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Coffee and Kink

wicked grounds logoThere I was, in Wicked Grounds, San Francisco’s wonderful community kinky coffee shop holding my cappuccino. I had 30 minutes before I was due at Fakir’s Piercing School less than a block away.

Crowded with kinksters, only one table had an open chair.  A young couple were already sitting there. I asked if I could take the empty seat.  “Of course,” they said.

It wasn’t long before I realized they were negotiating their first play scene together. It went something like this:

“Floggers?” said the young man. Sure,” she answered.  “Light, heavy, stingy, thuddy? Cow, deer, bison? How long do you like to be flogged?”  

She stated her preferences, and then he added, “if I want to press my body against yours once we are done, is that ok?  How about kissing your neck?  I want to make sure I do it right,” he assured her.  “And your nipples, can I touch them, pinch them, use nipple clamps? Oh, what kind of nipples clamps do you like?”  

wicked grounds for blog

Our kinky cafe and boutique

I wondered what they expected from their experience? I’d love to know how their scene will turn out.  Will they focus on each other, gazing into each other eyes, breathing slowly, looking for that connection that is so simply intimate?  Will they develop trust?  Will they feel the energy all that flogging will arouse?  What will they do with it?

I noticed a little sign at the entrance of the back room. It said Kinky Coders.  Ok, I thought, these two probably came out of that meeting. Geeks, nerds, coders, programmers have added new dimensions to the world of kink, from virtual reality machines to designer music!  Negotiating a scene, though, is not at all like writing code; code always responds the same way.  Unfortunately, they could not agree on a safeword; as they headed back to the back room, “just say stop” was the last I heard.

At least they were going for consent, the foundation of all BDSM play.

Cleo Truth

On Negotiations

I wanted to tell her it isn’t stop or go, on or off, binary and two dimensional!  Safewords are like traffic lights, yellow means “slow down, proceed with caution,” and red means “stop.”  Should I choose to bring more intensity to an energetic exchange, safewords come in very handy.  “I do not hear your safeword” told to a submissive, followed by “ok! I am going to give you more!” is a way of checking in I highly recommend!

When I first negotiate play, I ask questions like, “what are your fantasies about,” “what turns you on” and “what embarrasses you and is it okay?” And if I don’t understand, I ask “what  do you mean by that?”  Topping or bottoming, I state what I want out of every scene I do.  and yes, I do bottom sometimes!!

cleo flogging

Body language that says, “yes, please!”

In playtime, negotiation is ongoing: body language indeed is a language.  I find simple observation to be a powerful tool.  I let my intuition guide my next move from what I see and how I feel.

Never forget, we’re playing with that which raises our heat, our passion, our sexual energy!  Feel the burn! (tee hee!)  Enjoy it!

As I left Wicked Grounds Sunday afternoon, I recognized that, as important as verbal negotiation is the art of reading body language which deepens with practice, whether you are flogging or piercing!  And that is one reason I love my work.

In kink with heart, and leather pride,

Cléo Dubois

My next Erotic Dominance Intensive is for Men interested in immersing themselves in conscious and connected kinky play May 14-15 at the SF Citadel.  All the details are on  For private consultations, guided play and rituals, visit 



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