Kink in exile

Notes from a kinky nomad

Archive for the ‘advice’ Category

Orgasm control the 101 (and maybe the 201)

Recently, I went to a class on orgasm control that was…ok.  It was actually a really good intro to anal play and prostate play but as a class on orgasm control it fell flat.  It was sort of designed to be sexy and experiential but how much orgasm control can you experientially show in two hours?  And is it worth leaving out a lot of really important communication and sexual response info to make the class more pornographic?

So, if I got to go to my dream orgasm control class, here’s what it would include:

The intro

  • What is Orgasm Control
  • What is Chastity?
  • Are they the same?  Why or why not? Is Tease and Denial the same as either of the things above?
  • And you say this is fun…?

The Background and brain stuff

  • The Masters and Johnson sexual response cycle
  • Your brain on lust… serotonin, oxytocin, dopamine…what you’re playing with when you’re playing with a very horny human
  • Side effects of prolonged abstinence
  • Outside factors and your sexual response cycle (SSRIs, stress, the Coolidge effect, whatever)

The human and communication stuff

  • What do you get out of orgasm control play?  Are your goals aligned?
  • Saying yes, no, and maybe…what do you need to feel like empowered to take control?  How do you get there?
  • Guilt? It’s really ok to say no.  It’s also ok to say yes. It’s also really normal to feel unsure saying either of those things – and now what?
  • “I need to come” (read: you getting to decided if I get to come is soooo hot I really want to ask and then maybe you’ll let me but if you don’t OMG hot.) vs. “I need to come” (read: this isn’t fun anymore, I can’t work, and I’m starting to not like you.) Also known as mind reading 101
  • Checking in without breaking the power dynamic, or building flexible and sustainable power dynamics (duh).

The details

  • Chastity devices and how they work
  • Health and hygiene
  • Chastity games – specifics and springboards
  • If I don’t want to say no? Games of chance and 3rd party solutions
  • Ruined orgasms, abandoned orgasms, forced orgasms – see and this is why we need the sexual response cycle chart
  • More resources

So, anyone – not me – wanna teach this?  I would totally attend and take copious notes 🙂

Written by kinkinexile

September 2, 2012 at 10:43 pm

Posted in advice, Orgasm Control

Fuck yeah!

Never, ever assume you need permission from a dominant person to speak to a submissive person.

Maymay says it in far more words, but at the end of the day, yeah, that, freaking that! Also…

  • Don’t assume someone who is not part of your power dynamic will know about your power dynamic
  • Don’t assume someone who is not part of your power dynamic will want to participate in your power dynamic
  • Don’t assume someone who is not part of your power dynamic will give a rat’s ass about your power dynamic

Frankly, yeah, I’ve got nothing.  I don’t want my kids praying to your god in school, and I don’t want to be involved in your sex life when I’m trying to make conversation about the weather, chalk it up to my libertarian ethic, or, you know, being an adult in tune with reality.

Written by kinkinexile

July 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Posted in advice, community

Not married…

This is a draft I had completely forgotten about but just found thanks to a usability update to the WordPress dashboard…

Jezebel, my guilty commute pleasure, just ran a short article on ten realistic reasons you’re not married as a response to yet another “all the things you need to change to become Mrs. Right” self help book.  Their reasons are, well, reasonable. They are not unlike the reasons I’m not married.

But first a thought about self help books, ones like Marry Him: the case for Mr. Good Enough, and Find a Husband After 35 With What I learned in Harvard Business School – they work. They work if your goal is to be married because there is an easy middle of the road kind of girl that fits well with easy middle of the road kind of American boys. And there are a lot of middle of the road red blooded American boys and if you fit the bill, they will marry you.  Or they work because Harvard Business School prepares you to sell just about anything. Perhaps most importantly, they work because they make you the kind of person American boys *think* they should marry; that image is a generation behind anyone’s reality, and I think this is the case in every generation, but that’s why it’s a fantasy. Perfect doesn’t exist, but you can pretend – you can pretend in your dreams, in fiction, or, for a time, you can carefully curate your life and pretend that way.

