Budget friendly Sexy time.

Halloween Super Stores. The Gold Mine.

Depending on what city/country, these Halloween pop-up stores start creeping up around the end of September. These places are gold mines for skirts, shoes, wigs, fishnets, shorts, nylons, garters, makeup, accessories and, of course, costumes. BUT the trick is to wait until the week following Halloween. These pop-up stores don’t want to ship back goods. The first few days after Halloween you are looking at 25-50% off. The two-three days after those couple of days you are looking at 75%, or more and bartering is not frowned upon at all.

The key to ensuring you get everything you need is having a solid plan in place. You may laugh, but I ALWAYS get everything I want and need. I have this shit down to a science.

Create a budget and DO NOT deviate!!

We see 75% off and we can’t help but get excited! But that excitement can cause headaches and losses. This is serious biznass don’t let the deal get to your head or distract you from getting everything you need. Create a budget. Mine is substantial. I start saving in June. I will drop hundreds, but will save more than I could ever spend. I buy in bulk. So if there are two Mary Jane’s size 8’s costume shoes on for 50% off, I’m buying two. Remember these are work clothes. No one is looking at labels. No one gives a shit that it’s a pair of costume shoes. And they get used often and hard. So having more than one of an Item you know you are going to use on the regular be smart and buy more than one.  It’s not like it’s going to go bad. Should you get out of the industry, you can sell them. Win/Win. This is why a big budget is a good idea. Some years I don’t need to buy shoes so I can allot that money to something else.

Know your needs and Prioritize them before even entering the store!

Make a list! Figure out what you tend to use most, what you are low on, and what you’ve been pining for. Then prioritize! Sure it would be awesome to have that straight jacket, but does your clientele warrant it? Do you get requests for it? Probably not, so that becomes a C-list product.  A-list items are your go-to’s. The stuff that makes you the most money. Flat out. The B-List is stuff that perhaps have been requested. Or items that are on the last legs but still can manage for a little while. C-list items are things that you would love to have but aren’t necessities.  Maker, sure you buy something new. Something fresh. Yes, you are there to stock up, but you are also there to expand your wardrobe. New stuff that fits well should be A-list. It’s just as vital as your go to’s.

Scout! Scout! Scout!

You are on a mission! You can save hundred of dollars you gotta treat this like the mission of you life!! It is a tad exhausting, especially if you don’t drive, but we are talking hundreds and hundreds of dollars. You can do this!!

Start by finding more than one of these pop-up stores. Try and find stores in areas with diverse socio-economic demographics.  All stores cater to the neighborhoods to maximize profits. Often different neighborhoods get more or less inventory of certain items, or even completely different items. Do your scouting  early. Waiting until the middle of October is only cutting your options in half.

Once you find at least two or three stores you can start scouting the stores. Make sure you have a lot of time. You want to check out all the stores in one day and have enough time to really check them out. Once you get there, go slow.. find where everything you want and need is located.  Try on things like shoes or costumes. Pay attention to the amount of product on the floor. If there is something you need and you notice there isn’t a large quantity on displayed, inquire about stock.  Be super friendly. This will come in handy when bartering.

Now clearly after Halloween, the store is going to be picked over. If during your scouting mission there is something you absolutely need/want and there doesn’t appear to be many on the shelves, and you’ve inquired about stock and it’s low you still have options.

You can bite the bullet and pay full price, you can gamble and wait for the 50% days, google their site and see if it’s on sale or cheaper, or risk it all and wait for the 75% days. I recommend making that decision after you’ve checked all the stores.

Go home. Write yourself a little synopsis of what you found where and any other information that is important.

STAY AWAY!!!

Now STAY AWAY!!! Don’t torture yourself. You have a plan. Stick to it. If you happen to miss out on something. It’s not the end of the world. This is the hardest part!!! But you’ve done all this work, don’t blow your budget! Keep your eyes on the prize!!

