Travel

The Next Frontier of Theme Parks: Dubai

Kristie LeVangie

 

 

by Kristie LeVangie

Dubai seems to be THE PLACE to be.

An International city developed by the most imaginative architects in the world.  There is no limit to the creativity.

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dubai-Sailboat Hotel

And when they run out of room, they have no qualms about constructing an island in the middle of the sea.  (And not just any island.  It too was born from vivid imagination.)

Palm Tree Island Dubai

 

So when plans were announced this week that Dubai would be the new location for the largest underwater theme park in the world, was it really a surprise?

The theme park will allow visitors the opportunity to scuba dive and snorkel through the Lost City of Atlantis.

Okay, okay.  I know the Lost City of Atlantis is mythical, but who better to bring it to life than the same team that designed sets for both Avatar and the Pirates of the Caribbean?

According to emirates247.com, the claim is that the Pearl of Dubai will be the largest sustainable underwater tourism site to date.  Featuring a large artificial reef, the Los Angeles-based underwater developer, Reef Worlds, hopes that colonies of algae and soft corals will allow marine life to thrive in the shallow waters of The World islands (another man-made archipelago of islands made to look like a world map).

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The completion date has not yet been announced, but keep this destination on alert.  It definitely offers a unique playtime opportunity.

 

Semester Complete

by Johnny Jackhammer

Do you know your “hard limits?” Have you thought about what you would never, ever do sexually to or with someone?

Most of us can probably list off our taboos. When GWN and I first flirted, she established, and we agreed on, the hard limits quickly: no kids, no animals, no pain.   Those limits seemed reasonable, and they are probably more liberal than most. It showed that we were open to many sexual opportunities with limits that were easy to accept.

Attend a weekend-long BDSM event, however, and you might find your hard limits change. The introduction of pain into sex play was opened up a bit for us during this conference. Although we haven’t become lured by the more brutal stuff, I could write a full article about fun we found with sharp and intense barehanded spanking.

At events, pain play occurs in a controlled environment with full consent of all players. Everyone involved is sober and present. Roles and activities are carefully mapped out, with safe words or gestures to be used if things don’t go as expected or desired. That’s important, because this is all supposed to be fun.

One new area of kink for us was Medical Play.

We were invited to watch a scene by a great couple we met at the welcome mixer, who were eager to display their skill and equipment. They have a power exchange relationship, and she is the Master.

A lot of time was spent on scene preparation. Sheet covers and drop cloths were secured; rubber gloves and safety equipment were made handy.

The sub was ready for play as the top secured some wires and straps around his penis. From there, he was connected to a small device that looked like a guitar pedal with dials instead of buttons. We were told it provided mild electrical stimulation to his cock during play. He described it to me as a unique thrill, comparing the feeling to a soft and steady blow job. My interest was piqued as I imagined how I might try such a device. His Domme picked up the pedal, asked if he was ready, and gave a small, easy turn on the device.

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“Aargggh!” the slave exclaimed in a mixture of pain and surprise. I mentally crossed the electrical box off my “toys to try” list! (It was an Erostek 232, in case you want to give it a try.)

She quickly backed off, and he eased back onto the medical table, ready for play. He was blindfolded and lightly secured. She disrobed and put on gloves to begin the needle play.

We were fascinated by the precise and controlled application of needles to the submissive. GWN got up to get a closer look as I settled into a chair by the table to observe the scene. The Master moved around the slave as she slid very thin needles through his skin so the point exited. None of them went deep, and only a few of them bled, yet drawing mild trickles of blood were both the goal and the kink.

Unique placement drew my attention. Three small needles were criss-crossed underneath his nipples to create an “endorphin button.” Once in, she could enhance his sensation through firm, careful taps on skin above the needles. Additional stimulus came through the use of a tuning fork, humming onto the endorphin buttons, creating vibrations of pleasure and pain.

Once his pain tolerance was increased, she moved to his penis. Multiple piercings were made through his shaft and scrotum. All the while, the Master regularly checked in to make sure that he was well and enjoying the experience. The electrical current made his cock softly pulse, but not become fully erect during the scene.

Most surprising was the tenderness involved in the play. I witnessed similar care and concern being shared at other medical scenes through the weekend. They had a common goal of causing or receiving pain, and they had a shared desire to see and smear the blood that arose from the play. I wasn’t necessarily aroused by it, although my lady felt a tingle. I very much liked seeing how much the players enjoyed the scene.

Oh, wait. I now remember an arousing part. To place additional needles through his ball sack, she climbed the table above him, lightly grazing her breasts over his body and ending where her pussy could meet his mouth under the blindfold. He extended light licks as she reached over and applied more needles. Now that the pain levels increased into a mix of pleasurable tolerance for him, she shifted and sat on his face. He ate her out while she carved the word “MINE” into his chest. It was a clearly sexual event, and we welcomed the view.

