Cautionary Tales: the dark side of mastery and how to avoid it
Starting out a new relationship (whether it’s your first or tenth) is always exciting. It’s a chance to start anew (which is exciting), a chance to ‘get it right’ (always exciting), and a major chance for it to blow up in your face in new and exciting (by definition) ways!
This class hopes to both 1) alert the newcomer to very common pitfalls in forming new power-exchange relationships, and to 2) remind the seasoned veterans of paths we ~should~ know by heart but far too often forget in the whirlwind of attempting to manage a complex individual (whether new or established) under your care.
Those just starting out on the path of mastery or dominance are invited to attend, and take this opportunity to save yourself decades of heart/headache in your future.
Those who have been in the trenches for years are also encouraged to attend, as sharing your own particular brand of mistakes can help others far more than sharing our successes… as well as letting us know that we’re not alone in our suffering.
If you are like every other human on the planet, you often need to make the same mistake four or five (or twenty!) times just to make sure you’ve done it right. By discussing and evaluating these mistakes, we can cut this process short and more quickly get to what we were wanting to do in the first place: “maintain and sustain” a stable and powerful D/s relationship!
The Path of Mastery, part I: “Where’s My @#$% Map?”
There are many possible activities that one can associate with Mastery (giving orders, receiving service, flogging, bondage, etc.), but very little formal discussion is given towards “what does a Master ~do~?”
An individual doesn’t need to like ropes, or be sadistic, or even be dominant to be a Master, although those skill-sets are certainly in the toy box of many in our community. The kink component of our lifestyle adds fun to our role, but can (and often does) obscure and overwhelm a subtle but critical aspect of a Master’s life.
In this first installment of The Path of Mastery, we will discuss the nuances of Mastering one’s O/own relationship:
The Path of Mastery is difficult. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Most of us have heard that we need not follow anyone else’s ‘rulebook’, but that doesn’t mean that a rulebook is unnecessary. Revising one’s own ‘rulebook’ (or making one from scratch) is often a daunting task, rife with trial and error… so how can a D/s relationship (whether new or established, simple or complex) efficiently navigate this process?
No two people fit into the same mold. Mastery comes in all shapes, colors, and flavors. One does not need to fit the “Dominant stereotype” to be a Master, so why does this stereotype exist? Is it useful? How can our individual styles best be put to use?
As telepathy and mind control haven’t quite been perfected, conflict is an inevitable part of relationships. In a D/s dynamic, this can be particularly damaging. How can one minimize the chance for conflict? When it does (and it will) occur, how can we minimize the damage?
This installment of the Path of Mastery will have some information tailor-made for the dominant member(s) of a relationship, but all are welcome! Relationships require active participation from all parties to be healthy — power-exchange dynamics arguably more so!
Although the Path of Mastery, Part 1 is designed to be a stand-alone presentation, ideas formulated here will be continued in the second installment “The Path of Mastery, part 2: “What the <censored> is Wrong with Me?”
The Path of Mastery, part II: “What the @#$% is Wrong with Me?”
Many of us that have been involved in a Power-exchange relationship (or any endeavor for that matter) are sadly too cognizant of failure. Why do we fail? How can we stop it?
This second installment of The Path of Mastery is designed to be a stand-alone presentation and does not require attendees to have attended “The Path of Mastery, Part 1: “Where the <censored> is my Map?”. Whereas Part 1 dealt with issues between individuals, Part 2 delves inwardly towards battles with oneself. We will not walk the path of sadomasochism, or restraint, or even the road of dominance. Leave your talk of toys, sex, and service at the door, and come prepared to push the limits or our own inner path to Mastery.
This seminar is for individuals of all power-exchange orientations (whichever side of the ‘/’ you’re on) and is comprised of Advanced Rules for Life. Attend at your own risk.
Negotiation from the Topside: Negotiation 101 for New Tops
People talk about negotiation all the time. Checklists, questions, let me feel this, can I touch you there, and so on. It’s something that is pounded into the heads of newbies, or at least it should be. There is a lot of information on the internet these days providing information for new Bottoms on how to negotiate play with Tops, but very little information for Tops on how to negotiate play with Bottoms, especially a new Top with a new Bottom. Because so much of what we do is done behind closed doors, it’s easy for a new Top to unknowingly cross a boundary that they might not even have known existed.
