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What If?

December 31st 2013 started like most; we got dressed, had a lovely dinner, and got into the car to drive to the party we’d been invited to.  As we turned onto Mission Street and crossed Duboce, we were surprised by a huge crowd…lined up around the entire square block of 14th Street!. People dressed to the nines waiting to get into the Armory, home to the megabiz,

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With Fakir at the Leather Archives, Chicago

Men in faux leopard jackets and spatz escorted women in goth/sm/steampunk/cosplay/burner outfits, leather and pvc.  Wow.  I cannot imagine how much the tickets cost: parking across the street was 50 bucks!  Think about it, my fellow “old-timers,” think what it would have been like to dabble in fetish, sensation play and D/s without shame or fear!

Like body piercing,  kink is in. Once upon a time I was the only woman in the USA with a  labret.  I was dating Fakir. He asked if I would let him pierce me just below my lip.  I agreed.  Appropriate jewelry for that facial adornment had to be created for me.  I was proud of it, but people did not understand.  They pointed at my face and asked, “Did it hurt? Why did you do that?”  Now facial piercings, discreet or oversized, are as common as SM toys. Curious about piercing history?   Take a look!

Not only are there people exploring their kinky desires at all levels, from Stand and Model to full immersion, there are a lot more of them!  We as elders, first generation settlers in BDSM culture, have made mistakes on our leather journeys.  We shared, learned and established physical and psychological safety guidelines for those joining our erotic lifestyles.  It is my work to continue sharing what I learned …so history doesn’t have to repeat itself.

Let me explain: Near the beginning of my BDSM life I had a lover who age regressed before my very eyes as I dominated him with gusto.  He hid under the bed, terrified and acting like a 5 year old.  Unaware how age regression can occur in the moment and old wounds reopen without warning, I did not know what to do.

I also vividly recall when a lovely Daddy girl scene turned into terror when Daddy stepped over his “girl’s”  hard limit he had forgotten. She lost it, sobbing uncontrollably.  Clueless and upset at her distress, he froze.  I had to step in to make her feel safe again.

Not to mention that I am ever saddened by the heart breaking de-collaring that goes on between would-be Masters and their “slaves” after just a few months, when with caution and guidance, these relationships could have had a chance to flourish.

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See my labret?

A few months ago I attended a roundtable discussion called “Is Leather dead?” Led by Community elders Guy Baldwin, Race Bannon, Patrick Mulcahey and others, the place was packed full of community folks.  Some questioned the value of classes on skills and ethics that seem to abound in our community.  Others figured you can get everything you need reading books or on BDSM websites.

I cannot stress how important it is to receive physical guidance as new skills are learned.  Really, it is all about energy, feeling it, crafting it, building it together.  Touch, presence, focus…whether it’s yoga or BDSM, there is great value in being witnessed by someone who can instruct and encourage you, whether or not you ever get to go to an amazing play party at kink dot com.

I wish 2014 brings more folks to classes, leather conferences and to professional lifestyle mentors like me.  We play deep, we play real, we play with heart and pain and pleasure.  Surprises will happen…  even when we play “Lite.”  Hiking the BDSM trail, better be prepared if you want to make it to the top, either topping or bottoming.

In kink with heart,

Cléo Dubois

There’s room for a couple more women who want to spend 3 action packed days exploring the world of professional Dominance.  Click here to apply for the Dominatrix Training Intensive in SF January 24-26.  Visit for private, confidential appointments and guided play.

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