In BSDM play, once a scene is complete, careful clean-up takes place. But before that happens, the sub receives after-care. This is a valued part of the play. While this includes washing and being made comfortable, it mostly focuses on the warm connection between the players. There may be a blanket or a hug. There is always fresh water and subdued stimulus. The players have made a deep connection, and they both benefit from being slowly eased out of their euphoria.

Upon returning home, we quickly registered for the next conference. It was a welcoming environment that encouraged us to be wild, dress scantily, and feel accepted regardless of our body flaws or advantages.   We all have magic to bring to the table.

 

Things Heat Up at Kollege

by Johnny Jackhammer

Johnny continues his adventures at Kinky Kollege.

 

I love Walt Disney World.

I like the fact that there’s something there for everyone.  Want some thrills?  There are some very well-themed and fun coasters.

Need to take it slower?  Incredible shows and dark rides are calling your name.

Just like to people watch?  A cross-section of the globe can be found walking around.

…And every visit is unique.

 

The fetish convention is a lot like WDW.  Not in the content, of course, but the variety and accommodations provide something that will interest everyone.

To loosely paraphrase Dan of the Erotic Awakening Podcast, a fetish is something that makes you feel a little tingle down below.  Everybody has different tastes, and many of ours overlap.  GWN and I were on a quest to expand our tingle list.

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Being more into sex than power exchange, I admit the Glory Hole was high on my checklist.  In this case, there was an Intimate Room, and the Glory Hole station was prominently featured just inside the entrance.  I kept an eye on it as we walked by through the weekend and never saw it in use.  In fact, the Intimate Room was lightly populated throughout the weekend, with crowds gravitating to the main dungeon instead.  On our second day, we couldn’t resist and created our own scene. I think GWN had fun because it was a long-time fantasy of mine.  I had fun because it was naughty, yet I had the safety of knowing who was on the other side of the wall.  And, even though there were a couple people who hovered around, I didn’t see anybody try to enter the other two holes on the three-sided panel.

That is one thing that I have learned about the fetish community.  With rare exceptions, people won’t join a scene unless explicitly invited.

The next thing that gave me a tingle was a handwritten notice on the community bulletin board saying “Wanted: guys to gangbang me now in the Intimacy Room.”  I wasn’t tempted to participate, but I was excited by the idea that there would be a legal, free and open call by a woman who wanted multiple cocks. I expected to see it become a standing room only event.  Instead, we saw a woman getting pounded on an air mattress with a few guys sitting in banquet chairs looking on.  We did see her going at it a couple times with different people, but we never saw a group or gang thing get started.  It was too bad we didn’t bring GWN’s strap-on harness down with us!

Another place high on my list was the XXX Theatre.  I am an unapologetic fan of pornography, with a particular interest in unique, extreme, and artistic porn.  The porn being shown was actually a loop of a private BDSM party in an upscale location.  It was hot with variety and kink, yet fairly mild in the S&M category.  We enjoyed stopping in a few times.  We heard enough smacking to know that it was a free activity zone, so we decided to put on a little XXX show of our own.  (I did note earlier that I was an exhibitionist.)  GWN sat up on a table near the front row, and I pulled up a chair at her level hip to enjoy my favorite position – dining at the Y.  At one point in the pleasure, a friend we had met earlier in the dungeon gently came up and asked her if he could join in the scene. She looked at me, and I nodded my approval (heaven forbid that I stop to actually talk).  And while I worked on her, he rubbed and fondled her back, neck and chest.

Adding a play partner was new territory for us.  In some ways, we had been looking to expand the “toy box” (if you count other people as potential playthings). We chose to explore the BDSM community over the swing community because it seemed like there would be less pressure and more acceptance of diversity. We like the commitment to knowledge sharing that is inherent in the BDSM world.

Which brings me to the most important lesson learned that weekend:  don’t be afraid to stop and communicate.  You won’t kill the moment by taking a moment.  In the movie theater case, I was feeling loved and part of the fun.  I wouldn’t have cared what she extended out to the friend who approached us.  Because we didn’t stop to touch base on where this was going, she felt distracted wondering what my limits have been.  In that moment, I’d have been open for whatever she felt like.  It’d have been fine for her to stick her hand down his pants and show him her mad skills, but the scene fell far short of this due to the respect and regard she had for my feelings.  It should have been simple and natural to take a time out to discuss limits, but that is not always easy to do while in the heat of the moment.  We will continue to work together to improve our communication.

After some public sex play, it was time to expand our knowledge in some more extreme areas.  Anyone ready for needle play?

