Event review: Kinkfest UK 2014

Earlier this year, I was asked to take part and teach workshops at the UK’s largest and newest BDSM educational conference and event, Kinkfest UK. To say it was an honour to have been able to take part is an understatement and over the course of its 2 day debut, it quickly became my favorite event of 2014 and one of my favourite BDSM events of this past decade.

Concentrating more on the safety and knowledge aspects of BDSM during the day by hosting a large and very diverse assortment of workshops and classes, while during the evenings having a large environment to practice in and have fun with new-found skills, as well as having live performances of fire play and Japanese rope bondage, Kinkfest UK has it all. In fact, I think the only thing it lacked was a market.

Held in the same venue as they hold the Midland peer rope evenings at the Xtasia club in Birmingham, I ran several flogging workshops over the course of the event and I also managed to get in some very fun rope (photos below). They have expressed wishes to continue Kinkfest UK as a yearly event and I for one really hope they do. This event was simply awesome and given the chance, I would gleefully attend again.

The First flogging workshop on the 26th July:

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My playtime while attending the peer rope workshop on the 26th July:

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The last flogging workshop on the 27th July:

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My rope model and workshop partner for the event: Jitsuka.
Photos courtesy of Kinkfest UK.
Photography by Red Fox Photography.
All images are copyright © KinkfestUK 2014.

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Flogging, dragon tail and impact play workshops for 2014

Every year I tend to get many requests to do workshops where I teach people safety and techniques on various styles of BDSM play.

I do not charge anyone for doing a workshop. All I ask is that my fuel/travel expenses are covered and that I am allowed a Kabunza trade stand at the event in question.

Having a trade stand at a workshop/event allows me to earn the money for my time separately as well as allowing me to share safe knowledge as freely as possible. Essentially minimising what an event needs to charge people for having the good sense to actually do the research and learning in their BDSM interests.

My events page has been updated to include all events that I will definitely be attending in 2014.

This year seems to be filling up unusually fast and I still have several requests to consider, so I thought it might be best to publish a blog post reminding people to get their requests for workshops in as quickly as possible.

My contact details can be found: Here.

Don’t delay if you want me for a specific date or event. Once I place an event on my blog page, it is pretty much set in stone unless the event itself is cancelled.

Product review: UberKinky Wax Play Candle Pack

Wax play is incredibly fun as a stand-alone kink, it has its own unique mix of sensation and emotion, but it is also one of those forms of play which I have found works brilliantly as an addition to others.

I have found it a beautiful accompaniment to Shibari and Kinbaku (strategically placing candles in the rope which then paint the model with wax while in bondage can invoke some of the most visual of BDSM art as well as produce some of the most intense play scenarios). Even impact play after a little wax play, where you are literally flogging, caning or spanking the wax off the body makes for an incredibly different scenario and plethora of sensations.

When Uberkinky offered me a pack of their specially designed wax play candles to review, I greedily grabbed the pack and started to drool at the thought of where I could add them for best effect (both ‘scenario’ and ‘body cavity’).

One of the things I noticed more than anything else with the UberKinky Wax Play Candle Pack is the quality of the wax itself, they are paraffin based which means they have a tendency to melt a little quicker and feel a little waxier, but more importantly; they produce a wax that is completely devoid of the soot which tends to accumulate with normal candles when you invert them (which, while being a positive attribute for any play, in my opinion, makes them especially good for rope performance on stage where time and appearance are very important factors).

I have also noticed that there is very little in the way of wax evaporation. lots of drippage and body coverage while using only a fraction of the candle and the wax burns at a slightly lower temperature, meaning you can add a larger range of sensation without feeling as though you are about to unpleasantly burn off a layer of sensitive skin.

The only downside that I can think of is the fact that they are colour dipped instead of a solid colour. The center of the candle is a white wax that takes on the colour of the candles dipped shell as it melts, which, while adding colour to the dripping wax, means that the dripped wax on the body is not as vibrant a colour as the candle itself. It is only a small downside, but a downside nonetheless. I still think the positive value of these candles far outweigh that single noteworthy negative.

As an added bonus for people who are new to this form of play, Uberkinky has written up the Beginner’s Guide To Wax Play which gives tips on safety, aftercare, how to get started and much more. Worth a peek 😉

Whip play: A few tips

After a wonderful weekend of rope and whips, it has occurred to me that I have never actually written anything on my blog about whips or whip play.

