Online Class Reformat

I’ve decided to change things a bit.

Instead of one course, I’m going to offer a “Kinky College” series:

BDSM 101: FOUNDATIONS will now become BDSM 201: PSYCHOLOGY.

BDSM 101: FOUNDATIONS will have a content change. New description:

This is no boring 101 class! Here you will learn the foundational elements of this thing we call “BDSM”, such as:

  • What exactly do we mean when we say “BDSM”? How is it different than “kink”?
  • Categories of play
  • What does it mean to be “lifestyle” or “professional”? Similarities and differences
  • Culture and Community: who, where, what, when, why

BDSM 201: PSYCHOLOGY will retain the same description and content:

This course will provide a rich and in-depth discussion of various psychological concepts fundamental to BDSM which are often confusing and misunderstood. This will provide a rock-solid foundation for genuine understanding and improved play and for beginners and experienced players alike. Some concepts include:

  • Understanding the difference between BDSM and abuse
  • Dominant/Top & submissive/bottom: how they differ from one another and why they are commonly confused
  • What is fetishism and how does it affect me
  • “Topping from the bottom” is real but it has nothing to do with topping
  • Fantasy or Reality: why you need to know where you’re at

I will also add two courses to the series:

BDSM 301: UNDERSTANDING AND NEGOTIATING YOURSELF

You’ve got a solid understanding of the psychology, but how do you fit in? In this course I will provide insight into figuring out your “Kink Personality” and how to effectively communicate that with whom you choose to play. Areas covered:

  • Figuring our your interests
  • Limits: The different types and how you can understand your own
  • Recognizing and developing your own playstyle
  • Negotiating your needs and desires into a scene

BDSM 401: SCENES

Now, you have all this information and you’re ready to play with someone, but you don’t know where to start! In this course I will help you get a better grasp on this process so you can feel confident going into — and coming out of — play. This includes:

  • What exactly is a “scene”?
  • Understanding how to conduct a scene that is right for you
  • Uh oh: How to recognize a problem and what to do about it
  • What is aftercare and why is it important

Unlike actual college, I will not make any of these a prerequisite for subsequent classes, however I do recommend taking the smaller numbered courses before the later ones because the content all ties in with each other and will be referenced throughout. Questions you may have on previous content may only be briefly addressed so as not to infringe on the current class.

For scheduling and to buy tickets, please visit my classes page.

N.B.: I will NOT be recording the classes. Instead, I will be repeating the series periodically.

Online Class: BDSM 101 – Foundations

BDSM 101: Foundations

Wednesday, August 12th 5pm
60 minutes
$20

This isn’t your average 101 class!

I will NOT be covering “this is what spanking is…and this is what a piece of rope is…” I will instead provide a rich and in-depth discussion of various concepts fundamental to BDSM but are often confusing and misunderstood. This will provide a rock-solid foundation for genuine understanding and improved play and for beginners and experienced players alike. Some concepts include:

  • Understanding the difference between BDSM and abuse
  • Dominant/submissive & Top/bottom: how they differ from one another and why they are commonly confused
  • What is fetishism and how does it affect me
  • “Topping from the bottom” is real but it has nothing to do with topping
  • Fantasy or Reality: why you need to know where you’re at

Length: 60 minutes
Cost : $20

To register please visit my classes page and click on the Buy Tickets link under the BDSM 101 class.

The event will be held on Crowdcast.

Mistress Tissa on Coalition Radio rescheduled to Friday, August 7, 9:45PM EST

Listening is easy. Just follow the link in the tweet.

Mistress Tissa on Coalition Radio on Friday, July24, 9:45PM EST – POSTPONED

[Clean link is here]

The interview will be loosely structured, so I’m unsure about everything that will be discussed, but some topics mentioned are: power dynamics in BDSM, “topping from the bottom”, the influence of Patriarchy on BDSM and gender play, and more.

It will be a live video feed.

UPDATE: Due to my illness, this discussion will be postponed. A new date will be announced shortly.

