There’s one thing I forget about teaching at intensives:
Naiia and I were going to be teaching eight classes- four together, four apart – over the course of two days at a private residence in Iowa. There were about 18 attendees, some couples and some single, all with one common interest: Power Exchange. Dominant/submissive, master/slave, daddy/girl, owner/pet – there were a wide variety of relationship styles represented.
That didn’t phase us; power exchange is definitely our comfort zone, both in theory and practice. Not, you understand, because we’re innately talented or adept at it – no, we have studied and read and experimented and iterated because of the many missteps, miscommunications, and downright fuckups that have happened over the decade or so (shit, actually longer) that I’ve been trying this kind of thing.
Yeah, it’s not about “this is the one true way” – in fact, one attendee privately mentioned to me that I mentioned that too often. No, this is more of a Things We Wish We’d Known Then combined with Things We Think Are Interesting What Do You Think?
We started with a round-table discussion which focused on two questions:
- What were the archetypes – in media, in your environment, wherever – that first attracted you to the idea of power exchange?
- What are the myths and assumptions about power exchange that you wish you could bust?
Aside from being fun discussion topics (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith…” “Ooooohhhh…”) these also served as the framework for the rest of the classes. We were covering a lot of things, from health to protocol to intimacy, but I wanted the attendees to pay attention to how it all made them feel. I wanted them to look for eudaemonia – the intrinsic joy, rather than extrinsic motivation, that I believe is key to sustainable and constructive power exchange relationships.
In short, it’s not about you measuring up to somebody else’s standard. You do you, first, and then you do your consenting partner.
There were tears. There was laughter. There were lots of “hmmm” sounds, and Lego Star Wars during the breaks. To be completely honest, there was probably too much emphasis on the Deep Emotional and Philosophical Questions and not enough of the fun spanky floggy. That’s what I mean by “intense” – by the end, Naiia and I were very happily burned out, and I suspect the same was true for many attendees. These classes are usually put into a larger context of events with lots of technical skills – putting them all together in a span of two days?
But very worthwhile, and we are tremendously grateful to RocketGrl and ProfCedar (and Blissy and Kit) for making it possible. It’s our second intensive in Iowa, so we must be doing something right – looking forward to the next time!