Here is the catch, your top goal has to be to become married, that is the goal these books help you achieve.

Now the personal part: I say the yet is applicable because when I think about my future I think about very tight intimate networks and I think about resource sharing in a sustainable and ongoing basis.  I think about kids (ok, mostly I think about being pregnant and wish someone would take away the infant and bring back a teenager some time later).  I think about tax optimization, shared budgets, and mutual support.   In short. I think about things that, while not defined by marriage, are more easily achieved through marriage.

I also think about the sacrifices I am unwilling to make, at this point, to become Mrs. Right.  I think about the time and energy I want to dedicate to my job – time that I have no desire to put into dating.  I think about the people I love, who form non-traditional partner networks around me: my platonic husband C, my play partner and chief agitator Maymay, my newest romantic interest who may or may not want to be named on a blog, my metamour(s)…people whom I love, people whom I invest energy and time in, and people who, let’s face it, take away any urgency I might feel to look for Mr. Right.  (And make me far too messy to be the kind of middle of the road red blooded American girl who is most marketable as Mrs. Right.)

Some days I wonder if I should be doing my future self a favor, just freaking get married so I could cross it off the old todo.  But, y’know, marriage is just not my priority right now.  C is right, my relationship needs are met and I love my life, this saps any motivation I might have for dating like nothing else.

This is all tempered by the fact that I’ve had the chance to get married.  If I was any closer to mainstream I probably would have.  Regardless, the truth of the matter is that I am not married because when faced with the potential in the past I wasn’t ready.  And when faced with the sacrifices and work that goes into meeting someone who is open to and available for marriage today, I’m just not interested.

So yes, there is a part of me that worries about being the only single bridesmaid at my best friends wedding, there’s a part of me that does the math on my fertility, but, there’s no gentler way to put it: it’s just not that important to me and I have enough chutzpah to know that if and when it becomes important I’ll make it happen.

Written by kinkinexile

July 2, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Posted in advice, headspace

Fetlife privacy or lack there of

A few weeks ago, Maymay presented a fetlife exporter/backup tool at KinkForAll San Francisco 2.  This, along with a couple other privacy related conversation at KFASF2 and the related feedback directed both at me and at Maymay, got me thinking. About privacy, yes and always, but also about how people perceive privacy and others’ understanding of it.
The first response I got, almost immediately, was in the “well of course it isn’t private it’s the internet!” camp.  This range of responses seeks to dismiss concerns over privacy and security flaws in Fetlife by asserting that anyone who thought Fetlife was private in the first place is a poopy head.

There’s a problem.  While the line of reasoning is generally correct – Fetlife is on the internet and therefore not private – that doesn’t stop people from treating Fetlife as private and sharing potentially damaging information via the service; perception is reality and Fetlife *feels* like a private clubhouse.  Contrary to popular belief, however, this is not because some users are poopy heads.  Knowledge of how your data is stored, accessed, and used is pretty technically savvy knowledge.  That, or it is digital native knowledge – it is common sense, to the average 16 year old, that anything you post on the internet can be found by your classmates, parents, and friends, but applying this knowledge to Fetlife requires unlearning socially coded knowledge, which many older or less tech savvy users may have ingrained. So, while you might know that Fetlife isn’t private, I am unconvinced that all Fetlife users know this by default.

Fetlife is a BDSM community site, like the local dungeon it is safe and will protect my privacy.
False.  Fetlife uses the goodwill and trust you’ve built with your local scene, especially the subcultural mores you learned before the internet was popular, to make you feel safe.  This community goodwill does nothing to protect your data, however, because Fetlife has extremely low barriers to entry. Anyone – you, your boss, your mom, your estranged spouse – can get a Fetlife account.  Furthermore, unlike in your local dungeon you can’t see them watching you.

