Have you ever wondered what it’s like to go to a kink camp in the middle of nowhere with about 700 other kinksters – only four of which you’re certain you know going into the event? Anyone?
Well, I have.
I haven’t really done much of it, yet. I went to Leather Reign last November and had a great time; even though I felt mostly outside the community there, I had a blast.
But that was really it. I haven’t been to any other kink conferences (despite doing all kinds of kink while at sexuality ones), nor do I attend many munches/community events.
I’m a socially anxious creature who doesn’t have much disposable income, has varying levels of abilities, dietary needs, and worry about being visibly trans and what that will mean for my safety in unknown spaces.
For these reasons, I sometimes have a hard time breaking out of my shell and talking myself into actually attending big events, even ones like Dark Odyssey’s Summer Camp, which I was exceptionally curious about. But this year I was bolstered by the attendance of some of my favourite people – Bex, Mr Blk, and Ms Pomegranate – and also a bit of mania, so off I went to see what trouble I could get in to in a foreign land…
- Delicious masochists:
I brought so many pain toys with me on my travels, not knowing who I’d be playing with and what their preferences would be, wanting to make sure I had something on hand for whatever occasion arose. Little did I expect that my most-used items were the meanest ones in the lot, which delighted me to no end. My hockey puck paddle and sharp red claws got plenty of use, as did my LeatherBeaten goodies – their Liquid Cane, Lightning, Truncheon, and Rubberella.
On the final day of camp, this sweet girl I had been flirting with all weekend looked me in the eyes and told me that she “had not yet been bruised at camp, and this was a shame”. She said it like a challenge, and knew I took it like one when she followed up with “I have time to change this, if you do”. Well. Those are certainly words that make my blood rise and my smirk grow! We planned on doing a “quick scene before dinner” that ended up lasting almost three hours – suffice to say that I had a chance to thoroughly test my brand new liquid lightning and truncheon, and delighted in the immediate welts they caused on her skin. If you’ve ever handled the liquid cane before, you’ll know that it’s sharp and stingy as hell. The liquid lightning is a square version of this, and even more cruel. The corners bite in hard, even on the gentlest of hits. The truncheon, on the other hand, is a thicker version of the cane. Still stingy, but has a nice hard thud added to the sensation. All three will leave welts with very, very little effort.
Not many people I play with ever want to receive such sharp impact sensations, which really is a shame to me, because they were some of my favourites. I guess that I’ll just be extra-excited every time I’m allowed using them on a person!
- NB QTs:
Have I mentioned that I have a penchant for surrounding myself with gorgeous poly, queer, nonbinary folks? I was very worried that the event would end up being very cis and thus fairly uncomfortable for me to present in ways that felt comfortable. And yet, on the first day of camp, I managed to befriend eight amazing trans/nb humans with whom I ended up spending most of my camp time.It wasn’t just them, either. All around camp, I was surrounded by folks who were visibly, beautifully, trans and/or nonbinary. There was a large number of people like me there; I didn’t need to go hunting for them or worry that I’d be the only one at the workshop/play party/in the dungeon because they were all over. And it was powerful. I would have enjoyed myself either way, but this was, hands down, the one thing that made me feel the most welcome there.
- Packing Considerations:
I didn’t know what to pack for my travels – I was going to many cities and different types of events, and trying to pack light. Because of this, I opted to leave my Sheets of San Francisco Funsheet Plus Flat Sheet 1 at home, and I regretted this immensely. I first used my sheet at SFS’s #fistmas party, where the sheet was covered in lube, blood,
ejaculate, and crepes during a ~five hour fisting party. And it was like-new again after washing it, despite this treatment! I opted to not bring it due to suitcase space considerations, figuring that I wouldn’t actually need to use it that often as the dungeon supplies pads. This was a mistake! I had several scenes out in the woods or in public spaces where we ended up altering what we were doing due to inability to properly clean up, and there were also a few times when I had to sit naked in the cold, damp grass and I wish I had one just to keep my tush and feet warm. Next year, it’ll definitely be worth the luggage real estate!
