BDSM FTW – WTF?
Perhaps Wikipedia, the ubiquitous source of all knowledge, puts it best when it describes BDSM as “a type of role play or lifestyle choice between two or more individuals who use their experiences of pain and power to create sexual tension, pleasure and release.”
The acronym puts six initials into four letters: bondage and discipline; dominance and submission; and finally, sadism and masochism.
For more information, visit www.tinyurl.com/UniterBDSM.
Winnipeg likes to get tied up. And flogged. And spanked. Winnipeg is a leading city in the culture of kink, with other Canadian and American cities looking to it for ways to expand their own kink scenes.
With The Ball celebrating its 15th year this Saturday, Oct. 23 at Ozzy’s and The Zoo (160 Osborne St.), it’s obvious that kink culture is moving more and more into the mainstream and even the vanilla lovers are looking for new flavours.
“The demand for kink items is growing,” said Rebecca of Lady Godiva Boutique.
While the shop’s most popular items are still the more functional ones, such as a girl’s best battery-powered friend, requests for kinkier items like floggers, bondage cuffs and collars have been increasing in recent years.
If the mere thought of getting tied up and spanked is giving you a partial (or the female equivalent), The Ball is the perfect place to start looking for information on kink culture.
The Ball is Canada’s longest running pansexual fetish event that promotes safe and consensual BDSM fun.
The Ball welcomes every kink and fetish group, including local groups The Prairie Dommes, Tortured Youth, Whipper Snappers and The Prime Timers, so newcomers can experience a variety of kinky flavours.
Dungeon Beast is the online moniker for the moderator on The Ball’s website, www.theball.ca. He is also the last remaining founder of the longstanding event.
The upcoming Ball will be the biggest Ozzy’s/Zoo event of the year, taking up both floors of the venue – – each with its own dungeon, of course.
Beast believes that the best thing about The Ball is that it gives people an outlet to express themselves in ways they wouldn’t usually be able to.
“We are the first contact they have in the community, so (people) come to The Ball and come up with whatever flavour they are interested in,” he said.
He adds that the need for outlets of alternative sexuality is ancient – people have always had dark and dirty sexual fantasies.
Richard Kuffman of Tortured Youth, a group for people 18 to 30 to explore alternate sexualities, said that people are turned on by BDSM for different reasons, but it often has a lot to do with the power exchange.
“But some people are just kinky,” he added, “(BDSM) can be like playing Lego with people.”
Beast said that even though kink culture is more mainstream and socially acceptable than ever before there are still some wild misconceptions about the culture.
“Its not just sex sex sex. There’s a zillion ways to do that. We also eat,” he said. “It’s not some big brothel. Don’t expect to see people fucking in heaps in the aisles.”
The popularization of kink culture owes a lot to media. The Internet especially makes information on BDSM so much more accessible that it naturally becomes more socially acceptable.
“I think the whole repression of ‘We’re not like that, those people are dangerous deviants,’ has been pulled out of the water by media,” said Beast.
“In Canada, having the Charter of Rights and Freedoms really helped and there have been long term effects of that. (Canadians) don’t have to try to be the all-American family. There are still states where owning a vibrator is illegal.”
The advantage of kink culture becoming more socially acceptable in mainstream culture essentially boils down to safety.
“Not so long ago kinky people, and gays, were actively harassed by the powers that be. The popularization means safety from hate crimes and government oppression.”
Although, the popularization comes with its drawbacks as well.
“Some people like to be on the fringes of society. There is a cultural dilution that’s happening. Traditionally leather culture was very structured but, with the advent of the Internet, the whole culture has changed at an incredibly fast speed. There’s no longer the sort of mentorship there once was,” said Beast.
“There’s an interesting dichotomy between the people who have been in the culture for 20 years and the newbies.”
Just like any culture, kink culture has its own set of social norms and codes of conduct, and the new members are the ones most likely to break those rules.
The Ball ensures a safe environment to “come out of the kinky closet” with dungeon monitors and other various safety measures taken for all attendees.
SSC (Safe, Sane and Consensual) is one of the acronyms used to describe the conduct between people during any type of BDSM act, but according to Beast, it’s the least accurate.
“SSC: Silly Sanctimonious Crap. These are the most common watch words of BDSM, whitewashing the lifestyle for the vanilla world,” he said.
Although all BDSM acts must be consensual, he says that being tied up and beaten isn’t always totally sane or safe, and SSC just makes BDSM sound less threatening to mainstream society.
“(The Ball) changes people’s lives. The elation they experience when they finally connect with people like themselves makes it worth it for me.”
For more information on The Ball visit www.theball.ca and check out the forum for questions. Tickets for can be purchased at any Love Nest location, Aphrodite’s Whisper, Lady Godiva Boutique and the Osborne Village Inn.
Published in Volume 65, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 21, 2010)