 

Fetlife is better for privacy than Facebook.
Fuck if I know, but someone actually said this.  This is sorta false.  Which is to say, Facebook is not a safe space to put your deepest darkest secrets, however, I believe Facebook is safer than Fetlife in a couple of interesting ways.  Facebook allows you to customize how and to whom your data is presented.  It has user specific content segregation, meaning you can show something to your friends but still make sure your mom can’t see it.  You can show something to people you know and their friends but not the world at large, etc.  Fetlife does not.  Any content you post to Fetlife’s forums, event pages and so forth is available to all other Fetlife users, and as we just heard, getting a Fetlife profile is trivial.  As you can see, quite a bit of information is collected, but with the exception of your email address nothing is verified.

Then conversation about Maymay’s exporter tool heated up with the second and rather more bizarre thread of conversation that can be summed up as “how dare you!” and/or “this tool makes Fetlife unsafe!”  Sadly, no, Fetlife has been unsafe far longer than this tool has been in existence.  To my understanding, and more technical minds please correct me if I’m wrong, but this exporter tool doesn’t allow you to access any information not already a) public or b) accessible to the account you’re using this tool through (i.e. your account).  And as we’ve now seen a half dozen times in this post alone, a Fetlife account is trivial to get.

The core of the problem is that Fetlife wasn’t designed for privacy.  Instead, it depends on goodwill to protect its users.  You know, your vindictive former spouse’s goodwill and agreement not to create an account, download the naked pictures you’ve posted to Fetlife, repost them to facebook, and tag you.

Fetlife does not protect users from each other, but it does isolate conversations from the rest of the internet.  That sounds like safety, but is actually a gross approximation of such. When I use Facebook I can post a status that I only want close friends to see, when one of them links to it outside of Facebook any users not in that category “close friends” will not be able to access the content.  Not so with Fetlife – you post something to Fetlife and a friend links to it from outside of Fetlife, sure enough anyone following the link will be presented with a page that explains that this content is only available to members.  They can then sign up and access your content.  It doesn’t matter if you know them, trust them, or are working for them: they can make an account and access the content you create.

What does an exporter tool do?  Well, first it lets you export your data.  Lets say you are looking for a job, you live somewhere conservative, and just to be super duper safe you want to take down your Fetlife profile.  But maybe you’ve used it extensively for years and you don’t want to lose everything you’ve written.  Well, now you have a backup option, go you!
The part that people seem to find frightening though, is that this also makes their content searchable.  In its current iteration, I believe, it makes content that you created and then exported searchable if and only if you then post it somewhere outside of Fetlife, like a website you create.  That is to say, if you do extra work to make it searchable then it will be searchable.  What people fail to note, however, is that this content was already public.  Your data was already vulnerable, there was nothing to protect it besides hobbled search capabilities, and as I’ve said before your biggest security threat is someone who knows you, and they know how to find you.

So what’s the takeaway here?
If the idea that Fetlife is completely open access once you’re inside A) makes sense to you (you know what that means) and B) doesn’t surprise you (you knew this was the case) then you are probably already treating Fetlife in a way that protects your privacy namely by not creating and sharing content you don’t want your mother and your boss to see.  Either that, or you’re very comfortable with your mother and your future or current boss seeing naked pictures of you on the internet.

If, however, the above doesn’t apply to you, then you need to know that anyone with a Fetlife account can access any content you create.  Furthermore, you need to know that the only thing stopping them from posting things like screen captures of things you’ve posted or from downloading and reposting your images, technically speaking, is goodwill.  Yes, doing so will violate the Terms of Service, but violating the TOS will simply have that account banned from Fetlife, forcing the user to rather inconveniently make a new account.

And finally, if you are a digital native and unsure as to why this post needs to exist, consider that Fetlife’s user base includes a population that is very experienced with BDSM but not very experienced with the internet.  Not everyone understands that a walled garden is a faulty privacy model.

 

Written by kinkinexile

June 29, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Posted in advice, privacy, the web

Really?