Online Classes

I will be offering some online classes in the near future. The first four topics will be:

Finding The Domme Of Your Dreams

Understanding How You Fit Into BDSM

A Guide To Seeing A Dominatrix: From Searching To Sessions

Security Considerations

Class descriptions are on my Classes page.

I have some tentative dates in mind, but would like to hear from people about what day(s) and time(s) work best.

What would be helpful is knowing what class(es) you’re interested in, if a weekday or weekend works better, and if between 2pm -6pm EST or 6pm – 10pm EST works better. You can either email me or comment here.

If I don’t hear from you, I will schedule according to my preferences.

The Word “Mistress”

When encountering Dominatrices you will see many of us use the title “Mistress”. While some of us love it, some feel quite differently, believing it is somehow insulting to a woman, her role and value. I want to clear that up.

Mistress is the femme version of Master. It was first used around the 14th century to denote a woman who rules in some way and has power. It is thought to have originated from the Middle English “maistresse”, which stemmed from the Anglo-French “mestresse”, which is the feminine of “mestre” which means “master”. (“Maîtresse” is the modern French derivative.)

As you can see below, this is and has been its primary meaning. The definition of a mistress as an “other woman” came much, much later.

Source

In BDSM terminology, though the word technically has a more specific meaning of a femme assuming the M role in an M/s dynamic, as opposed to a D/s dynamic, it is extensively and loosely self-assigned by women who are professional Dommes and switches, even if they are not engaging in that form of power exchange with their play partners.

Some Dommes don’t like and use the term because they believe it implies they’re somehow subservient to the man or a “side chick”. This is understandable given how it has been used as a pejorative term in modern culture. However, if a woman has many men coming to her, married or not, sometimes doing so at their own peril, how is she subservient? How is she not the one with power? Perhaps the “other woman” meaning is in fact more a reflection of the original definition of a woman who “possesses, own, or controls” than some are inclined to believe. 😉

How Do I Know If My Kink Is Good Or Bad? And What Can I Do About It?

Do you feel unsure about your sexuality, specifically your kinks? Have you been concerned whether what you enjoy is “good” or if it’s “bad”? Have you asked yourself, “Is it OK that I’m doing this?” or “Is there something wrong with me?” If you have, it’s normal. People have these concerns — sometimes to the point of causing great distress — that something is just not right about the “kinky” things they enjoy, but they have difficulty considering this objectively.

When trying to get some insight, it’s important to remember that since everyone has different likes, dislikes, levels of comfort, etc., and what feels good for one person may not be for another. “Good” and “bad” can be used as a shorthand for a value judgment and these values don’t necessarily apply to everyone. Because of this, I encourage you to instead think of them as either “healthy” or “unhealthy”.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help evaluate where yours fall:

When engaging in your kink, do you…

MistressTissa_Strippedrequire that you first become intoxicated? Are you unable to engage in your interest without first needing to get drunk or do drugs?

…ignore boundaries — whether your own or someone else’s? Do you routinely allow yourself to be pressured to do things you don’t want to do? Or do you pressure or “trick” someone else into doing things? Is “consent” something you let someone else decide for you or something you believe you should decide for others? (This does not include the practice of “consensual non-consent”.)

…not know when or how to stop? Do you have a compulsive need to do your kink? Does it feel like you’re “addicted” to it? Do you want to stop but you believe you can’t?

 …feel guilt or regret afterward? Do you wish you hadn’t done what you just did? Do you experience anxiety or depression afterward? Perhaps feeling bad about yourself, beating yourself up, or even go so far as to have thoughts of self-harm?

…see that it has had an overall negative impact on your life? Such as preoccupying much of your thoughts at the expense of other important things? Compelling you to recklessly spend money? Causing you be late for or miss work? Affecting your interpersonal relationships, such as with family or friends? Or generally decreasing your quality of life?

If you said yes to any of these questions, you may have an unhealthy relationship to your kink. (If you didn’t then your relationship may be healthy.)