Mistakes will be made and it’s how you respond to those mistakes that matter. Join ATXGentleDom in a class designed to give the new Top a starting point for learning the art of negotiation. There will be demonstrations and breakouts. Bottoms are welcome and encouraged to attend.
Knife Play: Stay Sharp and You’ll Have Fun
Knife play can straddle the line between exciting and terrifying. For some, knives are a wonderful sensation. For others, they can be a terrifying component of fear play. Join ATXGentleDom as he discusses and demonstrates knife play from both perspectives and reviews safety procedures just in case things go wrong.
Note for the squeamish: there will be no blood drawn for this class. Unless the bottom wiggles too much
Dexter’s Laboratory: Creating your own blood toys and building a Dexter room
You’ve seen those pictures on the internet: cuttings, needles, hook suspensions, and any other assortment of bloody play. While each of those types of play is different in how they work, they all have one thing in common: blood.
Join ATXGentleDom as he discusses the safety aspects of blood play including bloodborne pathogens and personal protection methods. Next up is how to build your very own Dexter room, followed by how to construct your very own blood play toys out of easy to find materials. There will be some fun handouts to take home with you!
Note for the squeamish: This class will include a demonstration that will draw blood
Sailing the Stormy “C’s” of our Community:
Things seem to be rolling along just fine. Our days are full, our life is rich and our play runneth over. If it were not for those few challenges, at work, at home, at the group meeting, we would be perfectly happy. And we just can’t figure out why people don’t return our calls or perfectly reasonable e-mails. What is it with the guy at the meeting that just can’t “let it go”? And why is it that when we get concerned about something, people think we are angry?
Let’s spend a little time and talk about what is often our biggest road block in the Community-US. How we are handling really important parts of our life with a lot more opportunity than expertise.
We’re going to touch on a few words we learned in grade school like “Manners” and “Apology”. And we’ll throw in some corporate logic like “Feedback” and “ownership”. And we’ll delve into some Leather terms like: “Accountability” and “Integrity” and “Diversity”.
Are you tired of fixing the “other guy” at the group meeting, doing all the work, and getting damn little accomplished in the Community? Have you had it up to “here” with the politics? Want to get some tips on getting in touch with someone that can make some changes? This is the class for you.
VK & AJ Renard
Power Exchange with an Experience Differential
Many Power Exchange relationships involve partners with differing levels of experience and involvement with the lifestyle. One partner may have a tremendous amount of play experience but is new to a PE dynamic, or one partner may be introducing the other to the lifestyle in general. How do you navigate these disparities while keeping the Power Exchange intact? If the s-type is the one with the larger knowledge base, how do you maintain the dynamic, if the D-type has more experience how do you keep expectations realistic and not take advantage or overwhelm the s-type? We will explore how to navigate these potential issues, how to discuss them, and ways to work around and avoid them.
The Violet Wand is one of the most versatile toys available- this workshop gives an overview of the toy itself, the technology behind it, and demonstrates the use of a Violet Wand in the hands of an experienced practitioner, from gentle tickles to painful jolts, and everything in between! Attendees have the opportunity to feel the Wand and different electrodes, ask questions and see advanced techniques.
Playing in the Mind
Many BDSM scenes are heightened with the addition of a psychological component. However, venturing into that territory is not without risks. This class will focus on scenes with major psychological elements (mindfucks, interrogation, fear play, pushing limits and playing with triggers), negotiating and preparing, crafting the scenes, debriefing, and how to react if something goes wrong. Taught by two advanced edge players, both with backgrounds in human behavior, this is an advanced class for RACK players who want to incorporate more psychological play into their scenes.
