BRIDGING THE KINK AT THE ANNUAL SEX CONVENTION IN DOWNTON SAN FRANCISCO.
It was clear this was no ordinary party when I saw naked girls tied to scaffoldings in Shibari, Japanese bondage rope. Unlike the other parties, there was no alcohol or upbeat music, but there was definitely forbidden action going on. Yes, this was a sex party! The popular annual kink convention, which drew about 1000 people, has very strict confidentiality. For the purpose of this article, the adult event will be referred to as Hidden Dungeon.
San Francisco, an interesting pocket of California, has its own world of the kink and definitely part of the 5% of the USA population that sexually deviant, according to a Kinsey Institute report. Sexually deviant fetishists tend to go beyond experimental, even by the open-minded standard. The Bay Area is often seen as the center of kinky life in the United States; it is the home of the Folsom Street Fair, the world’s largest leather event and the famous BDSM porn studio Kink.com. When it comes to an alternative lifestyle, San Francisco is always at the top.
Hidden Dungeon is popular among the self-proclaimed “kinksters”, renowned for its queer party and its brazen flouting of over the top sexuality. Created in 2003, this convention has become the home of top-notch play spaces and mindboggling events that provide a safe, non-judgmental environment where fantasy becomes reality. Hidden Dungeon once again has proven that this city knows how to get down and dirty. The event, which happened in November, broke all kinds of sodomy taboos.
Hidden Dungeon featured more than 50 educators and performers for its workshops and parties that weekend. The days were packed with 80 workshops on the broadest mix of erotic and kinky topics, such as the sexy bondage scenes from Suspension Showcase, the exploration of Pussy Play and Orgasm Training, as well as the intense strikes of Caning 101. When the night came, the ballrooms turned into play spaces for the kink party and sexy performances, exploring the sensual delight of dark desires. Carnal Casino’s libidinous gambling game and the Spank Bank’s burlesque show were some examples of the jaw-dropping entertainments.
The leather fetish event took over the entire basement of a hotel located on Van Ness Avenue. The location of the hotel was not divulged to the public; only the approved, registered ticket holder could get the link to the address. To ensure security and comfort, photographic equipment including cellphones were not allowed. If guests didn’t wish to be photographed by the official event photographer, they could get special colored wristbands at the registration.
Once guests put their nickname badges on and entered the basement area, they immediately walked into another world. The 20,000 square foot ballroom space was transformed into dungeons with an open, tolerant and sexual atmosphere containing many BDSM, kink and fetish equipment. Sex swings, restrainers, stripper poles, medical restraints, A-frames, Berkley Horses flogging apparatuses, BDSM slings, bondage benches, X-crosses, giant barrels, and many other wild sex furniture was ready to be used as desired.
Equipped with the trendy all gender toilets, the event was a melting pot of diverse identities and interests that welcome people of all genders, sexual orientations, and erotic persuasions. The attendees were a broad community, including leather people, latex fetishists, swingers, pansexuals, tantra practitioners, straight couples, LGTBQ people and gender queers. There was no dress code; in fact as expected, most people chose not to wear anything.
“For somebody like me who has been in the BDSM scene for more than 30 years, it is nice to see kink cultures come out of the closet and become more and more accepted to the point of having an event in a hotel like this,” said Master Gym, a 50-year-old ‘dominant’ who attends Hidden Dungeon’s events annually with his female ‘submissive’. The guy was wearing a casual t-shirt, jeans, a leather jacket and boots. A horse-riding crop was sticking out from his black backpack. His submissive was only wearing a mini black skirt, a metal collar and leather handcuffs. “[This] is considered a big event, people actually fly in for this. It is discrete and private, unlike Folsom. They also provide the best equipment in this convention. We like to experiment here to add excitement and passion with our partners. This convention is informative for both young and old,” he explained.
Hidden Dungeon was jam-packed with live dominatrix plays and enough naked queers to completely desensitize your life. Almost every guest attended the party with their sexual partners and engaged in different lustful activities. People were having group sex near the stripper pole, sex slaves were moaning when they were restrained and teased with Magic Wand sex toys, sex pets were running around in the cages begging for their masters, and condoms were offered instead of beverages. Watching was acceptable but there was absolutely no touching without consent. Interfering scenes in progress was absolutely forbidden.