What’s important to note with feelings of guilt or regret is that while they may indicate a problem they don’t necessarily mean that the kink itself is the problem. Sometimes people feel guilt or regret because of their own beliefs about their kink; such as that they are a defective or bad person, something which our culture may teach us but may not be true. Some people feel guilt or regret after secretly engaging in their kink because they assume the people in their lives will not understand or approve. In both these cases, the issue may not be the kink but the attitudes and circumstances surrounding the kink.

What do you do if you think you might have an unhealthy relationship to your kink?

I recommend finding a qualified professional who is trained in mental health and has competency with human sexuality, particularly kink, and experience helping people with the kinds of emotions you’re having (e.g. shame, guilt, anger, addiction).

Where can you get a kink-competent* provider?

One place I’d recommend looking is the National Coalition of Sexual Freedom’s Kink-Aware Professional database. This database does not include all providers; only those that have requested to be listed. So, if you don’t see someone in your area, that does not mean there isn’t someone out there.

Another place to look is a search engine. Try searching for “therapy” or “counseling” or even “coaching”; your city or state; and your specific kink, or just “kink”, or even “sexuality”. See who comes up. If anyone looks interesting, give them a call. You may find other directories this way as well.

What if I have/don’t have insurance?

If you have insurance and need the provider to be in-network, contact your insurer for a list of mental health professionals in your area and then do a quick web search for each of them. See if they have a website with information about their competencies. If you’re unclear, give them a quick call. Most providers will be happy to answer a few questions about their qualifications and if they think they might be able to help you.

If you can’t find someone in-network, don’t despair. Sometimes insurers will cover out-of-network providers if their rate is comparable to those in-network. Or, they will cover a certain amount and you pay the rest. Ask your insurer about this. Then ask the provider you’re interested in if they are willing to work with your insurer.

If you are able to pay out of pocket you are likely to have more options. So consider if you’re willing to go that route and how much you are able to afford. I recommend thinking about this before you make any calls so you’re prepared to discuss it if you find a provider that interests you. (Note: unlicensed providers are not able to take insurance.)

How do you know if the person is right for you?

This is usually not immediately apparent. It’s like going to a doctor or restaurant or even meeting a new friend. Sometimes you may feel like it’s a good fit from the first visit, sometimes it takes a little more time. Prepare yourself for there to be some trial and error.

Before you make an appointment with someone, know that you are completely within your right to vet the person with whom you will be sharing many personal details of your life. This means you’re allowed to ask them about their education, experience, attitudes toward and competency with your specific kink (and even kinks, in general), and how they have helped people like you in the past. If they do not welcome your questions, this is, in my view, a red flag.

Also important is to be aware that if you do find someone and they in any way try to shame and tell you that you should not be kinky and are bad for being this way, I recommend that you STOP seeing them. This is not the behavior of a kink-friendly or competent provider and is not an appropriate match for kinky people. (They are also likely to not be a good mental health practitioner in general.) Seeing someone like this would be like a gay person wanting support for being gay and the provider telling them that being gay is bad and to stop being gay. If you do not feel they are offering reasonable support, then try someone else.

Does having unhealthy thoughts or feelings make you “crazy”?

If you are worried about the possibility that because you might have an unhealthy relationship to your kink that you are in some way “crazy”, please understand that having any of the above thoughts or feelings doesn’t necessarily mean you’re “mentally ill” in the way a lot of people think of it, but that understanding unhealthy thoughts, feelings, and behavior, and the processing and modification of those things, is what therapists, counselors, and even some coaches are trained to do. This is why they are a good choice to support you through these types of issues.

(*Not just kink-friendly. Anyone can be “friendly” to a situation or type of person; it doesn’t mean that have any idea of how to appropriately help and support them.)

Why Chronic Pain Sufferers Are Turning To BDSM

“…a kink environment has the potential to give pain a new vocabulary—which benefits both the chronically pained—and those trying to understand pain outside of its limited medical and socially constructed definition.”

Full article here.

BDSM and the Law

This is not an easy job. Not just because of everything you have to learn or acquire or manage, but because of the mores of the society in which we live and how they have affected the creation of laws and the enforcement of those laws. It’s a consideration that those of us on the providing end think about regularly — if not daily.