The day before Halloween or the day of doing another scouting mission. See what’s left. If anything A-list is low on supply you have two options. Buy it. Or schmooze! Ask a clerk if the item is still there at the end of the night if they would put it away for you and promise you’ll be back as soon as the store opens.  You can only do that on Halloween. They won’t the day before.

Buying and Bartering

50% days. So I go right as soon as the store opens on the first day. No ifs, and’s or butts about it. Especially if I have three stores to hit up. I start with the one that had the most of everything I needed. I only purchase A-list items that are in limited supply. I resist buying everything. I know 75% – almost free is coming.  If you are struggling because the store you are in only has one left of something, chat up the staff see if they will call the other stores for you. Again but super nice and memorable.

75% + days. Go wild. Go early and get everything you need and want. If you do videos try to keep accessories in mind.

Bartering

Look for the clerk that you’ve spoken to before. Usually, everyone is working because it gets hectic. Be kind, be humble. Ask things like “if I spend 400.00 can you give me a bit of a break?” or “This is still a little high if I bought two could you help me out?” “Any chance you can throw in a few freebies” Pride is for fools. I have bartered successfully every year at all the stores.  Why pay the full discount price when you don’t have to?

There are some items that bartering becomes difficult to do with.  Legs Avenue products, for example, not sure why but they really don’t like parting with that product, that being said anytime I’ve purchased 10+ I’ve never had an issue get a couple freebies thrown in.  Wigs and shoes are iffy. If they have an abundance of one kind then not a problem.Things you have a good chance: Costumes that didn’t sell as well as they predicted. Accessories. Socks. Candy. Makeup. Glasses.  Honestly, buying in bulk really helps your bartering.  When they see you are about to drop some serious coin and, in turn, lessen their workload you almost don’t have to ask.

Happy Shopping!!

Synn

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BDSM Safety.

It’s a no brainer and yet we are all familiar with the saying common sense isn’t so common.  Just some things to think about. Kink and non-Kink safety shit that sometimes elude us because our attention is elsewhere or we never conceived the need in the first place. This does not include the pre-play negotiations. See Negotiations for more info. I am not an expert. I am not even certified kinky. I am just sharing my experiences. Do not take my word verbatim, I encourage you to research more. 

PRE SCENE SAFETY

  1. It’s all about the communication!!! Talk to your partner about everything and anything that may have entered your mind. 
  2. Intoxicated? Stop. Go Home. Try again. An intoxication of any kind dulls the senses. You can’t know how hard you are hitting or how hard you are being hit accurately and safely. So forget it.
  3. If you are about to play references should have been thoroughly checked by now. 
  4. Ensure moods/demeanor/physical wellness of both parties are conducive to play. If you aren’t feeling it. Just had an argument. Feeling low. Have a health issue. Inform your partner and make a decision as to whether or not a scene is a good idea. 
  5. Review your negotiated boundaries so they are clear to both of you. New to negotiating? See Negotiation post. 
  6. If you are using safe words (highly recommended for new partners and new adventures) go over them. As many times as you need to. 
  7. If your scene involves a gag where you may not be able to express a safe word ensure the object you are utilizing in lieu of said word is present. (see negotiating for more info)
  8. Go over your after-care plan. 
  9. Make sure you have a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, needle disposal bin, scissors and anything else you may require handy. If playing in a public space know where the venue you are attending keeps all that good shit. 
  10. Playing privately for the first time? Let someone know where you will be and, if possible, a list of your negotiated terms. 
  11. Have all necessary after-care items present. Look over your bags make sure they are ready to go and easily accessible. 