Hidden Dungeon successfully achieved their mission to build a place where the craziest fantasy was possible − the truly mind-blowing carnal adventure in the most promiscuous city in the nation. The king of Californication will return to the city by the bay next year. Will you surrender your desire and explore your fifty shades of grey?
Let's cut to the chase, New Year's Eve is the worst time to be single and alone, and wanting a companion during the holiday makes perfect sense.
Beside the beach, a beautiful sunset, cocktails, and exotic foods, playing a couple with a “holiday boyfriend” completes the perfect combination of a holiday romance. Yep, he is a guy that you have a love fling with during a vacation break. The deal is sweet, romantic and not causing any emotional baggage.
Or is it actually becoming something? You explore foreign places together, you taste strange food together, get drunk in a smoky bar together, share confessions, passions and dreams of your future life together. It is intoxicating and the feeling is inevitable.
Now it is rolling around to the end of the "honeymoon," but you are not sure how to end a beautiful but short-lived holiday crush. It might be a little sad; both of you like each other, or you wouldn't have become involved, right?
However strong our determination not to expect too much from a vacation fling is, somehow we find ourselves wondering at some point: Could this last? It's hard not to get emotionally involved. Even though you enjoyed the time together a lot, it would be unfair and totally unrealistic to pretend it can continue back in everyday "real-life." We can't all live out the The Note Book fantasy, when Rachel McAdams managed to live happily ever after with Ryan Gosling only after a short summer love affair.
The trouble with holiday boyfriends happens when we persist in trying to make them something they are not. An overseas fling can be a beautiful thing, but that doesn’t mean the charmingly cocky guy with a cute accent you spend the break with is turning out to be “the one.” He might have five other girlfriends somewhere else, and you will never know. Be rational, enjoy the flattery, but don’t be taken in. When the emotion is building up, keep reminding yourself that it is most likely will never last. There are no long-term promises and it is sadly too good to be true.
Away from the pressure of everyday life, the ideal holiday romance should be relaxing, fun, adventurous, and forgotten the moment we step on the plane home. You are sure to be jealous of his next girlfriend, but the feeling will be temporary. The chances are the love will fade as quickly as your tan - so cherish the time, live in the moment but be prepared to let go. Holiday romance should stay just where it started: on holiday. Maybe someday you’ll cross paths again with your holiday boyfriend. And as time passes, it is always nice to have a friend you know in another part of the world.
Have you ever had a holiday boyfriend? Leave your response in the comments below, or share it with Dating Junkie on Twitter with hashtag #datingjunkie.
Since I moved to San Francisco, I’ve been hearing people saying that they are in a polyamorous relationship. Last year, I was dating a guy whose roommate is “poly.” Sam, a 35-year-old nurse living in Concord, has three boyfriends, and her main guy, who just moved in with her is also dating another woman whom he had a kid with. At that time, I didn’t dare to ask more about their relationship arrangement.
“I am married,” said Brad, 40, a Stanford and Princeton graduate who works for an aerospace startup. “My wife and I both see other people. She has a boyfriend, and I have a few casual partners who I see once in a while, though I am looking for something more serious.”
Another friend, Becca, is a successful owner of a startup in New York. The 42-year-old married her husband in 2010 after being together for 12 years. Their marriage has always been open from the start. She now has another boyfriend. I am unfamiliar with all of these stories.
I grew up in a conservative family in Indonesia. What I’ve been told all my life is: no sex before marriage and a man should only be monogamous with one woman “till death do us part.” I am writing this article with an open mind since I have no actual experience of a polyamorous relationship.
The word “polyamory” was first coined in the 1960s and means “many loves” in Latin. The arrangement and number of partners often varies depending on what works for each. For many, polyamory means having multiple committed relationships. It is different from polygamy, which means a state of marriage to many spouses. The level of intimacy and emotional attachment makes it deeper than an open relationship, a hookup, or a one-night-stand, which are mostly based only on sexual acts.
By some estimates, there are now a half-million polyamorous relationships in the United States, though underreporting is common. New York University Sex Researcher Zhana Vrangalova’s recent research suggests that 4 to 5 percent of general heterosexual U.S. adults, or 10 to 12 million people are engaged in consensual nonmonogamy.
Bjarne Holmes, a psychologist at Champlain College in Vermont, is conducting an ongoing study among 5,000 poly individuals. So far, the result shows polyamorists tend to be educated and smart, with more masters and doctoral degrees than the general population.