Offering BDSM/kink professionally involves navigating some choppy waters. While many of us have been doing what we do without incident for years — if not decades — there have been some arrests, prosecutions, and lawsuits relating to the practice of BDSM. This can create what is called “precedent”, or a court decision used as an example or authority to help resolve subsequent cases which are similar in nature. Though rulings in our favor can offer potential help, they can only help if they’re out there. And I don’t think there’s a lot of precedent out there.

While we tend to live in what one kink-friendly attorney called, “a culture of tolerance”, which means that while some things may technically not be deemed “permissible”, the laws around them are not really enforced. As a result, the unpredictability of this, mixed with a lack of precedent, means these waters are uncharted. So, if you want to explore these waters, it behooves you to understand what you might find in them.

People may not be aware of this but offering BDSM professionally is actually illegal in some places. New Jersey is one of them*. This means that someone could conceivably be arrested for offering to tie you down and spank you for payment. (Wild, huh?) It means that advertising yourself as offering or looking for pro play would be a violation of the law.

In other places professional BDSM itself isn’t illegal but certain activities might be. Do you have a fetish for strap-on play (aka “pegging”) or forced “cock” sucking? Or do you have a fantasy of being Dominated by more than one person or being in a “forced bi” scene? That’s hot and all, but in some jurisdictions those things could be construed as “prostitution” or “pimping”, respectively.

“Is this truly risky?”, you may ask. This is the nature of uncharted waters. We don’t always know the level of risk we’re taking. It’s dependent on various factors — some which we have control over and some that we don’t.

This is one reason why you may see differences in how Dommes advertise themselves. Some don’t advertise at all or don’t talk about what they do or don’t discuss payment. This can be because it’s beyond Her comfort zone to be so open, whether it’s for privacy reasons or legal ones.

If you’re thinking, “If this is true, then why have I seen Dommes offer all these things?” Sometimes it’s because the Domme honestly doesn’t care and is willing to assume the risk, in other cases She doesn’t know the law and the risk She’s taking.

Whatever the reason for the Domme, it’s in your best interest to learn the law in the area in which you play. This does not mean you have to give up on your kinky dreams. It just means you should be wise and pursue your passions carefully.

So, before sending a message to a Domme and asking, “Can you fuck me in the ass?” or “Can you pimp me out to your other clients?”, know that it may be met with silence and ruin your chances of sessioning with Her. You may need to prove yourself trustworthy before some of these things are discussed — if they ever will be at all.

*In statute 34:1, it defines “prostitution” as including “sadistic or masochistic abuse and other deviate sexual relations.”

The others states in which their prostitution statutes specifically includes sadomasochistic abuse or some variant as a “sexual act” or “sexual contact”:

Arizona
Hawaii
Louisiana
Maryland
DC

States in which toilet play (urine and/or feces) is included in the statute about prostitution:

New Hampshire
North Carolina
North Dakota

States in which the definition of “touching genitals” and/or “masturbation” could include CBT:

Oklahoma
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Texas
Washington

States in which there are extremely broad definitions which include anything designed for “sexual gratification” or that which is “lewd” and “lascivious”:

Delaware
Oklahoma

State in which a live BDSM show is considered illegal due to “indecency”:

Oregon

State in which “basic dominance and submission” are specifically EXCLUDED from the prostitution statute:

New York

This is not a complete list of all statues and it doesn’t qualify as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney.

(Credit to attorney Steven Sandler for the source I’m citing.)

If you want to better understand the law, I recommend starting at the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom’s (NCSF) write up. You can also check their legal resources tag.

If you’re outside the US, you can start on the BDSM and the law Wiki page which mentions the law in other countries. (You probably want to verify the sources, though.)

After that, I advise you to contact an attorney in your area. The type of attorney who is most-likely to be able to answer questions about this are criminal defense attorneys.

NCSF’s website also has a searchable database of kink-aware professionals, which includes lawyers. (Be sure you select at least a country or you will get zero results.) Please note that not every kink-aware professional in listed in this directory; only those who have submitted a request to be listed.