- Make Back-Up Plans for the Back-Up Plans:
While at camp, I did a conference-call workshop at a different conference in Toronto. I had planned ahead for this – staked out a quiet spot that wouldn’t have any workshops during that hour, brought my portable charger, tested to make sure my reception was good…I was set!And then the rain started. And didn’t stop. So workshops were moved around and suddenly there was something in my “quiet spot with outlet”. And in my other option. And I hadn’t managed to charge my phone yet that day and whoops – my portable charger was dead, too. So there I was, 21% battery, racing around camp trying to find something in 7 minutes.
Thankfully other queers are more prepared than me! Three of the aforementioned cuties were camped near me and they had an extension cord hooked up to an outlet so their tents had power! I gratefully settled in in the nick of time, The conference went great; I talked about the intersections of my gender and sex work, and it was a lot of fun! I had to pee partway through, but wasn’t too worried about this until the Q&A. We were slightly over the expected hour and by now I really needed to pee. And the zipper on my friends’ tent was stuck on the outside, and it was still pouring rain outside so no one was walking by to assist. I struggled with the tent for about 10 minutes, becoming more and more frantic in my need to pee, trying to present like nothing was wrong to the professionals that I was on speakerphone with, and then finally – finally! – managed to free myself. I ran about a dozen paces from the tent, pulled my packer out of my pants, peed in the grass (thankful I was wearing assless shorts and no underwear), and continued talking about how my escorting is, as a trans person, inherently educational, therapeutic, and activist work. And (as far as I know), no one knew that I almost peed my friends’ tent. You know, Sheets of San Fransisco are good for piss play, too. Should’ve predicted I’d be nearly peeing my shorts in a tent, I guess…. 2
- The Lake:
Camp was a chance for me to explore and to push my limits in several areas; the main one being fear. Now, I love lakes. I grew up near them and find them to be very peaceful. I also like being terrified and made to believe that a cruel person may just drown me in one.
The weather was a bit too cold for me to get as much face-to-face time as I wanted with the lake, but we definitely did give each other an appreciative nod as I was shoved to my knees while rope made its way around my body and, most importantly, around my neck. I locked eyes with that lake, wondered how closely we would become acquainted, but alas, the cold kept us apart this year. There’s always next summer, right??
The other limit that I was able to push was blood. I’ve long since lusted after play involving knives and needles, but my intense, visceral trauma-reaction to the mere thought of blood has made me avoid it like the plague.I’ve been working hard lately on getting over my mental block over this – not because I want to like blood play (that’s too ambitious a goal, I think), but because I want to be able to even think about the kinks that I do enjoy – and had gotten myself to the point pre-camp where I thought I would be able to actually engage in some light blood play. As is typical for me, I don’t do things halfway, so this camp I received needles in my arm, staples in my leg, did some word carvings on a friend (twice!), saw the gorgeous fox carving that Ms Pomegranate got, and watched a couple other friends receive needles and staples.
Out of what I tried, the only thing that really appealed to me were carving my friend up with my claws and her blades, but perhaps that’s because the rest were done in a demo capacity, not in a scene. Surprisingly, watching someone else’s staples was the hardest for me, by far. Leaving camp has resulted in the addition of about 5000 sharp things to my wishlist, plus Amazon sending me emails about “zombie hunting knives” – which is something I hadn’t searched for, but was very pleased to start! Hooray for evolving kinks, I suppose!
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- Sheets of San Francisco is a fantastic company that makes sex sheets that feel simply divine and can hold up to all manner of play – from sex, lube, wax, dirt, blood, and more, and they can easily be thrown into the washing machine to make them like-new again. Air dry. ↩
- Hire me, y’all. I’ll most likely not pee near you mid-sentence, but apparently I cannot promise this. ↩