Writing

Why I don’t date students

In my career teaching movement arts for nearly fifteen years and professionally in an academic context for over half that time, I have always considered it standard practice to separate teaching relationships from sexual ones. From my perspective, when someone becomes my student and grants me a position of relative authority as their teacher, they are trusting that I am going to use that power, along with with my relevant knowledge and skills, to serve them and their learning process. They are not granting me consent to use my influence to attempt to establish another type of relationship with them

Read More »

What kind of rope should I buy?

As a rope educator, I often get the question of where to buy rope. In short, the answer is that it depends. Rope choice is very personal. I’ve used and felt a wide variety of ropes from different makers, and I’ve also spun and processed my own. However, I don’t like to make specific recommendations because one person might not like a rope that someone else loves. Here’s the general advice that I would give: You have a lot of options. Even for a single material like jute, there are probably hundreds of sources, including countless individual makers who source

Read More »

Communication and Consent

Not long ago, I was asked to present a class on negotiation and consent. I’ve used that title for classes in the past, but this time I insisted that the class be called communication and consent. It’s a relevant distinction. Negotiation has a legalistic connotation, as if one were agreeing to a binding contract. Unless your kink experience is limited to 50 Shades of Grey, you know that’s not how BDSM actually works. While the term can be useful to refer a situation where people have agreed on a mutual interest in play and are determining how to go about it, it’s only one part of

Read More »

Learning Rope Suspension

When I teach rope, I want to give people a solid grounding in the basics before moving them on to more advanced ways of tying. But most importantly, I want them to understand that rope does not have to be highly technical in order for it to be fun. I didn’t have this kind of foundation when I was learning Japanese rope, and I started doing suspensions too soon. Luckily, I had enough previous experience working with physical and energetic bodies, both in BDSM and elsewhere, to be able to figure most of it out on my own, but it’s not

Read More »

Rope, Photography, and Education

Recently, I woke up to learn that a great Japanese rope artist, Yukimura Haruki, had passed away. The news did not seem to be a surprise to those close to him, but it was nevertheless a shock to many. Mr. Yukimura’s influence on the rope world was palpable, yet hard to quantify. Several of his students have been writing about their experiences with him, and these writings have provided a wonderful glimpse of a man not as well known in the West. My exposure to Yukimura has come only indirectly, through what I have seen of his videos and through

Read More »

How to Be Safe

In the US, we have this ridiculous concept called “abstinence only” sex education. Imagine taking driver’s ed and being told that the only safe way to drive is not to drive. Instead, you will get six weeks of learning, in a boring classroom setting, how a car works mechanically, since that’s most important thing to know about driving. But we aren’t going to teach you anything about how to actually drive the car, because that would not be safe. Of course, it’s true that driving is unsafe. (Since I originally wrote this, several of my friends have had automobile accidents.

Read More »

Breakups

When I tell people that I have a policy of never breaking up with anyone, I get some strange reactions. I understand that if you are doing the whole cultural-default-standard-monogamy thing, the unwritten rules say that you can only “date” (read: maintain an ongoing sexual and emotional relationship with) one person at a time. If you want to date someone new, you first have to break up with the person you are currently dating. I think this is a profoundly unhealthy model. I don’t want to have to end one relationship just to start another. I don’t want to end relationships at

Read More »