On the Transvestite Express…


A lot of people worry about categories in the lifestyle:  “What’s really dominant or submissive and what’s fake?  I get asked that often.  “Is cross-dressing part of BDSM or a fetish?” 
Why is Rudi Giuliani in drag an example of cross-dressing, but not Hilary Clinton in her designer pants suits?  And just what about gender-bending and cross-dressing?  Are they part of power exchange play, or are they forms of kink all their own? They aren’t even strictly gay or heterosexual, so…?
Some people worry that if “feminizing” a man is a form of erotic humiliation, it implies that he must regard being a woman as a put-down.  Sexist.  But maybe he just likes the feel of those nylon pantyhose. 

They worry too much. It’s obvious that it’s all in our heads anyway. Sometimes all these worries – often laden with embarrassment – lead to keeping corrosive secrets in a relationship.
It’s generally better to share – not in a do-me, do-me vein, but just to lay it out there for your loved one without judgment or expectations.
It took him a little time, but one of the power players I interviewed did just that and was pleasantly surprised. He didn’t get necessarily what he wanted, but something better… 
The man, Jamie, ironically was already well into a 24/7 total power exchange (TPE) relationship with his dominant partner, Beth, but he’d been shy at first about telling her that he also liked to cross-dress occasionally and had a female wardrobe to prove it.  
It was risky telling her then. She might have balked, or been peeved he’d not told her right away, or…who knows?  “It wasn’t a fetish thing, he said. “And it never felt part of D/s to me either.” 
But watch was you wish for, it soon because just that as Beth took his spike heels and ran with them. 
Now she says, laughing, during our interview, “I love when he dresses up and becomes ‘my girl.’ 
She turns to him. “You act like a different person. You seem less inhibited, less of this having-to-prove-you’re-macho or having to prove something.”
 Playing together, the couple gave Jamie’s cross-dressing new dimensions and turned it into a rich experience for them both. “I know it never would have progressed as elaborately as it has if it weren’t for Beth,” Jamie says.
Once she has him all dressed up to her colorful, tasteful standards, Beth says, “I really dig going out with him dressed up.” That’s something he was too self-conscious. “There’s something about it that’s a big kick for me.”
“It shows your artistic talents,” Jamie says.
Beth adds:  “I turn you into the end result of my creative force, and I like the way you look,” she says. 
“Plus, I really love fine clothes…I love to shop. I like buying shoes. I guess all women do.  And I like that I can look at Jamie in the things I bought.” (She laughs.) “I can’t help it. I like it a lot.”
She adds: “You dress up in very high heels and a tight corset and you are quite restricted.  I like that I can put you in a corset and it feels like you are in bondage.” 
They both are quiet for a few moments. She adds softly, “You’re in a room like that and I feel like you’re the only one, it makes me start to cry…”
Beth stops, dabs her eyes and recovers with a smile.  “So, I enjoy that.” 
Presto change-o! Forget labels and categories.
With the wave of a dominant’s magic whip and lots of love, cross-dressing turns into very erotic power exchange, and a solitary kink becomes a delicious dinner for two to enjoy.

Sun, February 3, 2008 - 2:15 PM

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…And Now, for Something Completely Different

In my previous blog, I pointed out how the roles we tend to enjoy in sexual fantasies and erotic power play don’t correlate necessarily with personality types, style or roles in everyday life. Neither do they appear to be compensations. The busy, high pressure professional, doesn’t necessarily yearn to submit to a dominant sexual partner. Not all comedians want to play Hamlet, either.
With erotic power exchange and role-playing, however, we do get to release powerful feelings, and fly to places beyond the ordinary realities framed by ego, custom and society. When erotic power play works at its best, we leave cares and customs behind in order to be present totally to the rush and release of sexual energy. Seen in this light, erotic bondage and domination games are neither markers nor compensations – just what are, creative fantasies to get us out of limited selves – to feel intensely, yet staying safe. It’s theater I the best sense, but with a partner who goes there with you.
For example, take a look at two couples I interviewed, very different from each other, but who arrive at the same destination.
Beth and her partner, a successful, divorced, real estate broker named Jason, were among those couples I interviewed who enjoyed what’s called “Total Power Exchange” in their intimate life. Beth, in this case, being the dominant partner, and her male partner playing her consensual, eager “slave” during three, happy years they’d been living together in Southern California.
If any of these partners were typecast, one would have assumed just the opposite roles all around. Laura, the wife of another couple, in fact, said some of her friends would find her passion for consensual submissive sex demeaning to her as a woman. Laura, however, doesn’t see any contradiction between her being a liberated, assertive woman and a submissive to her husband in their erotic power exchange .
“I’m in charge at my office all day and lead a stressful life. I love the feeling of giving up control to a strong, dominant man. But only to one I trust deeply as I do David. I could never play that way with a man who tried to take advantage of this to show disrespect or anything but the most loving attitude,” she explained, adding that after that first encounters, they had communicated clearly on limits and rules, what worked and what didn’t for both of them. “I feel totally safe with David. He thrills me the way he takes charge -- and he knows all my buttons. The fantasy gets very real for both of us, but I can trust that I will never be harmed physically or emotionally. That way I can let to it completely.” Beth and Jason experienced the same dynamics, but with roles reversed…
Many dominants and submissive couples like to play out their favorite fantasies, which usually are the same ones with variations. They find it important to discuss the scene in advance to set down ground rules, mood, timing and various nuances that they learn each partner especially liked last time out.
They agree on limits – which the dominant may choose to push, but never violate. None of this preparation, however, stifles their scenes, it only heightens them by defining and framing the psychological, physical and emotion playing field. Master (Mistress/Madame) – slave fantasies are extremely popular, as are other such coercive scenes – prison, abduction and other mock-coercive scenarios. Of course, some people like bondage and “punishment’ play just for the sensations. But virtually all those I interviewed over the years acknowledged the rush they got from some degree of psychological power exchange. The brain, as they say, remains our most important sexual organ…
I asked Laura and David if they played with the roles of master and slave literally, beyond the bedroom, as some couples like to do…There were rituals they enjoyed, they told me – as do many erotic-power-playing couples. (More about those in later blogs.) They talked openly about limits and desires.
Like any play or film, erotic power play works best when done with energy, commitment and authenticity, even for unskilled beginners, they said. Trust is the key, Beth observed. It allows us to open up and be truly intimate. “Consensual BDSM brings with it an openness, honesty and sincerity very rare in the vanilla world. Everything is up front. I love it. There are no games, she added with a twinkle, “other than the ones we agree upon, that bring such pleasure to our lives.”
Well, I'm off to Germany next week, back for New years. Wishing you all a good holiday season!
Tue, December 11, 2007 - 6:55 PM