SCENE SAFETY

  1. Is first time playing together? Start slow, create a build up. It’s one thing to talk about trust another to establish it first hand. Taking the time to go slow not only helps lay the foundation of trust but also allows for both parties to savor the moment. There is nothing so amazing as the first time playing with someone, don’t rush that shit. 
  2. Check in with your bottom regularly. Bottom make sure your top knows you want the check in. Again this goes to establishing trust and care. It’s the first time, maybe the second time you’ve played together. You don’t know each other’s mannerisms, body language or expressions that well. Wanna learn? Check in and go slow. 
  3. Respect boundaries. Respect negotiated terms. There is no deviation from this. During the entire course of your scene never deviate from what was negotiated. If you are in the middle of a scene and have not agreed upon rolling negotiations (see negotiations) but you really feel comfortable doing something you may have said no to before, wait until the next time you play. There is no rush. They aren’t going anywhere. No need to fuck up a great scene by throwing in a dash of confusion. When you are in the zone, you are in the zone. Respect the zone. 
  4. Be present, mostly. The zone is a funny place, it allows you to succumb to the sensations and energy of the scene but it also can blind you, mute you and overwhelm you. As much as we all want to slip away into the bliss it is both parties duty to each other to keep at least one toe in reality. Once you have been playing with someone over an amount of time and you are more in tune with their ways than perhaps that toe may slip away too, but until then keep some of yourself present so you can communicate any and all issues that may arise. 
  5. Never fear using your safe word. It’s there for a purpose. Use it. Don’t worry about fucking up the scene. Don’t worry about being judged. This is your safety, your well-being, and your partners well-being as well. Keep silent does no one any good. 

AFTER CARE 

Aftercare is what is required physically, emotionally and mentally to ensure the well-being and the goodness are intact and all is good in both the Top and the bottom’s world when your scene is over. Often when discussing after-care, we tend to focus on the bottom. However being Top and speaking with other Tops I can tell you that there have been times that Top’s require a little aftercare too. Top’s put themselves in head spaces that can be just as difficult as a bottom’s head space. 

  1. Aftercare should be negotiated pre-scene, and after both parties know what the scene is going to entail. It’s premature to discuss what type of care is required when you don’t know what you will be doing.

2. There are some personal awareness and responsibility that comes with aftercare. You need to be able to know what you need in order to convey that effectively to your partner. If you are engaging in something new, voice what your “normal’ aftercare requirements are, and then ensure you mention you may require more or less because of the newness of the experience. 

3. Don’t hold back on your needs. We all have different needs and each one is valid and necessary to ensure you both of you walk away with the good feels. You are doing both you and your partner a HUGE disservice by withholding your needs after a scene. Not to mention opening the door for an unhealthy emotional/mental drop due to not making your wellbeing a priority. It’s unsafe and potentially damaging psychologically for both parties. 

4. Aftercare can come in many forms. Ice for bruising. Cuddles for connection. Chocolate to revive. A stuffed animal. A good conversation. It is a personal need.

5. Aftercare may be required well after a scene is done. Most people I know always check in with their partner 1-2 days after a scene, particularly if it was physically or mentally intense. Even if you  both walk away from a scene doing everything right that doesn’t always mean that the scene can’t creep up and have an effect on you. Two, three, even a week later  an intense emotional/psychological drop can occur. Your mood shifts, you notice your thoughts are taking you back to pieces of the scene. You find yourself unsure, unhappy, perhaps even confused or ashamed. Reach out to your partner.Talk to them. This is crucial.

6. Physical aftercare in the days after a scene is just as crucial. Bruises are all pretty and whatnot but they are still damage done to the body that requires attention. Make sure you take care of your “war wounds” keep and eye on them. Apply appropriate treatments (ice, healing creams etc) and if you notice something isn’t right. Tell your partner immediately and head to a doctor. Now hopefully you have a kink friendly doctor that you can be open with, but if you do not then I would suggest brainstorming with your partner for a plausible explanation that provides the doctor with the right information to treat you, without exposing you or your partner to potential legal ramifications.

I will follow that up with the insistence of using common sense. The above applies to something that “isn’t right” perhaps something isn’t healing like it usually does, or there is a new sensation/pain you are not accustomed to feeling. Slight offenses. However if you are experiencing something concerning like internal pain/bleeding, vomiting, incoherence, or loss of the ability to move appendages, basically shit you know isn’t fucking right then obviously come clean with your doctor. Explain your relationship and support each other. Nothing is worth risking your life or the potential for permanent damage. 

