July/August 2003
According to Cléo
by Cléo Dubois




Hello! Sitting at my computer on the first morning of summer finishing my domsublifestyle contribution. It is going to be a hot and vibrant week-end!

Here in San Francisco, June is Pride month and the last week of the month is full of celebrations. It is all about honoring sexual diversity.

By the time you read this, 250,000 people will have attended the LGBT Pride parade in the heart of the City. Since BDSM interests you, do you consider yourself part of the sexual diversity crowd?

I certainly do and as a lifestyle subculture, we sure have come a long way.

I remember marching nearly 20 years ago in the then called, Gay Parade. Bisexuals, such as myself, were not official in the title of the march. It was the year the first leather contingent was marching down Market Street. At that time so many of my leather brothers were dying I had to be visible for them. I carried a sign that read "SM is safe sex. I remember how strangely the crowd acted in response. I could feel their quiet disapproval. I really felt like an outcast on display. I already knew that it was important to be visible and stand for my passion and belief that consensual SM was/is a valid path of erotic self-expression; one that is not to be ashamed of.

Gay Pride has become LGBT Pride and that sure is progress. Leather and fetish communities have sprouted all over and there is still so much work to do to educate others about our right to explore BDSM and body rituals.

So you are still reading? Okay, tell me: who are you out there in the kinky cyberspace? I have contributed since the beginning of the year and I am not aware of having received any feedback on my writing efforts or inquiries about my work. Perhaps you visited my websites or signed on my guestbook at http://www.cleodubois.com/guestbook.htm. If you haven't yet, please do so and tell me what you think and that you read Dom-sub lifestyle.

Since my last "submission", I have had a marvelous time playing and teaching in New Orleans. Yes, that city is in the South, but New Orleans is not a typical place. I had never been there and both the beauty of the city and the people touched my heart. The connection of sensuality and spirituality was very palpable in that old city.

From the local community group, NOBLE, 4 collared submissives offered themselves for me to take on SM journeys. I found delight in helping a couple in a committed relationship to "find their center again.

Here is what she wrote me later about SM energy play:

" ... i was completely focused, completely and
entirely in a place where only you, my Master and
myself existed and were surrounded by the most intense
physical, mental, and spiritual energy. Although i
don't really know how to describe it, the only way i
can think of is that it felt as though there was some
physical entity connecting me to you and me to him
even at the times when there was no physical contact.
...This experience for us, especially in light of the
difficult things going on in our lives at this
particular time, was incredible... an awakening of a
part of us that has lay dormant for some time."

The three women and one man who volunteered from the Louisiana group NOBLE all knew about energy exchange. The Dominants I included knew to witness and receive the beauty and the energy of their slaves with grace and an open heart. None of the bottoms were sponges or bottomless pits of stoicism. They showed their strength and vulnerability all at once. What a joy that trust and connection we experience in our "play" lives is! For me that charged energy exchange is where the juice, the turn on, the heat is. Far from ego driven roleplaying and loud voices! It was quite an experience for all of us.

Last month, I was honored to present (along with Sybil Holiday) a class on SM and spirituality for the Exiles, http://www.theexiles.org, a 150-women San Francisco group. Really I used a lot of temporary piercings as tiny and very specific points of focus on each woman volunteer. How I do love ritual SM! The hot energies that run wild through the multiple temporary piercings as the cords attached to those piercings are pulled and lifted, vibrate in ecstatic dance. So powerful! Live drummers helped us build the palpable energy and the intensity was felt by all.

Both of these teaching experiences confirmed that real BDSM players seek and value the connection of heart, SM sexuality and spirit.

This leads me to the current work of my Intensives. I have started a new and unique educational enterprise, my vision of many years. In spite of the fact that by now there are numerous "how to" and play classes offered in most urban communities, there are a number of us who feel there is still a vacuum; that what is lacking is a single, comprehensive course covering the entire BDSM continuum from play techniques to interpersonal and negotiation skills, especially an in-depth, intimate and empowering course offered by and for women, whether they be private players or professionals.

My long-time friend Sybil Holiday (aka M.Cybelle) and I have created such an intimate 8 students 4 day course and ran the first series last winter in San Francisco. It was a success and very satisfying work. Now we are ready to offer the second series of Erotic Dominance Intensives For Women in August and October of 2003. I just put up a brand new website just for the Intensives. Take a look.http://www.sm-arts.com The site is still under construction and will have more photos real soon.

Please tell your kinky friends and feel free to post the above anywhere you see fit in your community. As of the date of this posting, there are a couple of spots open for the right woman - sorry, no real novices will be accepted.

By the time these words are on the web I will have shared with Janus members, the second oldest SM educational group in the US, how I like to play with sensory deprivation sometimes. Really, it is all about journeying, exploring, going to our core, touching what makes us human: our fears, our grief, our dreams, our pleasures.

Speaking about pleasures, I was able to attend APP, the Professional Piercers' Conference, where people gave Fakir a standing ovation. There I found something that the younger pierced generation has in common with us "kinky folks": the need for and shameless embrace of learning through body rituals. Some of these boys and girls were so very decorated and had done so much SM - although they might not call it that. They do not identify as kinky - and perhaps eventually in some more enlightened times we humans will not need all these identification tags to be who we are. The thing I noticed is they do not have preconceived negative judgments on us leather/fetish folks.

In the meantime Leather Conferences are a marvelous way to gather a lot of information about real play as well as meet other folks in the scene. Fakir (http://www.bodyplay.com) and I will present Spirit + Flesh, a shamanic SM ritual workshop, at Thunder in The Mountains in Denver, Colorado. Thunder is one of my real favorite leather weekends because it is truly a diverse group of folks of mixed sexual orientations and we all learn from each other. As for the dungeon parties, they are fabulously hot in a true pansexual fashion (all-inclusive erotic diversity).

My closing thought for the day is: let us remember that the bottom is the one who enables the play. It seems to me that leading the journey while holding the sacred and sexy space for surrender to happen is a valid description of what Dominance is.

Hope your summer is happy!

© 2002 -Cléo Dubois - Visit her website at www.cleodubois.com