June 17, 2003

Firehorse Productions, Inc. and Midori's Newsletter June 17, 2003

Table of contents

  • Draft of Essay: Aftercare: Healing Better to Play Harder
  • Upcoming Classes & Appearances
  • New Orleans
  • San Francisco
  • Berkeley
  • Denver
  • Winnipeg Canada
  • *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    Dear Readers,
    Greetings! It sure is nice to be back home after nearly a month on the road. I love traveling and teaching. . . and also love seeing that beautiful Golden Gate Bridge as I return to my beloved hometown, Babylon by the Bay.
    Speaking of Babylon, I wanted to share with you a recent essay that appeared in my regular column, Babylon Bound, for Spectator Magazine.
    Spectator is the Bay Area's weekly newspaper on all things sexual.
    It is still in draft form, so please, be kind with the red-pen. . .
    As an aside, I'm thinking of creating a self-published small press run on a collection of my SM/kink related essays, especially those addressing the more advanced or psychological issues.
    Would you be interested? Please, let me know, as I'd only do it if you, my readers, want it.
    Hmmm, guess I'll need to find some good self-publishing resources and someone who enjoys text editing.
    Any info or suggestion much appreciated.
    My direct e-mail: Midori@FHP-inc.com

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    Column Title: "Babylon Bound" for Spectator magazine
    By Line: Fetish Diva Midori
    Copyright: (c) 2003 Midori
    Working Title: Aftercare - Healing Better to Play Harder
    In my travels I've noticed a trend towards more intense play in the SM/Leather community. This isn't surprising as the transmission of knowledge is more geometric in growth rather and linear.
    Greater number of people are becoming more skilled technically and better informed about SM. Leather community conferences, classes, books and the internet have all added to this. This is neither good nor bad. It simply is.
    As we play harder than ever before, are we recovering, healing and growing better than before? As we seek greater adventures in kinky play, do we remember that the potential jarring to the body, mind and heart may be deeper than before? Are we paying attention to what happens after the scene, not just how to create technically proficient scenes? Are we minding our aftercare as well as we should?

    I realize that aftercare isn't as sexy a topic as say, double handed flogging, Master/slave protocols, suspension bondage, etc. Thus we don't see it in great frequencies at the educational series or discussed with depth. We know we need it, but we don't dwell on it. We treat it like flossing our teeth. "Yes, yes, we know..."

    Unfortunately the reality is that the presence or absence, timing, quality and sincerity of aftercare can make the difference between a fantastic scene and a miserable experience. It's as necessary as air or water; similarly vital, yet taken for granted until it goes missing or quality is degraded.

    There are several different varieties of aftercare.
    At the most basic is the human courtesy to acknowledge the end of the scene and the other's contribution to both of your experiences. Suddenly halting a scene without cool down or mutual sense of closure can feel as jarring as getting rear-ended while cruising along the freeway at 70mph. Whatever wonderful experience you may have been having is now wrecked.

    Regardless of the mid-scene pleasure of the experience, the other person is uncertain as to the reason for the ending and may come to blame the self or resent the other. You wouldn't have sex with a person, cum and just leave without saying anything, would you? Just because a person is a submissive, a masochist, a sadist or a dominant doesn't mean they don't respond as any other person would to moments of intense intimacy.

    Another basic level of after care is the physical recovery. This is when we put Humpty Dumpty together again. This is the phase that most people refer to as Aftercare. If there are cuts clean them and cover them. If the body is cold, hungry or hurt, fix it. Most people know enough to stay with the person long enough to make certain that they are able to operate heavy machinery, i.e. their car. This is all common sense stuff. Other than specific first aid and possible medical information not much is needed to figure out thus far.

    The harder stuff happens after this. We in the leather community often talk about a "check-in call" the next day. Why is this needed and what is accomplished in this? What really needs to take place in this conversation? How best should the check-in call be conducted? Well, since I'm not one legislate behavior, I'll simply bring up some thoughts and ideas on this.

    It's quite common with kinky play, whether it's physically or emotionally intense for a person, that there's a huge adrenaline rush and shift of neural chemicals of various sorts during play. (Well, actually, I hope this happens most of the time for you. After all, the adrenaline goes hand in hand with pleasure.) As the scene closes and we "return to earth," the level of adrenaline, endorphins, seratonin and other yummy body chemicals comes down.
    Sometimes it's a nice slow easing off from a state of ecstatic pleasure, leaving us in a place of soft contentment. Sometimes the shift of levels is fast and sudden enough to leave a person's body and mind in a state much like a miniature version of shock. In theory, if this can happen during the basic, post-scene physical care and maintenance level of aftercare, then it's all groovy. We can take care of the mini-shock right along with the scrapes and bruises.