 

 

Getting the Lay of the Land – The Event Begins

Part 2 of my journal about a weekend-long fetish event.

by Johnny Jackhammer

There was a distinct lack of nervousness as we walked into the conference registration room.

The people were welcoming and warm. Then we were hit with the paperwork.

At a private fetish event, there is plenty of paperwork to navigate. It outlines the rules, what you are about to encounter, and what is not allowed. Events are grounded in consent and safety for all participants. A signature means that the signer is not squeamish, believes in sexual expression of all orientations, and acknowledges that just about every sex act imagined will be taking place. We signed eagerly.

(Side note: one of the rules prohibits photography once you are past the security checkpoint.  Therefore, there will be very few photos included in this series and none with this chapter.)

This may surprise you about the BDSM community: it is a warm and welcoming community of people. Of any collection of people, I have not known more consistently tolerant, cheerful, and supportive group. Perhaps it’s the open vulnerability of striking up a conversation with somebody who is wearing nothing but a collar with their hands tied behind their back. Kinksters want to share their interests, show off their bodies or outfits, and make new connections. For many participants, this is a lifestyle of power exchange and connections.

Events like this all have “play” space, usually referred to as “the dungeon.” This is where you can witness most of the fetishes and edgy play. Often, the most popular equipment is the St. Andrew’s Cross, which is a wooden X-shaped frame that people can lean against or be restrained on. In most all cases, whippings, floggings, and beatings take place there.   If you attend, you need to be ready to see bodies brutalized until black marks and bruises are raised. Later at the parties and hallways, we saw many corseted ladies proudly showing off their blackened chests.

In the midst of the harsh action is a prevailing consent. Tops frequently check in on their bottom, making sure that the scene is going according to everyone’s wishes.   Extreme play creates a need for tenderness and after-care that is essential as a cool-down.

There are usually a few spanking benches, which are dual-leveled and padded. You kneel on the knee rest and lay your torso over the padded top. Here you’ll generally see spanking, paddling, and – on special nights – some fisting.

Beyond the dungeon, this convention had playrooms for sensual play (home to glory holes and gang bangs), bondage play (with plenty of scaffolding and framework), and medical play (more about this one later). Along with the play spaces, there is a XXX theater open and running for all the conference operating hours.

We appreciated that the conference kicked off with a dungeon tour and a pizza party mixer. They had a cash bar at the entrance, and my lady, GWN, and I grabbed nice stiff cocktails to go into the room with. As we started to mingle, we understood why there was no line at the bar. We might have been the only two people with drinks in our hand. While the swing community is a drinking culture, the BDSM community is not. There are some who may partake on separate occasions, but drinking is not generally a part of fetish play.

At the mixer, we quickly encountered an attractive couple. The woman was Amazonian in stature, and her man was kind and collared as her slave. We had a great connection and came to like them quite a bit. They planned some medical play later that evening, and they hoped that we’d be on hand to watch.

Which brings me to one of the conference tracks – Master and slave relationships. One thing I learned is that the Master/slave connection is not one of brutality but of service and protection. My assumptions were clouded by watching in Roots in the 1970’s, for sure. But instead, I learned that it can be a comfortable fit for the right type of people. Masters are dominant, for sure, but they are strong in how they watch out for the best needs of their slave. Punishment is immediate and public sometimes, but often it’s part of the kink for both parties. For example, the slave may be ordered to kneel on the floor next to the Master and wait quietly for a command. Even with this layer of control, there is explicit consent throughout.

The convention was a smorgasbord of kinky fun. We really enjoyed the “Tapas” session, which set up stations in the dungeon for people to get a taste of various fetishes. GWN gladly had her boots licked and feet worshipped, and we witnessed some amazing heavy flogging by a true artist. Other stations included a vacuum bed, fire cupping, light needle play, light whipping, and rope suspension. This was a useful offering to give people a taste of what they might want to try when the real play parties begin.

I also learned how freeing it is to see abundant skin and kinky outfits maneuvering through the conference space. Most people in our culture are self-conscious to some degree, and it was liberating to see so many different body styles be desired and accepted. We enjoyed seeing men and women of all types – between 80 and 400 pounds, from 3 to 7 feet tall – feeling sexy and showing off.

Sexiness is truly about attitude, and fetish events are filled with attractive people who were hotter than any Hollywood starlet. Sure, the model might have the Barbie-doll body, but we were much more turned on by the BBWs who were rope-bound and begging to be handled. I have to admit that there is something admirable about a 6’, 90-pound gender-flexible man in a wig, high heels, and a skirt. It’s the freedom and attitude that is sexy, not the package.

Now that things have kicked off, the only question left is do we just watch or do we jump in and play?

Reminder: This blog is discussing the Kinky Kollege.  You can find more at their website here.