WrathDaddy and WrathsBaby
Anathematism: (Learning to Love What You Hate)
Whether it’s a toy, a relationship dynamic, or even a word, there are some things we have formed negative associations toward that hamper our enjoyment and sexual fulfillment, and limit our growth and happiness. Here you will learn how to form new associations and break down barriers that keep you from fully enjoying the kinks and fetishes you want to love. We will address overcoming fear and anxiety, and even revulsion, and avoiding feelings of guilt and remorse. Is there a toy you really want to learn to love but can’t seem to get past some hangup over it? Bring it along! This class is not about breaking hard limits, working through childhood trauma, or removing your triggers. It is about breaking your own taboos and learning to enjoy the things you really, really wish you could, but are having a hard time getting into because of negative stereotypes, stigmas, or associations.
Pets & Handlers Discussing the Basics of Pet Play – Panel Hosted by Zeebra D’Angelo (101)
This will be a panel style discussion that will educate on Pet Play. Whether you have been in to Pet Play or are just now hearing about it we welcome you to interact with the panel and ask questions that you may have always wondered. We will discuss a brief history of Human Pets and what it has become today. You will hear from a variety of pets as each style of pet has a different meaning and purpose as how it relates to the human side. We will have a Pony, Puppies, Cats, Kittens, Furries and of course the dominant side being represented by Handlers.
Joining Zeebra (Ponly Play – Male) will be Spring Pony (Pony Play – Female), Pup Atlas (Puppy Play – Male), Shade (Kitten Play – Female), Kitty (Cat – Not Kitten), Derek (Furry / Furry Creator Artist), Autumn Rain (Trainer / Handler / Owner).
Poly 101 – Poly Dynamics, Relationships and Poly Reality by Laminae (101)
What the heck is Polyamory anyway? This discussion-driven class opens up the floor for conversation around Polyamory, poly relationships, and the various complexities of being poly. During this class you will learn about a wide variety of poly dynamics, ranging from open poly to poly fidelity. This class is for everyone- monogamous, unsure, single, poly families, etc! You will come away from this discussion with a good working knowledge of polyamory.
Power Exchange and TNG: Bridging Both Worlds by Laminae (201)
TNG, or The New Generation, is a community within the greater community that focuses on the under-35’s. Many people think that Power Exchange simply isn’t able to work for those in that age range due to a number of different factors. This simply isn’t true- Power Exchange is do-able for everyone, regardless of age or role. This class seeks to offer real-world solutions for many problems those in the TNG age range may occur while exploring Power Exchange. Together we will bridge the gap between TNG and Power Exchange, so that you can use power exchange in a beneficial way.
Just and Object: The Fine Points of Objectification by Laminae (301)
From Table to Napkin, this class covers the full Ikea catalog of various objects you can have your submissive become! No assembly required- just a bit of creativity. This class will provide numerous positions, objects, and ways to use your human-object in everyday life. This class includes a demonstration of Nyotaimori. Often translated as “female body arrangement”, this is the practice of eating sushi (or any other food) off a naked body.
Erotic Shaving and Shower / Bath Service by Sir Michael (101)
The service of shaving should be viewed through the prism of finer service. For when time permits it shouldn’t be just a necessary chore but a wonderful experience. We will cover a number of topics. how to use a shaving brush. The types of soap. How you handle the razor. We will be using a safety razor but we’ll discuss the straight edge, aka the cut-throat razor that fascinates most. The types of brushes, and other items.
How exotic, erotic or sensual would be in the eyes of the beholder. On the bath/ shower how to create an elegant experience for both to enjoy. How to set up the mood, what things to do and not to do. Create elegance and service with style for both to enjoy.
Rough Sex and Take-Downs by Lord Ox of ATXQ (101)
Are you turned on by the thought of being overpowered? Do you want to be pinned beneath the warm weight of your conqueror? Having been put in your place, do you become grateful to have a place where you belong? To be mated by a top strong enough to keep you there? Does primal physical force enhance your sexual arousal? Such scenes can be very intense! It is important to educate oneself, so they can be performed in relative safety.
Find out how to enact erotic fantasy scenes such as these. Learn about the psychology, how to find (or persuade) a partner, negotiating and planning, safety precautions, aftercare, and special concerns for survivors of sexual trauma.
