Q: Is this even Dan? Probably not, probably an assistant, but maybe this will eventually get to him. I have a spanking fetish. I love to be spanked. I live in Oakland, California, so San Francisco is 10 minutes away. Seems like I'm in one of the best places in the country to have a kink, but I'm having a hard time figuring out where I can find a spanking community. I know there are BDSM clubs, but is there another way I can connect with spanking people? Any suggestions or resources? — Sincerely Panicked And Needing Knowledgeable Mentorship, Edification
A: This is Dan, SPANKME. I read all my own mail. And I found someone for you — all by my lonesome — who is more qualified than I to answer your question.
"This lady sounds like she needs to be severely punished," Jillian Keenan joked when she read your email. "I'd love to help her get what she deserves!"
Keenan is a very serious journalist who writes about very serious subjects — climate change, economic policy, nuclear proliferation — but she's also a very serious spanking fetishist. She came out about her kink in a Modern Love column in the New York Times ("Finding the Courage to Reveal a Fetish," November 9, 2012), and she's written a series of pieces about kink, consent, and stigma for Slate and other publications.
So, SPANKME, where can you find your kink community? Where everybody finds their kink communities these days: online.
"FetLife.com has profiles of more than 300,000 spanking fetishists, including several groups specifically for people in the Bay Area," says Keenan. "FetLife is a good way to chat with people online and ease into the scene. On FetLife, she can also learn about where local spanking enthusiasts go for parties and munches."
Munches are informal get-togethers where kinksters meet to talk, not to play. You might connect with a potential playmate at a munch, but you won't be pressured to play right away.
"When she starts to meet potential playmates, the most important thing I can recommend is to be as detailed and honest as possible," says Keenan. "What are her fantasies? Does she want to be spanked with a hand, hairbrush, belt, paddle, or something else? Does she want to call her partner 'sir' or 'ma'am'? Would she prefer a punitive dynamic, or does she fantasize about erotic spankings? Is she excited by any of our kink's side dishes, like standing in a corner, writing lines, being scolded, or getting her mouth washed out with soap? What implements, activities, words, or pain thresholds are absolutely off-limits? Such specific details can feel embarrassing at first, but if she talks about them honestly with a potential partner, it's much more likely that she'll find a good match and have a great experience!"
A safe, responsible, and trustworthy kinkster — the only kind of kinkster you ever want to play with — will agree to meet you in a public place to talk about your kinks and limits before setting up a playdate. If you find yourself talking with someone who refuses to meet prior to playing, SPANKME, they're not a responsible or trustworthy kinkster.
"But great dominants are not rare," says Keenan. "It won't take long to find someone else — someone with whom she'll feel safe. And no matter what she and a potential partner agree on before a scene, she can always change her mind later if something feels uncomfortable. And there is absolutely no shame in using a safe word. So pick a fun one!"
Follow Jillian Keenan on Twitter at @jilliankeenan.
Q: We have a new shorthand term for BDSM doms who are abusive assholes: Ghomeshi doms. Good guys into BDSM should stick this in their online profiles: "I'm a nice, non-Ghomeshi dom looking for a lady who is into ..." — Banish Abusive Doms
A: Jian Ghomeshi is the CBC radio host who was fired last week after three women leveled accusations of sexual assault against him. Eight women have now spoken to the press; two have allowed themselves to be named. Ghomeshi claims that he is into BDSM and that all of these encounters were consensual, BAD, but I don't believe that Ghomeshi is a consensual kinkster. I believe he's a serial abuser who leveraged his fame against the women he assaulted and who is now hiding behind the culture of consent that characterizes responsible BDSM communities and practitioners. So I think it would be a mistake for BDSMers to work his name — even in a negative sense — into their lingo/slang/shorthand, BAD. He's not one of you. He never was. (I wrote two long posts about Ghomeshi on my blog — Google my name and his and they pop right up.)
Q: My brother and I married two incredible women. Our wives were good friends before we started dating them. My brother has always been my best friend, so the four of us spend a lot of time together. Recently, a couple of drinks turned into a bunch, and then my wife and sister-in-law started making out. Then they fucked. It was the hottest thing I've ever seen. We ended up pairing off with our respective partners and having sex in the same room. The next morning, the same thing happened again — wives fucked each other, we watched, then we fucked our wives in front of each other — and now my wife tells me that she and her friend would like to date each other. The group sessions would continue. (But no wife-swapping: MW sex between husband and wife only!) Everyone seems on board. I knew my wife was bi before we married, and we've talked before about her having a girlfriend, so I'm fine with that part. It's hot and it feels safe since we all trust each other. I guess my question is: Is this a terrible idea? Is it creepy and/or incestuous to watch your brother fuck his wife? Does this sound like a setup for the messiest breakup ever, or does something like this ever work out long-term? — Brothers Respectfully Aroused Humping Spouses
A: The exact same things that make this arrangement feel so safe and so logical — your wives were friends before you and your brother married them, the four of you were tight before your wives started fucking each other — will turn this into a screaming nightmare should things go south. If things get messy — if there's one or more conflicts that require taking sides — you and your brother are going to find yourself in positions that make Reverse Cowgirl Bleached Anal Handstand look easy.
Because you're all so close.
But the train has already left the station, BRAHS: Your wives are doing each other, and they'd like to date each other, and you and your brother want to keep watching your wives fuck and then fucking your respective wives in front of each other. I would advise you all to get together for nonalcoholic beverages and for everyone to promise that you will be mature, reasonable, and forgiving adults if/when this — the wives dating, the semi-incestuous (but maritally binary) quad-ways — comes to an end. Agreeing to an amicable breakup in advance of a breakup is no guarantee that things will end amicably, of course, but it improves the odds.
As for the incest and long-term angles: Watching your brother fuck someone strikes me as creepy, BRAHS, but it doesn't meet the legal definition of incest. So Yahtzee for you. And while I haven't heard of an arrangement like this working out over the long-term, BRAHS, I've also never heard of an arrangement like this. Some things you expect to work out don't, and some things you don't expect to work out do. Good luck, gang.
This week on the Lovecast, it's Dan Savage and RuPaul! Listen at savagelovecast.com.