“My wife and I have been together for 15 years, and we’ve been married for 10. Six months ago she met someone that she is interested in and she wants the freedom to explore it,” said John, who is on a journey exploring the concept of polyamory in a phone interview. He lives in the Bay Area, works as a senior product manager in a transportation network company, and has a beautiful four-year-old daughter.
“It’s something that my wife is interested in pursuing, and if I am denying something she wants in life, she is going to be unhappy,” the 36-year-old explained. “That won’t make us happy as a couple, and she might leave. The way that we envision love is about supporting each other, empowering each other, and becoming stronger. We don’t want our marriage to be limiting and controlling.”
So, is polyamory just a term for justifying infidelity? No. Being a polyamorous is the opposite of cheating, which involves deception.
THE MAIN CORE OF POLYAMORY IS COMMUNICATION, FULL DISCLOSURE, OPENNESS, TRUST, AND RESPECT – THINGS THAT ARE OFTEN MISSING IN A MONOGAMOUS ARRANGEMENT.
“People in these relationships really communicate. They communicate to death,” said Holmes to Live Science. "They’re talking a lot, they’re negotiating a lot, they’re bringing their feelings to the table a lot.“
“I’ve introduced everyone that I am with to my wife and everybody is meeting each other. There are a couple of people that I’ve seen for awhile now, and one of them wants me to leave my wife for her,” John admitted. “So you can imagine the very complicated and dangerous situation. I can’t keep everybody happy, so I have to break it off.”
What started as his wife’s desire now also benefits John as an individual. “I feel that I am far more confident as a person. Frankly, I feel a lot more attractive and desirable,” shared John. “You get to meet new people, you get to have new experiences that you’ve never done, you are constantly expanding your horizon. I still very much enjoy the freedom, the ability to be my authentic self, and not to have artificial restrictions.”
In John’s case, most of his friends know, but his family and most people he works with don’t. He said, “They are pretty conservative… They probably wouldn’t expect it.”
What about the fact that there is a child in the mix? John said, “She is a little bit too young now. Once she gets old enough that she asks questions about it, we are not going to hide it from her. The consequence of that is the whole family will find out because she’ll be hanging out with grandma and she will be talking about mommy’s boyfriends.”
It seems like John doesn’t have much to worry about. Sheff has interviewed more than 100 members of polyamorous families, including about two dozen children of polyamorous parents ranging in age from 5 to 17 years old. Her research is suggesting that polyamory doesn’t have to have a bad impact on the kids. Children also reported liking having many adults whom they trusted. They also spoke of the advantages of growing up knowing they could make their own decisions about how to build their families.
Unfortunately, being polyamorists face many stigmas as swingers, kinksters, promiscuous, and being all about sex. It can be hard for society to wrap around its head around polyamory. The big misconception is that polyamorous relationships are purely sexual and noncommittal, where in fact polyamorous arrangements involve high level of commitment.
"Trust me, there are so much more ways to get laid,” said John. “Polyamory can be emotionally draining since you have to invest in multiple relationships.” The inference that John makes is it’s possible to go on dates, drinks, dinners, movies, and sharing lives, just like any other romantic relationships. Sex is just a component of it, but polyamorists connect intellectually, mentally, and (again) emotionally in supporting each other.
The cultural taboo keeps many polyamorous people not want to come out of the closet. “Many poly people stay closeted out of fear of discrimination, social alienation or because they simply prefer privacy,” sociologist Elisabeth Sheff writes in her forthcoming book “The Polyamorists Next Door,” quoted recently from CNN.
But what is the hardest thing for John right now? Jealousy. He admits that he still gets jealous and trying to figure it out. “If I am all that person needs, that makes me feel really good,” he said. It’s almost like you need a supreme confidence to be able to be okay with them wanting to have other people in their life beyond what you are doing for them. If I am in a primary relationship with someone, and I have a child with her, then she is thinking about someone else all day – obviously, that makes me feel horrible.”
