Monday, January 30, 2006

I'll be heading off to the jungles of Asia for 3 weeks after the 17th of February, so serve me while you can...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Gates is Moving

Exciting News! We will be moving to a nearby location later this week. It is within sight of our current house, so remember not to ring the wrong doorbell :-)

I am sure there will be an adjustment period as we settle into our new space during these next few weeks. Patience as we get everything set up. When we are finished the payoff will be more playrooms with fun themes and lavish decor. It's going to fabulous!

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Recently, I was asked why I write my blog. It took me a moment to formulate an answer, as for me it is now such a given. The desire for self-expression is one of the most fundamental urges. Art feeds upon itself.

I remember skimming through The Diaries of Anais Nin when I was young. My mother was a big fan of her work and would frequently check out a volume of her prolific diaries from the library. Perhaps this French literary figure/femme fatale's steamy exploits, lyrically recorded in her private journals, were an inspiration as well. If you are not familiar with Anais Nin's diaries, you might have heard of the film Henry and June about her romance with the writer Henry Miller and his wife June. "Just one page of Nin's extraordinary diaries contains more sex, melodrama, fantasies, confessions, and observations than most novels, and reflects much about the human psyche we strive to repress," writes Donna Seaman of Booklist.


I just finished the Jenna Jameson memoir I mentioned in my last post. Now that was a harrowing tale. No doubt about it, she graduated from the school of hard knocks: a chaotic, neglectful familiy life, unsavory, exploitive men, self-esteem issues and drug addiction. The path she has travelled and the things she has experienced are very different from my own. I am fortunate to have been raised by a loving family who supported me throughout my schooling here and abroad. It was an intellectually inquisitive and socially progressive home where I was never pushed to grow up too fast. In large part because of my stable roots, I avoided all those problems -- abusive men, eating disorders, addiction -- which Jenna and too many other women have faced.

Though I cannot entirely relate to this porn superstar, I completely respect her for all that she has been through and accomplished. Jenna Jameson is a survivor. A strong woman who has become a powerful player in the adult industry, a best-selling author and a household name. I admire her for her strength of will and her trailblazing autonomy as a female performer in a tough business.


I saw Memoirs of a Geisha the other day. It was a visually beautiful film. And I thought Gong Li was especially exceptional as Hatsumomo, the main character Sayuri's rival. The movie closely followed the novel. Yet somehow it made it all seem more sad. There were slight changes that seemed to tilt the tone in this direction (OK if you don't want any plot points spoiled, please read no further).

In the book, I don't recall Mameha screaming at Sayuri that she was "worthless" when her precious virginity was in question. Or Sayuri collapsing to the floor in tears when the Baron forced her to expose herself to him. And in the novel, Pumpkin did not declare the reason for her betrayal at all. Whereas in the film, she says to Sayuri, "You took away the only thing that mattered to me. And I wanted you to know how it feels." And of course, the film ended before she left Japan and re-settled in New York, which somehow struck me as less uplifting as well.

In the end, I am glad that the film did not glamorize the life of the geisha. Though I find it interesting how differently the book and movie affected me. After reading the novel, I stayed immersed in that world and let myself imagine what it would have been like to have been a geisha. Yet after the film, I did not feel any identification with these women.

I think a core difference is that in the novel, Sayuri spoke of her trials and tribulations with a soft, accepting tone. I suppose having little or no emotional reaction to events does not convey well, so for drama's sake the film was more charged and more negative.

One thing that I think is awesome about the movie is it's the first Hollywood production with an all-Asian cast. A few times while watching it, I would stop for a moment and look around the packed theater and marvel at how everyone was engrossed in the storyline, seeing Asian actors simply as people in a story rather than alien beings. I know there has been controversy in China and Japan because the three main actresses are Chinese rather than Japanese. Well, at least none of them are white pretending to be Asian as we have seen the past! Every step helps.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Christmas time brought me many gifts of books which I have been pouring through during my free moments. Dan Brown's DaVinci Code was a fun read. Despite its enormous popularity, I had no idea that the central premise had to do with the supression of the sacred feminine. Though it would seem the research behind the book is questionable, I appreciated how the author was able to portray goddess worship and ancient sex rites without seeming gratuitous or too off the wall. I believe the spiritual is so connected to the sexual and think it's a shame how the two have become so separate in the modern world. I have formulated specific ideas on this, but I know many would think that my vision is pretty outlandish. Perhaps a topic for another blog entry...