In the end, a great scene can be had by all if the time is taken to ensure all the pieces of the puzzle are out in the open and everyone is on the same page. In this world holding back can almost always ensure a horrid outcome that may result in permanent damage. No one wants that. So if you are going to play, be responsible and be honest communicators so you can both be the kinky fucks you are..safely. 

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BDSM Negotiation

There are various forms of negotiation, some require a more dynamic focused style of negotiation while others require a non-sexual based negotiation. I like to call these sub-negotiations. They are an offshoot of the fundamental importance of negotiation within the BDSM lifestyle. So when looking at the negotiation foundation, I see two components that are required to even have a scene. Consent and Wellbeing.

Wellbeing: Playing and exploring can be triggering on the past or current emotional distress or experiences that can surface before, after and even during a scene. Some of the stuff you want to delve into can be dangerous, risky and on occasion mentally/emotionally taxing.  Sharing the knowledge of a mental illness, or a previous traumatizing experience that could be touched upon during play, or not revealing a prior, current or post play injury can put all parties in danger. That is why well-being is curtailed to the negotiation process and BDSM as a whole.

Consent: Consent is the Big Poppa of BDSM. It is an absolute necessity. Without it, there is NO BDSM. Establishing consent can only be done by one party asking a question, and the other party providing an honest response. Regardless of the nature of the dynamic, which can range from occasional play partners to 24/7 Master/slave, establishing and maintaining consent is a constant requirement that is always adapting and changing with our views, experiences and tastes.  It’s been my finding that they only way to obtain and maintain consent effectively is by being open, honest, transparent and communicative. Whether it’s your first time or your millionth time consent is always present and required. The way to ensure consent is simple. Obtain knowledge. Negotiate honestly. Create a consensual agreement. Anything that doesn’t follow that very simple process is not BDSM.

Where to start?

 The BDSM checklist: Prior to playing with someone for the first time a BDSM checklist is the perfect way to cover Yes, No’s and maybe’s. Not only is a perfect way to get to know a partner’s interest and experience it’s also an amazing tool to open the door to discussing your personal details and the type of scene you are looking to have. This is the one I have pulled off the good old internet and is the one I use. This is what I keep stored in my phone. It will evolve and you and your partner do, and it’s easy to keep on you and reference back to should there be any confusion or miscommunication. Even though My boy and I have been together for almost a year, we go over this list every 3-4 months and add or remove things that piqued our interests or we are no longer interested in doing. This is open, honest, transparent and communicative. All bases covered! Excellent start!

1a.
Just in case, it isn’t clear. Yes = Things I consent to.  No = NO CONSENT. Maybe = I’m unsure. NO CONSENT.  
 

2. Going over the list: Going over them together is the start of the bonding process, it promotes openness, honesty and clear communication between both parties. Now in certain dynamics (which I will cover in another post) the Top will not fill out a list but will expect the bottom to do so and both parties are aware of this prior to engaging.

When you are going over your lists discuss the similarities in the no-go zone and in the aww-yes zone. I recommend staying away from the hmm-maybe zone. *  Clearly establish Consent, as I mentioned above there is no room for ambiguity. This step is where boundaries are established once again by being open, honest, transparent and communicative. But going over the list together both the Top and the Bottom begin to understand each other’s limits, experience levels and areas in which they share a desire to explore. Ask questions if you are unclear. By the end, you should have a clear understanding of what is a yes, and what is no. Nothing is grey.