I got a search hit on my blog today for “how to perform a gyn exam on an orthodox jewish woman.”  Uh, first, how many pages of google search results do you go through before you get to my blog?

Despite the unlikely hit I decided to take a moment to answer this question.  First off, I am not a religious authority nor a medical professional.  If this is a serious concern you might want to talk to either or both of those.  That said, the same way you would perform a medically necessary exam on any other woman with special care and attention paid to modesty if possible.  Don’t be surprised if your patient, naked from the waist down, is quite concerned with keeping her hair covered for example, but don’t stop an emergency response to find a female EMT either.  Male doctors can and do touch orthodox Jewish women, again if it is medically necessary to do so.

While religious law surrounding Negiah (touch), Tzniut (modesty), and Niddah (menstruation or family purity) can be quite strict, I have always been taught to violate any law of Torah to save human life (with special laws regarding murder to prevent death or murder vs. suicide choices I no longer remember).  I suspect that most orthodox Jewish women will seek out female doctors, however in the event of an emergency, medical services can, and in fact must, be provided by the nearest available trained medical professionals.  For example, many Orthodox Jewish women in NY rely on an all male volunteer orthodox ambulance service, Hatzolah, for emergency labor and gynecological issues, though this has caused some controversy as well.

tl:dr version: If you have time, find a female OB-GYN, if it’s an emergency break all the Halakha you need to save human life.

 

 

Written by kinkinexile

February 14, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Posted in advice

So you got a chastity device…

I’m starting to suspect that there is something in the water.  When a friend told me he was into orgasm control I thought it was a response to some of my blogging, when someone else in my social circle piped up about the matter I thought it was so nice that my friends share common interests, but by the third time in a week I found myself being asked for advice on wearing a chastity device I started to suspect there was definitely something in the water.

So the short answer is, well, I have no idea.  I recommend you read the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them as best you can.  Actually, far more strongly than that, I recommend you read maymay’s “Top 10 tips for long-term male chastity device wear.” Keyholders, read this too! No really, as someone who has put more random nonsense in her body than I care to admit just to make sure it was in fact possible, I highly recommend wrapping your head around what the hell is going on with your partner, his cock, and this random bit of plastic or metal currently attached to his cock.  Watching a partner interact with this device was awesome for me both in making the whole process way hotter and in making it far less intimidating for me.  Hotter because it’s not just a matter of the turned on moments, it actually changes everything about things as routine as showering and that rocks!  Less intimidating because, well, most people don’t encounter CB6000s for most of their sexual lives – knowing how it works, what the possible failure modes are, and what happens when your partner is aroused in it is useful.  Knowing how to get your partner aroused when they’re locked up, what they can and can not feel and how they feel about that is useful.  So yeah, read the basics, watch your partner interact with the device, play with the locking mechanism, basically do whatever you need to do to feel like you, and not the device, are in control.

And if you’re wearing the device, well, I have no idea.  I’ve never been in that position.  I suspect having some answer to the following questions is likely good:

  • What are you doing for emotional support while locked up?
  • What are you doing for emotional support through the unlocking process and whatever happens right after for you?
  • Where are the keys?  Is there a spare set? What will you do in a medical or other emergency (for example, what if a death in the family requires you to fly cross country tomorrow)?
  • So, uh, why do you want to be locked up?  What’s in it for you?  What’s in it for your partner?
  • Are you aware of the impact this has on your partner or partners sexually/emotionally/logistically?

Have fun guys!

P.S. People in the know – what am I missing?  What other resources should I point people at?

Written by kinkinexile

February 3, 2012 at 11:14 pm

Posted in advice, Orgasm Control

The internet, security, and privacy

I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter recently about how the FBI will soon be using social networks to spy on you.  While I think that headline overstates the issue in certain specific ways, I have been thinking about data security and privacy on the web for a while, and decided to take a stab at writing about it.