Bondage without Rope / eStim on a Budget by Lord Ox of ATXQ (201)
No erotic macramé here! More functional than artistic, we will demonstrate bondage for sex in a manner that is quick and simple to deploy. Considerations will include sustainability over scene of lengthy duration, discreet portability, one–handed deployment during resistance play, and improvisation with materials on hand.
Capable of delivering both pain and pleasure, electrical play can not only compel orgasms, and cram many of them into a short period of time. However, even the least expensive power boxes can costs hundreds of dollars…and that’s even before any toys are connected to them. Having already tied our bottom up from the first part of this class, we will proceed to demonstrate the means to achieve stunning (pun intended) results for an affordable price. Our standing record is 37 orgasms in 45 minutes. Let us show you how.
Feel free to attend either or both sessions within this split timeslot.
Spanking and Spanko Etiquette by Eric (101)
We will cover the basics, including anatomy and physiology of why and how spanking works, safety, techniques, and the use of various tools, including hands, paddles, and pervertables. You will probably get more from the class if you bring a bottom to practice with.
The Ins and Outs of Anal Play by Eric (201)
We will cover anatomy and physiology, safety, hygiene, and as a variety of tools and techniques for anal play. The class focuses on helping the bottom to learn to enjoy anal stimulation and penetration, and techniques that Tops and bottoms can use to improve both the experience and their capacity.
Overcoming Anxiety about Social Anxiety by undergroundsea (101)
Are you shy or have social anxiety? Do you want to get more out of BDSM events and your local community? Have you had a difficult or awkward moment and want to bounce ideas about how to deal with a similar situation in future? Take away a list of ideas that have helped the instructor and other attendees succeed in this goal.
3 Languages of D/s (Maintaining a Thriving D/s Relationship by undergroundsea (201)
Just as there are different ways people express and receive love, there are different ways people express and receive dominance and submission! Just as knowing your partner’s love languages are important for them to feel loved, knowing your partner’s D/s languages are important for what makes the feel their respective headspace. Learn the different D/s languages, and how to uncover which matter most to you and your partner. This concept of D/s languages is helpful for compatibility and for how to keep alive the D/s dynamic; thus, it will be helpful to those new to D/s, and those in existing D/s relationships.
If time allows, we also discuss what creates a power imbalance in social relationships, and how the organic power imbalance has potential to undermine the D/s dynamic in a relationship.
Dominants and submissives who wish to know the different ways D/s can be expressed so they can identify their key modes.
Dominants and submissives who wish to understand the importance of these languages in maintaining a thriving D/s relationship.
Dominants who wish to understand how the organic power can undermine the D/s dynamic.
Understand, Boost Service Motivations by undergroundsea (301)
Are you a dominant who is uncomfortable to receive service, or cannot fathom why someone would want to clean your house? Are you a dominant who took on a service submissive and would like to understand what fulfills the submissive so as to have the service relationship last? Are you a service submissive who has felt unfulfilled and had difficulty conveying what is important to you in service relationships?
Learn to identify what makes for compatibility in service. Walk away with a model with 9 motivation types for service submissives. Learn what questions to ask to understand what gets your partner hot about service, and how to feed their motivation.
Dominants who wish to understand service submissives and what motivates them.
Service submissives who wish to better understand self, and learn how to communicate needs to a dominant.
Taking Whips to The Next Level by Ms_Cenna (301)
Single-tailed whips – for some a turn on, for some a total “oh hell no”! Most everyone has seen a whip scene in a dungeon; the bottom most likely attached to a cross or whipping post, while the person wielding the whip is behind said bottom doing her/his thing on his/her back and butt. While that is certainly plenty intense and quite satisfying and fulfilling for some, there is another level of whip play, something more primal, less “safe”, more demanding of top and bottom. Come join us as we demonstrate another type of whip play, taking it up a notch from the usual.
This is not a beginner class by any stretch of the imagination; we will not spend any time on the basics of whip play. There is no need to bring whips, this will be a demo class.