Back to School in Chicago

By Johnny Jackhammer

 

I didn’t read 50 Shades of Grey.

I won’t read 50 Shades mainly because I’m a literary snob, and people I trust have characterized the series as an unrealistic description of true Power Exchange in the BDSM community.

But I don’t need that book series to build my interest in kink.  I have long been a kinkster, and my wife, GoodWitchNorth (GWN), and I have been testing out the waters of our local BDSM community.  We are lucky to live in a place that has been jokingly dubbed “the Rope Capital of the World,” so events close to home have been easy to find.

I am glad the book exists however; because anything that opens kink into the mainstream is a good thing.  But even with this advance, sexuality somehow needs to be enrobed in violence and domination to be accepted by the public.  The sensuality that makes the world go ‘round remains taboo.

But in our house, my wife and I are expanding our boundaries, taking the time to plan overnights and getaways that have a kinky edge to them.  We are glad to be over 40, which gives us a solid blend of confidence (to feed my exhibitionism fetish) and open-mindedness (which expands opportunities for her adoration fetish).  Seeking out a sexy event to see and be seen, we enrolled in Kinky Kollege.

Kinky Kollege is a weekend BDSM conference held in the Chicagoland area by the Leather SINS organization.  It’s a pansexual event featuring classes, vendors, a silent auction, networking opportunities, and a dungeon playspace open from 9pm to midnight each day.  The event is held twice a year, with “Prom” held each March and “Homecoming” held each October.  While it’s not a total hotel takeover, it is held in a private space with strict security.

As I write this, KK is fewer than two weeks out.  How does a first-timer prepare for such an event?  My thoughts are to PLAN and then PACK.

PLANNING

For a kink conference, we need to identify our fetishes.  Classes at the “Kollege” run a broad range.  Subjects range from “Rough Body Play” to “Tactile Torture Worship” to “Let’s Get Cracking – Whips 101.”  There are some more sex-centric topics, as well, including “How to Give a Great Blowjob” and “Playing in Public.”  I’ll compare notes with GWN, and I expect that we’ll do more than half our classes together and one or two on our own.  I know that I’m interested in a basic rope class, a session on prostate milking, and some sessions on scene creation and playing in public.  We might hit the “Fist-A-Cunt” session together, if only to watch the demonstrations.

No matter what, though, we’ll probably choose classes for the day on the mornings of the event.   Most of our interests are shared, and we’ll want to stay flexible.   You can check out their course descriptions at their website.

The schedule shows classes in the morning and early afternoon.  Vendors go all day, and dungeon play takes place at 9pm.  There seems to be plenty of free time, so I want to make sure that we also plan for some extended hang time in our room.  Perhaps we’ll make some friends!

PACKING

Like every BDSM event we have encountered, alcohol is not permitted.  It makes sense, since the action can get fairly risky, making it important for the participants to keep clear minds.  Plus, sex can only be at its best when one is sober; don’t you think?  It might get rougher and sweatier when you have a jag on, but you’re more likely to reach sensual peaks when you are fully present.

Even so, our packing list starts with a bottle of good French vodka and bourbon.  We will take plenty of breaks in our room, so our list will include snacks to match as well as extra glasses to entertain friends.   I’ll make sure to grab some appropriate snacks: sharp cheddar, water crackers, hummus, and fruits.  Good things to keep Happy Hour happy.

Since the event includes classes, followed by social events, followed by dungeon activity, multiple outfits are called for.

As a man, I figure I should have some jeans and tight t-shirts, sharkskin slacks with crisp white dress shirts, sexy underwear, assless chaps (don’t judge me), jocks of various types, and maybe a spray-on tan for my Midwest whiteness.

Women have many more sexy choices available.  I, for one, am very glad for that.  GWN will have a lot of revealing lingerie, sexy dresses, leggings, garters and hose, boots and heels.   Red and black permeate her wardrobe, with some fun and sexy t-shirts for the more vanilla events (like one black shirt that just reads “Area Woman”).

ToysThe last item will be our Toy Bag – I figure that you never know what might be needed while in the dungeon.  I plan to include multiple types of lube, unlubricated condoms (in case GWN fulfills her fantasy of pegging a row of “boy butts”), rubber gloves, and cleansing wipes.  The toys should run the gamut from cock rings and vibrators to paddles and harnessed dildos.  Be prepared for anything, right?

I’ll throw in some erotica and music for good measure.  If the activities don’t meet our expectations, at least we can take advantage of hotel-style relaxation.

I hope that will cover any anticipated needs, but I’m sure there are plenty of discount stores or a mall nearby.

The hotel instructions warn that participants need to keep covered in public areas.  This is especially true in their glass elevators.  Chaps are family-friendly; aren’t they?

What if I wear a cowboy hat???

More to come on this…