*Occasionally the rush of the adrenaline during a scene can be overwhelming and in add in the enticing energy that arises between the connection of both parties, it can provoke the desire to deviate from the negotiated path, especially in the beginning of your exploration. In that moment by not going over the maybe’s your brain will recall the yes and no discussions and the absence of the maybe discussion, furthermore you will have no boundaries, no guidelines and a lot of ambiguity which provokes a feeling of unsurely which tends to immediately remind us of the surety of the plan. It’s known vs unknown and, in this case, most revert to the comfort of the known. It’s not a guarantee but it’s a good attempt at taking preventive measures and reducing the potential for harm. Addressing them once the connection and understand each other deepens is a lot more fun anyways: D              

  1. Picking the genre: That’s a pretty extensive list of things. Clearly you can’t cover ALL of that in one scene. Focus on something both the Top and the bottom are eager to try and have the knowledge required to take part in safely. You both may want to experience needle play but if neither one of you know how to that safely then that is NOT something you should engage in. Learning together might be a lot of fun, though.
  2. Negotiating your scene: At this point both the Top and the bottom know what is consensual and what type of scene they want to have, now it’s time to get intricate and hash out roughly what the scene will entail. Open, honest, transparent and communicative really come into play here because this is where you both pose honest questions and provide honest answers which become the structure of your scene. Questions such as:

          What toys will the scene have?

           What is the safe word?

           How is your well-being?

            What type of aftercare do you require?

            Are there triggers that I need to be aware of?

           If you need more support who do I call?

           Do you need music, background noise, silence?

           Are you okay playing in public?

          Do you know what Top/Bottom space does to you?

          How long do you want the scene to last?

          How often do you need me to check in during the scene and the days after?

          Is there anything I haven’t mentioned but you would like to discuss?

Now depending on the type of scene you are creating there may be more questions. I can’t possibly list all the potential questions. If you have reached this point then you have some BDSM knowledge and have a general idea of what to ask, what to establish and what to address.

  1. Scene day: It’s finally here! You are nervous, excited and perhaps questioning yourself. If it’s anything beyond common excitement nerves talk to your partner. Tell them how you are thinking and feeling, maybe you need to push it back, or get more comfortable with the boundaries whatever it is… use your voice. Share your state of well-being, do not try to push through because of embarrassment or sheepishness. You will rob yourself of a great experience if your head isn’t in the game, furthermore, you’ve shut your Top/bottom out which could lead to a bad scene and the inability to contain it should the situation become heightened.

Make sure you have all your goodies. Toys, after-care needs, safety devices and pertinent information. Go over boundaries and the scene itself. Talk to each other, perhaps tease each other. Build the momentum. Once you are ready for your scene, fucking have at it! Focus on your Top/bottom. Enjoy their responses. Play with the responses. If you are in public block the noise and focus in on your Top/bottom. Feel the energy. Savor each and every second because it will be over before you know it!

Synn’s bottom line

BDSM requires the truth. Plain and simple. The truth about your well-being, physically, emotionally and mentally, because all of these states of being are influences and impactful before, after and during a scene. For example, if you are a Top and your day started with your boss pissing you off and micro managing you all day, traffic was brutal to and from work, you finally get home and the dog had explosive diarrhea which you stepped in it upon entering your home with both feet, it would have been ok had your cleaning crew not bailed leaving your place not only filthy but smelling like Eau de dirreaha. It’s safe to assume that this Top is not having a good day. Would it be wise, safe or responsible for this Top to not mention the day he’s had to the impact play date that has been arranged for that evening? No. It would not be.

Even if the Top perceives they are capable of shedding the bad juju from the day, it’s not the Top’s place to determine the safety for both parties. The bottom has a right to make an informed decision by knowing what type of day the Top has had and perhaps together they can decide whether or not it’s impacted the Top’s ability to play safe. Now some may argue that the if the Top believes the residue from the day has been shed that there is no requirement to mention the horrid day, but I will counter argue with they fact that often when it comes to our own emotional state we can be blinded. The Top’s judgement may be influenced by the effects of the day and, therefore, holding a skewed perception of the aftermath of the day and its effect on the Top.

Consent. NONE of this matters without it. So without consent, this is all gibberish. Lack of consent equals a violation of another human beings’ rights. Plain and Simple.

My next post in this section will cover what to do when your boundaries have been overstepped and ignored. Until then Be Kinky, Be perverted, Be yourself!

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