I have some delightful friends who love to be spanked, but my hands wear out before their butts do. What can a dominant do to minimize how much it hurts her hands when administering a sound spanking?

Good lord, darlin', do you not know about paddles? I feel your pain here—I've played with people whose behinds were so tough that the old saying, "This is going to hurt me more than it does you" was literally true. My hand would be red and sore afterward, and they'd be saying, "You know, you could spank me longer and harder next time." Ow.

And yes, some of these people insisted that they didn't like paddles or other implements, just bare-hand spanking. Perhaps that's what you're hearing as well. To these people I say: "I will spank you bare-handed until it becomes uncomfortable for me, and then if you want more—guess what, we're using a paddle."

You can try gloves, of course, although I find padded gloves tend to mute my spankee's sensation more than heighten it, and unpadded ones don't noticeably protect one's hand. However, I've had good luck rubbing Bengay on someone's ass before the spanking.

My partner and I are both interested in rope bondage, but we haven't done any, partly because neither of us are entirely sure what to do, but partly because we don't want to lose the spontaneity of sex. Suggestions?

Me, I think spontaneity is overrated. Planning out something sexy for your lover is hot, too. I asked my partner Max, an accomplished rope top, for his take. He said, "Pick up a copy of Midori's or Jay Wiseman's bondage books. Pick a few positions that look hot, but don't look too complicated. Bring out the rope and the pictures when you haven't already started having sex, and treat it like foreplay. If something isn't perfect, that's okay, it's an opportunity to put your hands on the rope and your lover's body again. Take your time—rope bondage is not something to get done, it's something to do, a way to connect and spend intimate time with your lover."

How does the BDSM community police itself? I mean, how do they prevent dangerous dominants from doing things they shouldn't?

Well, there are two answers to this. If you go to a play party at the Wet Spot and start flogging someone on top of his or her kidneys, the officially appointed Dungeon Monitor is going to tap you on the shoulder and tell you to stop. A DM's main job is to prevent people from engaging in unsafe play, and pretty much any public BDSM party is going to have one. At private parties, the hosts usually act as DMs, although in a hand-picked group, it's easier for another guest to simply go up to the erring top and say, "Uh, see how you've got that rope wrapped around his throat? That's a bad idea." No one I know would let a dangerous scene just go on without intervening.

Dangerous incidents are often based on inexperience, which is a correctable trait. It's harder for the community to protect people from tops who consistently demonstrate dangerously arrogant or flat-out sociopathic behavior. We do try—they'll get banned from controlled environments like the Wet Spot, struck from private-party invite lists, and new kids will be warned away from them. But as long as there are bars and the internet, there will be places for them to seek victims. Thus, the onus is on the individual to exercise common sense: Do not let someone you just met get you alone and immobilize you.

Now the moral of the story: The community cannot protect you if you don't belong to it. I know a lot of people feel shy about attending public social events, but the safest way to meet someone trustworthy is through a more experienced kinky person. If you're shopping the personal ads, and your potential play partner claims to have experience, it's completely appropriate to ask for references. (That includes tops asking bottoms, by the way.) Get them and check them. Nothing in life is foolproof, but you can mitigate a lot of risk if you use the existing kink social network.


Kink Calendar



Party at the friendly Eastside swing club. Single men must RSVP for the waiting list, couples and single women can just show up. For more information, contact 425-868-8169 or www.redmond-ranch.com, doors at 7 pm, new people must arrive by 8 pm, $45 for couples/$25 for single women.


BDSM play party for the boys. Wet Spot, men-only@wetspot.org or 270-9746, 10 pm–3 am, $15, male ID required, membership required.



Learn to use your voice as an instrument of pleasure—create blushes, moans, and squirming with nothing but carefully chosen words. Wet Spot, contact Russell or Erika at 650-5234 or 669-5881, 2–6 pm, $35, membership not required.


This 23rd annual event is the leather community's version of Miss America. Contest benefits the Scott Rodriguez Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Cuff Complex, 1533 13th Ave, doors at 6 pm, contest at 7 pm, $5.


Learn the art of small farming—from crops and livestock to business and land management—in the Northwest's preeminent hotspot for kinky farm practices, Enumclaw! King County Fairgrounds, 45224 284th Ave SE, Enumclaw. 9 am–3:30 pm. Free.



Intimate, sensual, candlelit partner yoga class, with instructor Mishabae. Embrace in gentle yoga postures, learn massage techniques, and relax in the hot tub. Hengst Studio, 1506 Franklin Ave E, contact Mishabae at 919-6289, 5:30–8:30 pm, $25 per couple.


A clothing-optional "swim and be social" event at an indoor pool. The Longhouse in Redmond, pool@wetspot.org or 270-9746, noon–4 pm, $10, RSVP required.