So let me start with a few tips and safety:

  • They can cause considerable pain and damage. A bullwhip is more than capable of slicing flesh and breaking bone. My first steps into using a whip (about 4 years ago) was closely watched by a friend of mine who already had many years of experience. If possible, try to have someone around you during your practice that knows what they are doing.
  • You need to realise that you are going to whack yourself on the arms, legs, back of the head, neck and shoulders. It goes with the territory until you learn how to control a whip effectively. Even after years of practice; you will still nick yourself on the odd occasion. Get used to it.
  • The cracking sound you hear is the tip of the whip (suprisingly, named ‘the cracker’) traveling at over 1400 feet per second and causing a mini sonic boom as it breaks the sound barrier. It will pick up dirt, grass or gravel from wherever you use it and have a tendency to fling it through the air. DO NOT aim it at people during practice.
  • Including an arm’s reach, a 6 foot whip will travel in a circle covering about 10-12 feet in every direction from you (this means you are in the dead center of a rather large sphere which is full of things to break and people to hit), so be very careful where you swing it. Always be aware of what is behind you as a whip will travel backwards before it goes out in front of you. Also look out for overhanging tree branches and electric cables. Always check for clearance.
  • Anyone can buy a toy but it is never the toy that is dangerous. The only truly dangerous thing about a whip is the person who wields it. Do not be stupid.

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Something beginning with ‘K’

Recently it has been quite a busy time for me and mine. We have attended about 6 events in the past two weeks, hence why there has been such a delay in blog posts.

One form of our play that has lately been taking a large portion of our attention is Kinbaku.

In this post I am going to explain a little about what we go through before, during and after play of this kind. I must stress that these opinions are based solely from our own perspective and experiences.

“Kinbaku, for me, is the only style of rope that is really close to my heart because it is not simply about tying pretty patterns. It is about awakening emotions, senses and arousal. With any other type of rope play; you can tie someone, but with Kinbaku, you must put your heart and soul into it. It’s emotion, it’s connection, it’s control, it’s sensual.” – Benjamin.

Stage 1: Preparation

Before any play can take place, a little preparation is required.

If suspension is going to be played with (which should by no means be done without experience and correct tuition); This equipment needs to be set up, ropes need to be neat and within accessible reach of the playspace (messy ropes can mean play is interrupted with entanglements) and EMT shears (safety scissors) need to be equally accessible.

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“Anybody can tie someone in rope, but the biggest responsibility is being able to tie safely. The ability to read your partners body and signals is paramount. Benjamin can read me so well because of our incredibly close bond, which is reinforced through our other forms of play, but when tying someone for the first time; communication is key.” – Aemilia Hawk.

An aesthetic setting or props (even something as simple as a blanket or mat on the floor) can help set the mood.

Stage 2: Stretching

Stretching is important. It loosens the muscles of the model and lessens the possibility of discomfort or fatigue while in bondage. While the model is stretching, the artist is often going through his/her mind what effects are desired or what is intended to be accomplished during the course of play.

“A healthy diet, a nimble body and a kinky mind is beneficial. A sliver of masochism helps substantially.” – Aemilia Hawk.

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Stage 3: Floor work

The floor work is essentially the start of actual play. Some people prefer a standing start, others prefer seated (of course, each can be utilised for specific or desired effect). The aim of floor work is basically to set the tone and flow of play. It can be violent and rough or soft and sensual depending on the moods and preferences of the play partners (choice of music, if any is used, tends to influence and effect play). This stage is often when all the bondage is applied and readied for suspension, however, sometimes the duration of play can be nothing but floor work and have no suspension at all.

“To me, the floor work is is very important, it is about the closeness, the touch, awakening my partners senses and the choice of how I am going to go about controlling the flow of play. It is building the foundations of the play ahead and even though I am in control, I am sensitive to and guided by Aemilia‘s reactions. It is not about the rope, but how I choose to use the rope. This part of play is what has truly made me fall in love with Kinbaku.” – Benjamin.

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“Personally, I like it rough.” – Aemilia Hawk.

Stage 4: Partial/Full suspension (optional)

If suspension is a desired effect, the rigging is then applied.

WARNING: Partial or full rope suspension should not be attempted without training or tuition and even with such things, it can still be dangerous. Possible injuries can include permanent nerve damage.

“As safety is a prime concern, please be aware that, like so many good things in life, there is always possibility of accidental injury. Rope suspension is undoubtedly edge play and should only be undertaken by those who are physically and mentally up to the challenge. Suspension is safe but not without risk, regardless of proficiency or experience, so is definitely RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) rather than entirely SSC (Safe Sane and Consensual). The more extreme suspensions require a high degree of fitness and often a reasonable pain threshold, so don’t imagine everyone can do what professional models make look easy!” – Bruce Esinem.