I was also given a book with the tongue in cheek title Are Men Necessary? by Pulitzer-prize winning New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. I tried several times to read this collection of essays to the end, each time throwing it down in frustration. The author bewails society's zigzag trail of gender politics from the "let's go dutch" 1970s to the Botox addicted, stay-young-forever current age.

Yet the wall I repeatedly hit in her musings was a firm insistence on her part of some elemental differences between men and women which, at least for me, don't really exist. Her entire approach struck me as just so old-fashioned. Like her assertion that men can find cartoon characters like Jessica Rabbit and Disney's Pocahontas sexy, whereas women could never be attracted to a male cartoon character. I mean, when I was young I thought Linus from Peanuts was totally my type. I'm serious ;-) Then again, maybe I am just weird.

Just started digging into Jenna Jameson's memoir How to Make Love Like a Porn Star: A Cautionary Tale. I have only skimmed the sections around the books's many hot photos (who says women aren't visual? please!), though I do plan on reading it from start to finish.

I went to high school in the San Fernando Valley -- the epicenter of the adult industry -- and my family spent a lot of time in Jenna's hometown of Vegas when I was growing up. And though I was a chaste and studious teen, I loved finding porn magazines, X-rated comics and erotic novels underneath beds, in the corners of cupboards, in the basement, and all those hiding places that never stay hidden. So I am curious to read her story, since in some ways it is familiar territory.

Of course, I don't expect to be able to relate to it all. Jenna Jameson's roots are in stripping. And dommes and strippers are like apples and oranges (or mangos and passionfruit -- that sounds sexier ;-) I know my stripper friends are disturbed by what I do. And frankly, I am disturbed by what they do. Yet we can still all hang out, party and support each other as we go about our wild lives. Cie la vie!

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Safe, sane and consensual. That phrase gets thrown around a lot amongst kinksters. There is no doubt of its importance to me, as evident in the subpage I dedicate to the topic on my site. I have heard others say that the entire concept is flawed, based upon the false assumption that BDSM play should or even can be these things. "It's about losing control, not keeping things sane," said a long-time player.

Indeed, the energies unleashed in a scene can be frenzied and extremely powerful. I like to think of it as controlled chaos. Bottling up the essence of the dark furies and dancing with it for a few brief moments. The most common word used by submissives immediately after they have been topped by me is "intense." That's how I like it most of the time. Driving, urgent and unpredictable. It's a wild ride!

As for safety, this is of the utmost importance to me. When one embarks on certain activities there are always issues with which to be concerned. That is why the link on my homepage adds the word aware to the phrase: "Safe, Sane, Consensual and Aware." Awareness of what one is getting into at all times is key. And isn't it so much more comfortable when one can rest easy knowing that the highest degree of safety measures were employed? Then it's pleasure without the guilt. No matter how mean or nasty the scene turns, there must always be control on this level.

Consensuality is the most charged issue. We roleplay resistance. The slave pretends to not want to be subjugated and invaded, made to bow down like a dog or take it like a slut. The very idea of violating one's boundaries -- and thereby one's sense of egoic self -- arouses with the strength of the transgression. Yet the difference between fantasy and reality are worlds apart.

On occasion, I receive emails from someone who describes a seemingly unhealthy real-life situation of humiliation, degradation, cuckoldry and the like. Naturally, they are aroused by such victimization as well as ashamed and confused. I counsel these seekers to ensure that they surround themselves with caring individuals and protect themselves against nonconsensual exploitation.

Just because something turns you on doesn't mean it is right or good. There are so many ethical ways to have fun and get your jollies, why resort to preying or being preyed upon? It's been said more than a few times that if more people engaged in safe, sane, consensual power play there would probably be a lot less domestic violence and messy relationships. Now I'm sure that sounds like complete absurdity to lifestyle conservatives, but I tend to think it would be true.