A while ago I signed up to go to an event called Fusion. Fusion is an event held at a resort in Maryland. The attendees stay in cabins, and frolic in the big outdoors – no clothing required. Many of the people who attend are into BDSM. Others are there to embrace their queer or transgendered identity, or just to be around sex-positive people. A friend who had read my Bondage Ranch series was sure I had been before. You’ve nailed the place, she said, in your books. Well, I hadn’t been to anyplace like it, and it was an eye opening experience that is already influencing my writing.
Now, I’m no stranger to the BDSM scene. But get a thousand people or so together outdoors and it creates a vibe different from what happens in a club, partly because you can’t fit that many people into any club I know of. I was watching, not participating, because I was there without my partner, but I was able to attend a number of workshops. I learned some things about rope bondage, BDSM protocol, predicament bondage, and more. No matter how much one “knows” there is always a different way to do things.
Outdoor BDSM fascinates me. Some of my favorite scenes involve people improvising – using a tree that happens to be there for a bondage post, for instance. A stump, with a blanket over it to soften the edges, might be just the right height for a sub to lean over for a spanking. The sense that a scene could happen anywhere at any time is hot. Add that to the curious mixture of privacy and exhibitionism that outdoors provides, where one can find a quiet spot but someone might wander by. In most circumstances, of course, having someone wander into a scene is a recipe for disaster. But at Bondage Ranch, or Submission Island, or Fusion, the outdoors has been closed off and made safe – kink-friendly people only.
Being outdoors can tap one into the primal drives that make sex, dominance and submission touch something deep inside us. Sometimes the indoor trappings of a club can help make BDSM seem safer, the familiar toys and furniture helping draw the line between an impact scene and actual abuse in one’s mind. But there are time when it can also seem plastic (well, leather) and unemotional.
The other thing I loved about my experience at Fusion was the variety of activities people engaged in. I’ve always tried to emphasize heroes and heroines who find their own way to do BDSM, rather than doing it the “right way.” The BDSM community in general is very open to a variety of gender expressions and alternative sexuality beyond the dominant-submissive dynamic that attracts me, and people were very accepting of that diversity even if it wasn’t their thing. I enjoyed talking to some people who identify themselves as “primals” – meaning they want to tap into our animal side, although ask any ten BDSM practitioner the meaning of a term, and you’re likely to get eleven different answers. For obvious reasons these folks may prefer being outdoors to being cooped up inside. But I prefer to think we’re all somewhere on a continuum, that those primal urges speak to all of us, even those of us who are most comfortable getting our kink on in a nice, mosquito free dungeon, or the privacy of our own bedrooms.
I’m offering a giveaway today of two of my books that have outdoor BDSM scenes in them: Passion Flower, and Roped In. I’ll be happy to send one lucky commenter a copy of both books in the format of their choice. Contest ends at midnight Central time on Sunday, Oct 27th.
Check out my website at www.sindravanyssel.com , or friend me on facebook (Sindra van Yssel). And don’t forget to comment if you’d like to be included in the book giveaway.