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What Does Your Fantasy Say about You



People who have little or no experience with erotic power exchange often ask me if people like to play the same roles in bed as they do in life.


They believe that dominants – whether male or female – must have aggressive personalities and that those who like play submissive roles must incline to be meek, even wimpy, in everyday life.  They also believe that a person is either a “master” or a “slave” and never the twain shall met.

Of course I have to tell them, gently, that nothing could be further from the truth.

In my many years interviewing thousands of people who enjoy power exchange in their relationship, I’ve found that sexual fantasy role preferences have no correlation to personality type or even sexual orientation.  Gay and lesbian couples enjoy the same practices as straight ones, and partners, and vice versa. The same goes for straight couples that enjoy power play.


The dominant/submissive fantasies and roles people like to take with each other in bed are interchangeable between the sexes. 


Going against traditional gender role, women often enjoy being dominant in a relationship, and men being submissive. That doesn’t mean the woman is “masculine” or the man “feminine.”  Regardless of their personality types, the roles could be just the opposite, or be switched according to mood. 


Many erotic power players, I found, experimented with top and bottom roles before settling into one or the other, or discovering they simple like to go on switching with partners.


Most “tops” I found, of either gender, had at least some experience in submission to “learn the ropes” as it were. Because they have been conditioned culturally over many centuries to do so, most women, moreover, tend begin by playing submissive roles to their men. 


Many women discover they have dominant sexual natures later in life. “I have spent most of my life being the doting, agreeable, self-sacrificing, sitting-and-her-husband’s-feet kind of woman,” one lively, middle-aged, middle-class, widow, told me. “Now I want that kind of “wife” for myself. I love a man strong enough to surrender to me willingly in the bedroom and in the rest of our relationship,” she confided with a smile. 


Another woman who enjoys having her husband tie her up and dominate her sexually, had to get over feeling “politically incorrect” when it came to her strong feminist values in real life and her executive position where she worked. “It’s liberating for me to let my submissive side come out in the safe, strong and loving hands of my husband,” she says. 


“She is in every way, a strong, formidable woman and I respect that,” said her handsome, artist husband who has become skilled at playing the dominant role in their mutually consensual, private scenes. 


And so it goes. Are you self-conscious about your own fantasies?  Remember, they don’t have to be consistent with who you are in live – just be a part of that life. 

Fri, November 30, 2007 - 5:24 PM


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What's Your Archetype? Sex With Knights and Damsels, Gods and Goddesses, Masters and Slaves

posted on Thu, May 31, 2007 - 10:57 AM


I was working on redesigning my website, working on the "archetype" page
A very good friend who is pretty new to powerplay called me. We discussed archetypes. I think that when people consciously play with power, archetypes surface, and that this is very powerful, larger than life. We may feel this surge of energy flowing through us. "Wow! What's going on?!?" It may be connecting with archetypal energy. One needs to treat this energy with great care and respect! Otherwise you may burn out or crash into a sad and empty feeling.

Having had extensive training at the C.G. Jung Institute (pre-doctoral) in San Francisco gave me much opportunity to study this subject. What archetypes have you experienced lately, either in dreams or in waking life? How do they connect to your powerplay activities or fantasies?


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