    Unfortunately, people are not theoretical. When and how we come down from the "high" of flying in a wonderful scene is not entirely predictable. The more experienced players have enough personal data to know their general patterns, but there's always room for surprises. Sometimes we are moved deeper and fly higher than either party expected. So, it's not uncommon that we experience a "drop" the next day, or for that matter, several days after the scene.
    This may leave us in various states of emotional dishevelment. Here are some feelings that may arise after personally or physically significant scene experiences: Anxiety, moodiness, agitation, anger, lethargy, loneliness, fatigue, disorientation, indecisiveness, etc. etc. Needless to say, this is not a fun place to be in.

    A check-in call gives a chance for the players to connect after bit of time has passed for the emotions to process, or at least begin to sort itself out, after a scene. It may be that both parties are perfectly fine and they had a nice "soft landing" without feelings getting stirred up. If that's the case, then great! Then the check-in call can serve as way to thank the other for the shared pleasure, compliment and express one's pleasure with the experience. If it's considered polite to do so for dinner invitations, it's certainly polite for after such intimate invitations as SM play. If all is good, you may also use this call to set up a potential follow-up date.

    If one or both person were feeling the drop from a scene, however, the check-in call becomes more important. Sometimes, simply reassurance, gratitude and validation from the other person may relieve the post scene blues. We all seek validation, affection and a sense of worth. The body chemical drop may amplify the profound vulnerability created in play, carrying it over to the next day. The emotional nakedness that the person experienced may leave them anxious about potentially being judged negatively, or worse, of being rejected. These concerns are often soothed by the conscientious play-partner in the check-in call. The conversation also gives the caller more insight into the psychological structure of the other person, critical pieces of information for creating a hotter scene or safer experiences with them in the future.
    What if we have the check-in call and need to say things that aren't all positive? What if something bad happened in the scene and you're not happy or feel somehow endangered or mistreated? What if you felt that it wasn't what you wanted after all? What if you have to listen to a negative post scene conversation? It happens. We need to get tools to deal with this.
    First of all, we're all adults. Whether or not the scene went well, both people entered into it with consent. If one felt that they had no power to consent to entering into the scene, then this is no longer SM. It just might be called abuse. Since both have consented, both have accepted responsibilities. If a scene didn't work out, before you complain or blame, you have to take inventory. Where did it go wrong? Who shares how in the responsibility. Were the communications clear enough? Did the two of you mean the same thing with the terms used?
    Some questions you might want to ask your self before going into discussing the scene that didn't work...

    1. What am I feeling?
    2. When did that feeling start?
    3. Did I assess my needs, wants and limits clearly before playing?
    4. Did I communicate my needs, wants and limits clearly before playing?
    5. When things go wrong, did I communicate that to the other once I realized it?
    6. Was the bad thing that happened part of what I considered acceptable risk in this scene?
    7. Was my appetite greater than my ability to fulfill it?
    8. What was my intent in the scene?
    9. What was the other person's intent in the scene?
    10. How big of a deal is this negative experience relative to the whole scene and / or relationship to the person?
    11. What further care do I need to feel whole or complete again?
    12. Did I communicate my aftercare needs to my partner before the scene?

    Remember to talk about how you are feeling. Don't make blame statements. Speak with compassion remembering that it's very difficult for the other to feel judged or criticized. What ever you do, don't hold in the negative feelings and resent them in silence. It's not fair to the other person or yourself if you deny the chance to clear the air and gain better understanding. It's also very childish.

    Have you noticed that I've been avoiding the use of the terms top, bottom, dominant or submissive so far? One would think that after care is for the bottoms and submissives, but it's also for the tops, sadists and dominants. Tops go through similarly intense changes in their body chemistry, leading to the potential shock-like emotional and physical crashes. Beyond the fundamental physiological concerns, most often the top has their sense of self-wrapped up in the scene as much as the bottom does.
    In the act of sadism or dominance the top has exposed their desires and hungers that aren't necessarily socially acceptable. We've been taught not to hit those we love. Now we do it for fun. It can take a bit of mental contortions to reconcile the cognitive dissonance with this. Many tops want to know that they are still loved and desired after exposing their darker desires to the other. Their pride as a technician and lover may also be involved in this. The top wants validation that they were a "good top." Telling a top that "Your flogging sucks" just might crush them. Even if they look pissed off, they're actually hurt.