Let’s Play With Blood!!! by Ms_Cenna (301)
Blood is our life; without it we die. Playing with someone’s else’s blood can be deeply spiritual, or very primal, or the most intimate experience you will ever had. There is no doubt that the amount of trust required to let someone bleed you is tremendous, and that the gift given (blood) is the most precious thing we have to offer.
There are many different ways to produce blood during play, and many different implements other than scalpels to use. In this demo, I will show some of the tools you can use, how to use them, and offer some suggestions on what to do with all of that blood! This is not a beginner class, nor is it for the faint of heart. If you choose to attend, you will see blood – and a lot of it. This demo is not going to teach you the basics of blood play, it will rather show you how to take your existing basic skills to the next level.
Erotic Handjobs by PositiveIQ (101)
Have you ever had a handjob that can last 2 hours? PositiveIQ will talk about handjobs in the context of erotic anatomy. She believes Handjobs are a lost art, for both men and women. She will cover safety, what you can use and how best to use it. And (for the sadists) how to either ruin the climax or enhance your partner’s orgasms. Demo bottoms welcome
How to Engage in Prostate Play by PositiveIQ (201)
Prostate play can be amazing, either on its own or in tandem with other stimulation. Men can experience multiple orgasms, extended orgasms, orgasms without erections, and prostate “milking,” among other things. How is this mysterious art accomplished? Most of PositiveIQ’s presentation will be focused on the practicalities of prostate play and the many ways to take advantage of this sensitive, intimate and vulnerable part of a man’s anatomy. Safety, equipment, toys, techniques, and feedback are all covered. Plus a demo if there is time.
Sexual violence is a major public health concern, human rights and social justice issue, both across the United States as a whole and especially here in Texas. According to a September 2015 report by the UT News, “results indicate that 32 percent of all Texans, or 6.3 million of adult Texans, have experienced some form of sexual assault during their lives… The survey also found that 2 in 5 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of sexual assault.”
Texas has a major LGBTQ and alternative lifestyle (AL) community, and sexual assault and violence in those communities often go unreported or unaddressed due to such things as public perception, anonymity concerns, and lack of understanding about what constitutes sexual assault among those groups. While there may be limited resources in Texas for people in the LGBTQ and AL communities to assist with such issues as sexual assault and sexual violence, there are resources in Austin, Houston, Dallas and surrounding areas that are working to make a difference and provide access to important resources.
This class provides both education on Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence, along with resources and support for those in the GLBTQ/AL community. Incidents of sexual assault and sexual violence continue to escalate across Texas. We need everyone’s help to end it. Prevention starts with Education. Join us for this important class.
Intro to Edgeplay: Walking the Line by Lady A (201)
When do you know its time to go to the next level with your play? Are you ready to move beyond floggers and paddles? This class is designed to provide an overview of what Edgeplay is, and discuss how Edgeplay can be unique to each person. Additionally, this class gives an overview of several different types of Edgeplay, explains the excitement potential and risk potential, how to discuss edgeplay with your partner, and tips and techniques as you delve into this deeper rabbit hole.
Dollification Workshop: A Whole New Experience With Your Toys by Lady A and VintageKinkyDoll (301)
Dollification is the process of evolving, mentally and physically, into a doll-like state, in a sense to become a “living doll”. Whether one is the Maker (or Owner or Creator), or the Doll itself, this form of play is an intense power exchange. How the Maker and the doll interact and express their dynamic may be as unique as the individuals involved in the scene. Mental traits of a doll may include, but are not limited to, the enjoyment of objectification, the underlying desire to be transformed, and/or the desire to achieve, improve and please the Maker.
Dollificaiton is typically expressed in different forms of play. Whether it is Marionetting, Porcelain doll or Rubber doll – all forms of dollification require a great deal of communication, but unspoken. How does one create the setup necessary for this type of scene. What does this form of play require? How do you get into the headspace? How do you use this play? Pleasure, punishment or both? Is this play sexual or non-sexual?
A brief overview is provided, along with a demonstration of marionetting, and a practical hands-on exploration for those willing and ready to learn.