I approach this year's Shadow Lane party (less than three weeks away now) with a little nervousness. It's my usual pre-party trepidation combined with additional feelings that have arisen over the past six months or so. Much of it is a feeling that the scene that I once felt very safe in is changing, that there are a lot more aggressive men wandering around, that women are seen more and more as objects to be snatched off a shelf, perhaps examined then put back on the shelf...
More people seem lonely, and, as a result, desperate. If you don't have a partner, being in the scene can be painful. If you don't even have people to play with, of course it's worse. I feel for the people in these situations. I really do; I've been there. But my empathy goes out the window when they use their loneliness as a rationale for assaulting women, for touching what they shouldn't touch, or, when given permission to do ______, push the envelope and see if they can get ______, too, never asking the woman if she wanted _____.
On top of that, there seem to be more angry men walking around. Not just at BDSM events, but in the world in general. When someone seems to think he is OWED something and he doesn't get it, anger tends to result. I don't need to find myself in a play situation with an angry man, especially one who's angry at women.
There was a reason I started going to parties and clubs eight years ago: I did not have a partner and I wanted to increase my chances of meeting people who were into what I was into. Being public definitely helped improve my social life. Along the way I discovered my exhibitionist streak and my voyeuristic streak.
Being allowed to get naked (you can do this at Paddles) helped my self-esteem tremendously. It feels divine, and I never thought I would feel this good about my body!
That said, there is a whopping difference between going natural and saying yes to sexual play with strangers. My husband and I are sexually exclusive. Intercourse, oral sex or penetration with others is off-limits. I may be a spanking "slut," but I'm not really a slut. I simply like pain, punishment and submission, and I sometimes seek it out from various sources.
But even if I were completely free sexually and chose to have multiple sexual partners -- it's up to me to say yes or no to someone. It's not up to HIM to take it.
I don't really have to explain this, right? Maybe I do. Maybe it needs to be said many, many times until the message sinks in. Public play is where people are getting to know each other, or they're getting other needs met (it's not about sex, for many, many people). It's in private, with someone you trust, that more intimate play occurs. But only if agreed upon!
I'm simply not going to put up with any bullshit this year. If someone violates me or any of my friends, if someone harasses me, stalks me, gives me angry glares from across the room, touches my butt unasked, enters my scene space, makes lewd comments about my body, and won't stop the offensive behavior when asked, I'm filing a complaint. I'm there to have fun, and I'm tired of the nonsense.