    You might not get another date or you may have stunted their growth as a top with such a statement. Instead you might want to say: "Thanks for flogging me! I think maybe that flogger's a bit too much for our scenes. Let's go shopping for a new flogger just for us." (Then you go and get a good practice flogger that they can't damage you if they tried.)
    Not all aftercare can happen with the person you played with. It may not be possible or it may not be desirable. If you hooked up with someone at a bar and played in the back alley or a sex/SM club, you may not have their contact info. You may not want to actually even know their name. You may have hired a professional dominant but you don't want to aftercare with them. You may be a professional dominant and can't contact your client for aftercare or you may find that's beyond the professional relationship the two of you set up.

    Maybe you didn't realize you needed after care until well after the partner was reachable or reasonably available. If you need aftercare, you need aftercare, but it doesn't have to be with the person you played with. This is one of the many reasons why it's important to have folks in your life that you can talk about your kinky life with. You have to figure out how much aftercare you can reasonably ask from that third party caregiver. Sometimes the care needed may be deep enough to consider a therapist or other professional listener/healer/consoler. Some issues that can come up with play may be simply beyond the capability of your play partner or third party friend.

    Maybe you engaged in intense play as a performance or commercial exchange. You might do live SM shows on the Web, you might be shooting a SM porno video, you might be doing a show on a fetish event stage. Is there a responsibility for aftercare in such a situation? If so, where does it lie?

    A producer has certain expectations of professionalism of the performer. Yet they are dealing with human beings in very intense situations. Even the military has built in means for post-combat emotional care. At a strictly Machiavellian level, isn't it in the best interest of the commercial producer to clean up the state of mind of the performer as they would clean up the video footage and equipment afterwards. Or is it? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Drop me a line at my new discussion group (free) on my rope bondage site BeautyBound.com or my yahoo group if you want to vent, rant or share on this or any other kink/sex topic.

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    UPCOMING TEACHING & APPEARANCE SCHEDULE
    (Help spread the word. . . Feel free to pass the schedule on to other lists and individuals!)

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    New Orleans
    Sat. 6/21
    Class: Japanese Rope Bondage
    NOBLE Presents: Jay Wiseman / Fetish Diva Midori
    Rope Bondage Seminars and Workshops
    Co-Sponsored by SABLE
    $25 members at the door (Members of co-sponsoring groups receive the member price.)
    $30 associate members and non-members at the door
    Price includes both seminars, workshops, BBQ lunch and play party.
    Pre Purchase Tickets are available at Rings of Desire, 1128 Decatur Street, New Orleans
    LA or send an email to education@la-noble.org with "Wiseman / Midori Tickets" as the subject.
    When purchasing tickets at Rings of Desire, you will need to show your membership card to receive the member price. SABLE members can purchase tickets from Robert or jo anne.
    Program Information:
    Noon-2pm : Jay Wiseman presents "Rope Bondage You Can Actually Use"
    2pm-3pm : BBQ Lunch
    3pm-5pm : Fetish Diva Midori presents "Shibari: Intro to Erotic Japanese Rope Bondage"
    5:30pm-7pm : Bondage Workshop
    9pm : Play Party
    *Kinky Shopping! (Warning: shameless plug!) Midroi's Books, CD, Pre-treated & ready to use Japanese Hemp bondage rope, Portable Suspension Bondage Frame

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    SAN FRANCISCO
    Thursday July 3, 7:30pm to 10pm
    CLASS: Playing with Fire, Dripping in Wax; A Hands-on Workshop
    at Madame S, Sponsored by Midori and Madame S
    Kick off the Fourth of July weekend with some Fireworks of your own!
    Join our special guest presenter, Peggy, aka O for a hot night at Madame S.
    This workshop will be a hands-on workshop on more advanced techniques for fire and wax, both alone and in combination. Learn how to make fire sticks, how to use wax as a base for fire play, alternate methods for applying wax how to use a variety of fire techniques and how to bring all of them together for a successful scene.
    All supplies provided. As this is hands-on, people will be partnered up and will be switching off. People who are unwilling to switch for the purposes of this class should bring their own top or bottom to pair up with.
    Pre-registration is encouraged. You can pre-register via PayPal using the e-mail midori@fhp-inc.com. Make sure to mention the class title: "Fire & Wax"
    Class size limited to 25.
    Selected items on sale at special discounts during the class
    Location: Madame S' Lair located above Madame S at 321 7th Street, just before Folsom in San Francisco
    Admission: $25 Pre-registration encouraged. See above.
    Tel: 415 863-9447

