necessary to become a rising bondage practitioner. If you find yourself struggling against Mistress Couple’s instruction throughout this book, consider what this might say about your own relationship to dominance and submission. It is not feasible, however, for 294 pages to make up for real-world experiences. As a sex therapist and educator, I recommend that you make note of where you have questions, meet up with respected bondage experts in your area, and learn more.

The introduction follows Mistress Couple’s journey to bondage and is the beginning of a thoughtful examination. This primer underscores the quality of her training and expertise as a Mistress. She is honest, cautious with her reader, and tenderly nudges as she engages the reader on this journey. Her expert advice is evident, as she effortlessly speaks to the novice and the professional alike.

As a researcher and professor, I appreciate that Mistress Couple gives credit where it is due. The historical contexts are part of the cultural sensitivity needed when appropriating techniques. It is an act of privilege to disregard the historical implications of what one might be using for play. Although my academic background would have done this differently, I do appreciate that Mistress Couple’s footnotes link to sources that are not in scientific journals. This means the resources are more readily available to any reader.

Mistress Couple utilizes recognizable educational pathways to instruct her readers. There is a well-rounded definition of terms used throughout the book. These definitions allow everyone to understand her vocabulary the way she intends to use the words. She also uses accessible examples for complex ideas. The flow chart provides a structure for readers to absorb how bondage techniques crystalize or bifurcate. The number/color system of pain/pleasure considers multiple dimensions to quickly convey receptivity. The overview of the most common materials used in bondage is outstanding. There are also valuable pictures, drawings, and first-person-account essays. She also provides a quick overview of prevailing ideas within the mental health community about the origins of fetishes.

I agree with Mistress Couple’s connections of bondage to birth, trauma, consent, intimacy, and finding the authentic self. The Ultimate Guide to Bondage persistently reminds the reader to enact emotional and physical safety measures. More than sexual tension is released through sexual connection, so trauma-informed bondage is crucial. The conversation about how to receive and give consent is refreshing and woven throughout the book. It would be wonderful for everyone to understand consent so well, regardless of involvement in BDSM. I find Mistress Couple’s assessment of restraint as a method of returning to the universal experience of being in a womb, and the release of traumas such as birth, to be quite interesting. Developmental, trauma and attachment therapists will recognize their theories echoed in these pages.71MQJ8rUA9L

The Ultimate Guide to Bondage is comprehensive for those personally and professionally interested in bondage. There are some areas of BDSM in general that are not discussed in this book. For example, further exploration is needed for anyone interested in learning more about anatomy and physiology, role play, specific fetishes, penetrative play, impact play, and non-monogamy. This book could easily be used in an academic course, along with scientific journal articles and supporting primary documents.

Rosara Torrisi, LMSW is a Kink-Aware Therapist

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Rosara Torrisi, LMSW has been recognized by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) as a welcoming and Kink Aware therapist. You can view her profile on their website here.

The NCSF is THE resource for people who are seeking psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are informed about the diversity of consensual, adult sexuality.

What does kink aware mean?
Kink-Aware Professionals have specific knowledge of kink concepts and lifestyles, have researched and educated themselves in these areas. Kink Aware Professionals likely have some previous experience providing professional services to individuals with these interests.

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