Why this is important and to whom:

You are reading a sex blog.  For some of you, this is an activity you are seeking to keep private from your partner, spouse, parents, children or employer.  Others of you may firmly believe in the value of transparency starting with your personal lives.  Regardless of if you *need* privacy, I encourage everyone to be aware of the information they share, how, with whom, and what impact that may have in various arenas.  If you believe you have nothing to hide, dig a little deeper.

What this is not (disclaimers):

1) I am not a network or data security professional.  There are people who will explain far better and in greater detail than I can how your data works, and in fact, I highly encourage those people to comment here and make this a deeper dive.

2) I believe that you start without an expectation of privacy on the internet and you add layers of privacy through securing your data and being critical about what you share.  I will not share your outrage at what Facebook does with your data because while Facebook may have violated an emotional belief you held about your privacy, they are acting in accordance with their policies in managing data you freely provided.  In other words: if you put it on the web, it is not private just like three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

Who uses your data:

I believe there are three main groups of people who want access to your information: other users, people with commercial interests, and government.

Other users including everyone from your mom on Facebook to crazy stalker blog fans.  They may want information for nice reasons (say to wish you a happy birthday on the right day), because of curiosity (or its dangerous older brother, obsession), or for malicious reasons.  As far as I can tell, for most of us, other users are the biggest threat.  Because commercial interests usually utilize aggregate data and most people don’t make FBI watch lists, your mom, boss, or ex is the biggest consumer of your private information.  These people may already know something about you (such as what city you live in or were born in) they are looking for you in specific so they are more likely to take the time to do targeted searches, and they have the most license to be outright malicious.

Commercial interest is where I have spent most of my time gathering data.  When I did user analytics for a video game company I was somewhat shocked by how much access I had to individual players data: IP addresses, names, emails, dollars spent, hours played, times of day they were logged on, etc.  Based on that and other data I could make predictions about their lifestyle, what other game players they may know out of game, what may or may not engage them deeper in the game, and so forth.  I know a lot of people are outraged by the idea that their personal information is being used to sell them things, but this doesn’t phase me.  First, most of the data sets I have worked with either in user analytics or marketing research have been aggregate.  It’s not about you, it’s about you and the other 999 people similar to you.  Second, when I have worked with personalized data, the person wasn’t really the focus – most marketers don’t want to sell to one person, they want to use a story to inform a brand or product that will speak to thousands.  So yes, it’s creepy to see the couch you browsed on Overstock.com follow you to OKCupid, but I don’t find it dangerous.  What does worry me, however, is that all the data search engines, game makers, and marketers have on you can be subpoenaed by the government.

This brings me to the next and last category of data users. The government. Big brother isn’t alarming because he is always watching, he doesn’t watch most people, big brother is alarming because of the scope of information available to him.  Imagine your search history, your library record, your legal record, your finger prints, your travel history, and your credit card usage all in one place.  Imagine the government changing as governments sometimes do and the activities you’ve done without fear suddenly becoming criminalized. The government of Iran uses Facebook friend connections to determine who might be of interest, for example.  Welcome to the future.  I will say that data is only as good as your capacity for analysis, and it is unclear to me at the present moment that the government has the capacity to preform deep analysis at scale.  I suspect, though I certainly could be wrong, that the government can act either as other user or as commercial interest meaning they can either take a deep dive and put all the dots together about a user they already know and are interested in, or they can look at aggregate populations and make some kind of predictions about the populations in question. I assume certain chatter is more or less interesting, but I don’t expect the FBI to start reading my chat logs every time I say the word “bomb.” After all, between “bombing that test” and “that girl being the bomb” simple word tracking would never be able to pull the signal from the noise.

So if you’re still reading, and this is something you’re thinking about, take a look at the EFF blog safety guidelines, review your social network privacy settings, disable geotagging wherever possible, check out the Tor project, change your passwords after breakups and job changes, don’t recycle your passwords, and take a deep breath.  I have very little expectation of privacy online, it helps that I don’t aspire to be president some day, but there you have it.

 

Written by kinkinexile

February 3, 2012 at 3:56 pm