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Stage 5: Suspension transitioning (optional)

Some positions are more uncomfortable than others, every model is different and what some will find easy, others will find incredibly difficult. But regardless of the person, It is a good idea to keep the model moving and a bad idea to keep them suspended for lengthy periods of time. This may be as simple as spinning or gently swinging the model while in suspension or even changing (in part or in whole) the suspension itself.

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Stage 6: Back down to earth

If suspended, it is very important to bring the model back to the floor safely (untying the correct lines in sequence to ensure balance is maintained). Even when the main line is removed and there is no attachments to the suspension point, it is the artists responsibility to keep hold of the model until safely on the ground (light-headedness, euphoric emotions or sensory overload can cause the model to collapse easily).

The untying is just as important as the rest of the play. This is where the artist may decide to change the flow of play to opposite of what has been earlier.

“In my case, this point of play is often when I enjoy the more sensual and soft touch. For me, it is an unveiling of the skin beneath the ropes and I often add small touches to our play; like using the ends of the rope to caress or running the rope over sensitive erogenous zones while untying.” – Benjamin.

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Stage 7: Aftercare

Aftercare is important in any form of BDSM play. Rope bondage is painful (especially suspension), despite how easy a model can sometimes make it look. Aftercare can range from a soft and sensual embrace, applying skin creams to marked areas, gentle kisses and all kinds of affections shown. The list of possible aftercare is limitless and is often unique and personal between the play partners themselves. Aftercare should be just as significant as the play itself.

“I know Aemilia goes through a lot, emotionally and physically, during our rope play. The aftercare is an important way of showing my affection towards her. It is my way of saying thankyou.” – Benjamin.

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“I am not naturally a submissive person, but when the play is ending and I am recovering from the exertion and pain; and he warmly embraces me with a stubbly kiss on the neck, I just melt. I have no idea why. It is a unique sensation.” – Aemilia Hawk.

Or maybe, after all I have written here, it may just be a case of Benjamin having ‘Dirty old man’ syndrome and wanting to fondle me when I am lacking the ability to bite back.

He is nodding, so it must be true.

Photography by Raven Imaging.
All images are Copyright © 2012 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.

Kinbaku and Shibari: Private tuition with Esinem and Nina Russ – 14/10/12

From the 12th October -14th October, Benjamin and I spent the weekend in London under the tuition of the Shibari and Kinbaku professionals : Esinem and Nina Russ.

Rope play has always been an interest of mine (unfortunately, having claws can make it difficult to master effectively; ergo, I have never done advanced courses), but when Benjamin was introduced to images and movies of it, he fell in love with the artform and expressed a huge desire to learn it. I, in turn, have nurtured this desire (as well as offering to be his practice model) and after several months of play, practice and research, higher learning for him was inevitably required.

When it comes to any form of bondage, especially rope bondage, safety and knowledge is paramount. I highly recommend that it is not attempted without at least being taught the basics, either by research using the internet or books, or by attaining the services of an experienced teacher. There are many aspects to take note of during this kind of play; including asphyxiation and nerve damage. Do not be an idiot; Play safely.

To this end we contacted Esinem for his offer on residential private tuition and made plans to visit him at his home and studio in London for an intensive training course to further our learning.

After copious hours of practice and training with both Esinem and Nina Russ (living and breathing rope bondage for three days), I personally have developed a great respect for the rope bondage models that you see in all the images across the internet. I make it a personal rule to experience anything that I intend to put anyone else through (this is true for all forms of BDSM play that I practice). This kind of bondage can be incredibly painful (especially rope suspension). For me, the weekend was a significant learning experience which tested my endurance and stamina to great lengths. For Benjamin; well, let us just say he has returned from the experience with a slightly frazzled brain from taking in so much information, sore fingers from extensive use of the rope and a significantly vaster knowledge of the artform (as well as his own set of Asanawa Tossa Lite 6mm Jute ropes, a birthday present from me and my partner).

We do plan on having further private tuition with Esinem and Nina in the near future, but we must first put what we have learned over this last weekend into frequent practice. This kind of skill takes a great amount of time and dedication.