“I think jealousy is caused by a thought that I am not good enough for that person, I am not enough to make them happy in life,“ John continued. "But it is also almost ridiculous to think that you would be since you are just one person. Ten people, of course, will have far wider range of interesting exposure to life than you, as one person, is able to bring. “
The interesting question is, do we get more from jealousy or freedom? There is another theory that says jealousy is nurtured rather than nature. If we can learn to be jealous, we can unlearn it too. When someone makes us jealous, there is a range of ways that you can respond. Are we more civilized to learn to control our jealousy? Or, are we just fooling ourselves into believing that we’d better be happy with people that have more than just us in their life
From John’s perspective, it is a new way of life that looks for many like a six-month experiment with an unknown result. However, many testimonials from other couples suggests that it is possible for polyamorous relationships to be successful. People that practice polyamory feel that loving one person does not take away any love from another person. Many claimed that being a poly couple saved their marriage by building an environment of love, openness, and communication. Polyamorists share their trials and tribulations while continuing to go on dates and pursuing other relationships with everyone’s full support.
Poly is not for everyone. We just have to keep an open mind that a relationship can be fluid. If everybody is onboard, and nobody gets hurt, then there is nothing wrong with it. Polyamory can be a viable option to monogamy, and everyone has a right to decide a relationship system that works for him or her. The goal is to create a society’s where people can be free in deciding what they want of their personal relationship with no judgment.
This article originally appeared on Bob Cut Mag
Video credit: HBO
Is it possible for human to fall in love with a humanoid?
Most of us have started to binge watch the new HBO series “Westworld.” It is about a robotic vacation destination based on the Old West where tourists can live out their illicit fantasies without limit. How so? By fulfilling their desire through robots with artificial intelligence, from murders to sexual rendezvous.
The series is an adaptation of the 1973 Michael Crichton film under the same name. HBO has excelled by telling the story mostly from the androids’ point of view. “The audience watches androids become more human—as the humans become less so,” wrote Christopher Orr in his article “Sympathy for the Robot,” which was published by The Atlantic.
Dating a machine could soon be a reality. I was stunned by facts that I found online. Here are five articles that predict the future of human-robot relationship:
#1. Experts Predict People May Soon Start Dating, Falling In Love With Robots
“Falling in love with objects can be considered as the condition called objectophilia. However, it could be a different case if a person falls in love with a robot that appears and acts like a human, according to Jonathan Roberts, a professor in robotics, and Kate Letheren, a postdoctoral research fellow, both from Queensland University of Technology,” wrote Darwin Malicdem for Healthaim
#2. One in four claimed that they would date a robot if it looks like a human
“Indeed, intimacy as we know it is expanding its boundaries - enabling us to experience love and affection beyond the physical and into the virtual.” Stacy Liberatore for Daily Mail.
#3. I Feel Your Pain: Humans Empathize With Robots That Get Hurt
"The researchers found that the pattern of the brain's empathic neural signals triggered by the sight of robots in perceived pain was similar to that toward humans in pain.” James Eng for NBC News
#4. The future of sex includes robots and holograms
“What is the line between augmenting human connection with technology, and replacing it altogether? What does it mean for sex as we’ve always known it — eye contact, skin, sweat — if there’s a digital third wheel in the mix?” Caitlyn Gibson for The Washington Post.
#5. World Robot Conference 2016 Reveals AI That Can Mimic Human Brains
“I can talk with you. I can recognise faces. I can identify gender and age of people standing front of me, and I can detect your facial expressions.” Cheyenne MacDonald for Daily Mail.
Do you think humanoid robot are the future of dating? Leave your comment below!
Dear single ladies and gentlemen,
I hate to break it to you, but dating, as we once knew it, feels pretty much over. In a city like San Francisco, entering a singles scene can be wearing. On the other hand, SF also offers a fun, quirky, and mysterious dating scene that is worth exploring. You will encounter variations of dating cultures unlike in any other city. Here, we break down the real life stories and experiences, so that you can understand the sexpectations.
SF is a city full of young, intelligent, and ambitious individuals. No matter how career-driven we are, we still seek human interactions, physical relationships, and companionships. We might not be ready to settle down; we want to explore the possibilities and have fun. People in San Francisco love to boast about how dating apps make their busy lives easier. Since Tinder is a place where you can find a true “love,” sometimes twice in one night, all the single Tinderellas are ready to mingle.
Dating apps are also exhausting, and multiple blind dates ends up wasting our precious times. The always-new adventures can be very awkward and traumatizing too. Fake pictures, got stood up, email bail, ghosting… Sounds familiar? Sweeping right is not enough of a solution. Instead of giving up completely on relationships, we should be dating smartly. Follow DatingJunkie’s weekly post to learn the formula of modern dating.