    Presenter: Peggy aka O has been in the lifestyle for about 9 years. She identifies as a bisexual switch with a masochistic bottom side and a sadistic top side. She currently lives in South Florida where she founded Dykes 'n Dolls, a women's SM organization. She has presented at Thunder in the Mountains, Black Rose, TES 2000, TES 30, TES Fest and GMSMA Leatherfest. She was New York Leather Woman 1999 and 2nd runner up for International Ms. Leather 1999. She enjoys just about any form of play that makes a bottom squirm and writhe.

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    Berkeley, Ca
    Mon. 7/7, 8pm to 10pm
    Class: Advanced Aural Sex
    At Good Vibrations
    Bring the magic of Shaherazade to the bedroom to turn-on you and your lover! Midori can help you find ways to enhance the power of your voice to raise the heat. You'll practice sure-fire erotic voice usage, techniques to evoke desire, emotional and physical reaction, and ways to encourage deeper fantasy for greater intimacy.
    She'll even share tips on working towards causing orgasm with your voice alone. If you've attended Midori's Basic Aural Sex class or you've just had a lot of practice at home, this workshop will help increase your vocal sexual skills.
    Cost: $25
    Location: 2504 San Pablo Ave at Dwight Way, Berkeley Ca 94702
    Tel: 510-841-8987
    For more info http://www.goodvibes.com/

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    Denver
    Fri 7/11 to Sun 7/14
    Classes and demo at Thunder in the Mountains
    1. [Multi Bodied Bondage Sculpture]
    Enter into Midori's dreams and fantasy made into reality. She'll take pleasure in the flesh of many beautiful bottoms by weaving them into her rope web. Come and witness an artful suspension of several bodies... bound, flying, twisted, stretched, captured, entwined and women together as a three dimensional tapestry of Midori's erotic vision made flesh.
    This is not a workshop nor lecture... You are being asked to participate in her scene and creative process with your presence and energy. Please be respectful, join in and open your eyes and your heart.
    2. [Beyond Duality]
    Midori kick up the dust again. Ever feel like you don't quite fit in to the roles and terms commonly used in SM and kinky sex? Do you have a vague discomfort at what seems to be a dualistic expectation how we play? . . When are we a real top or real bottom? What is your possible range of experience as a dominant or submissive? Have you had a scene that leaves you vaguely unfulfilled? Do you question how your desires fit your partners? In this unique class Midori will show you a new way to look at your desire, question leather conservatism. She will help you to investigate how to meet your needs and your partner's needs and to find new ways to reach towards a satisfying scene.
    Check for times and details at http://www.thunderinthemountains.com/

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    Winnipeg, Canada
    Sat. 7/19, 9-11 p.m., social after
    Class: Predicament Bondage
    DsSM Lecturer Series
    Here's a class for fun-loving, wicked tops and for bottoms who enjoy a challenge. Predicament bondage creates a situation where the bottom is 'between a rock and a hard place.' Whichever direction the bottom moves has consequences, either physical or psychological. It can challenge your endurance, your pain threshold, or your pride. The class will include several demos, and you may have an opportunity to volunteer for one. If you're a service bottom or an escape artist, you may get a new challenge!
    http://www.dssm.org/midori.htm for more information

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    Teaser on classes and events further down the summer... (See calendar at http://www.fhp-inc.com/ for more info )
    8/1 to 8/2 Washington DC at The Crucible
    8/4 to 8/10 Czech Republic, Other World Kingdom
    9/3 San Francisco QSM
    9/12 to 9/14 Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    9/19 to 9/21 St. Louis
    9/23 San Francisco, Good Vibrations
    9/27 San Jose, Folsom Fringe
    9/28 San Francisco, Folsom Street Fair
    _________________________________

    P. S. If you want to catch the archives of eNewletters, read some articles I've written or check my travel schedule, just drop by the Fire Horse Productions, Inc site at http://www.fhp-inc.com/
    To go to the calendar directly click here

    Thanks for reading another installment of my eNewsletter!
    I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Drop me a line at my new discussion group (free) on my rope bondage site BeautyBound.com or my yahoo group if you want to vent, rant or share on this or any other kink/sex topic.

    If there's something that you want to see in my newsletters, please let me know that too.

    Midori