Thanks to the wonderful Nina Russ, I also experienced full rope suspension. Another thing which I do not recommend unless in the hands of an experienced and well practiced individual. To quote Esinem’s website:

“As safety is a prime concern, please be aware that, like so many good things in life, there is always possibility of accidental injury. Rope suspension is undoubtedly edge play and should only be undertaken by those who are physically and mentally up to the challenge. Suspension is safe but not without risk, regardless of proficiency or experience, so is definitely RACK (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) rather than entirely SSC (Safe Sane and Consensual). The more extreme suspensions require a high degree of fitness and often a reasonable pain threshold, so don’t imagine everyone can do what professional models make look easy!”

Luckily, I was physically and mentally adequate, however, as I mentioned earlier in this blog post, the whole weekend experience (full suspension, partial suspension and constant floor practice) has given me a profound respect for rope bondage models. It is definitely not easy.

Despite the aches and pains that I was suffering by the end of the weekend and despite the fact that I am not naturally submissive, I could not resist the chance to be tied up and partially suspended by the man himself.

Enjoy the photos.

 

All photography is unedited.

Photos courtesy of Esinem and Nina Russ.
Photography by Nina Russ.
All images are Copyright © 2012 AemiliaHawk. All Rights Reserved.

A Velvet Thought – Mistresses Musings: What is the difference?

Recently I was asked what the difference is between a professional Dominatrix and a lifestyle Dominatrix. I thought my reply was worth posting to blog and I have thrown financial Domination in the mix as well because this has also been asked of me in the past:

A financial Dominatrix has no skill in any of the BDSM arts. They are not a true Mistress, they simply pose as one. It is unlikely you will meet them anywhere apart from online. All they will do is demand that you give them money or pay their bills. They demand cash in exchange for nothing (aside from possible verbal abuse or online humiliation).
These people tend to give professional Domination a bad name because many people fail to differentiate between financial and professional Domination as there are quite a few professional Dominants who practice financial Domination.
I personally loath this practice. In my opinion they are on a par with beggars or ‘spongers’. I believe that money given should be money earned and I class financial Dominants as lower than pond scum on the evolutionary ladder.

A professional Dominatrix is basically one who plays in a dungeon with a paying client. The client has a fetish, kink or BDSM fantasy and would like to act it out. It is a form of drama therapy and while it may be erotic or sensual, there is never any sex ( if sex is involved then they are a prostitute, not a Dominatrix).
The majority of professional Dominatrices have a normal life when they leave the dungeon (When I say majority, I can only comment on my own experiences and acquaintances. Around 90% of all I have met. And when I say normal, I mean of course a vanilla existence). They do not spend a large portion of their life studying BDSM practices. They have a very basic knowledge of the equipment, normally what they have been told by friends, played with in the bedroom, have seen on TV or what they may have had shown to them by other Mistresses or submissives at their dungeon of residence. This level of skill coupled with common sense and safety is often enough to deal with a large portion of paying clients. Most clients have a very generalised fetish (often something they have seen on television or on the internet) which tend to be very simple to do. They do not often attend BDSM events or clubs because they consider the play their job and there is no profit in attending such places.
I must stress that this opinion is based solely on the professional Dominants that I have met. The other 10% tend to be incredibly skilled because they are usually both lifestyle as well as professional. The key is, of course, noticing this before passing judgement simply on their choice of profession. The lifestyle professionals tend to do it for a living because they love BDSM so much.

A lifestyler (or lifestyle Dominatrix, if you prefer) is one who does it because they love it. It is part of their everyday life. They often go to great lengths to get high quality or specialised equipment (I rarely use the equipment on show in the dungeon as I prefer my own) and they spend a great deal of time learning the skills involved in their chosen BDSM activities. They tend to attend the events, clubs and venues because it is their passion and not simply a job.

Essentially it comes down to this: Give a financial Dominatrix a flogger and she will demand money from you to have the privilege of passing it to her hand (and she will have no clue as to how to use it or have any inclination to do so. Of course, this is if you actually manage to meet them in the flesh), give a professional Dominatrix a flogger and (9 times out of 10) she will show you how to hit someone with it for money, give a lifestyle Dominatrix a flogger (preferably someone that has a few years experience) and she will show you how to make it dance.

There is a lot of information on the internet about the differences. These are of course just my own observations and opinions. I am forever hoping to have these opinions improved upon, but this is how they stand to date.

I am both lifestyle and professional. I am of the minority. I do this for a living next to my small business (even my small business is BDSM orientated) and it has been my passion and a major part of my life for almost 10 years.

Constructive opinions appreciated if anyone would care to give their own interpretations. Is my opinion flawed?