We here at Bad Feminist UK have enjoyed some rather nice invitations from rather nice people; from the wonderful women of the Feminism in London conference, from drag kings wanting their books reviewed by us, from Parliament.
But none so nice as an invitation to attend a Sensual Spanking Salon in the prettiest sex shop in London, to meet internationally adored bondage and sexuality expert Midori and her alliteratively alluring spanking models Dangerous Dolly and Lady Lorelei. It would have been churlish (and indeed, highly unlikely) of us to refuse….
So Midori, you’re traveling the world teaching sexual prowess to strangers…. Are you a sex-worker? A teacher? Are you a feminist? What’s it like giving head in front of an audience? Can we touch you, can we? Can we?
I absolutely identify as a feminist; I come from three generations of feminists, and I am continuing that. I define myself as a sexuality educator and writer. When it comes down to it, a lot of what I do could be called ‘edu-tainment’ but I do a lot of work around freeing people of their anxieties. Reducing anxieties, giving permission, and part of permission is setting boundaries.
Tonight you saw the spanking class, but a lot of my classes are for mainstream folk. My best-selling class is Joy Stick Secrets: How To Thrill A Man . I provide coaching; whether or not the audience choose to step up and participate is up to them, but I make it very safe for everybody. I have to read the audience; when I first went to Canada I was teaching in Toronto the audience was very polite and quiet, but by the second or third trip word had spread, they knew I was a joker, they were casual, they were funny. That was great.
As far as the Brits go? They’re not used to bedroom skills workshops, whereas in the parts of the States that I go to a lot they’re used to it. They know the routine. They show up early, they sit down, they know it’s going to be a fun night, and they show up eager to participate. Brits are more shy, they’re not used to the interaction so I have to work a bit harder to draw them out.
My aim with my workshops, installations and performance is getting people towards a greater state of authenticity.
So you’re a best-selling blow-job tutor. Dismantling the patriarchy one deep-throat at a time?
“Joystick Secrets; How To Thrill A Man” is a slightly misleading title because woven into it is ‘What would please you?’, ‘Are you working your Kegels?’ ‘Are you taking charge of your sex life?’ I am encouraging women to be true to their pleasure. When women become active gourmet sexperts in their own life, more discerning lovers, they are going to demand more from their partners. No settling for junk-food sex!
I also love it when guys come along and I ask them to give me a nod or a Hallelujah if what I am saying rings true!
And what about your work within the fetish community? Are sexually submissive women doing the sisterhood a dis-service? Shouldn’t we all be cracking whips and giving boys a good telling off?
An individual who has examined her desire, her place in the world, who says ‘this rings true to me’, who participates in life with full agency, if she is a sexual submissive she may be subject to backwards assumptions that she is helpless and abused, but no. We are agents of our own sexuality; if erotic surrender is what works for a woman then more power to her.
On the other hand, if they’re just playing along with a role, whether dominant or submissive, unexamined and its not true to them then they could perhaps stand a little schooling.
The stereotype of the whip-cracking ice-mistress is thankfully fading, although certain strands of the media persist with it because it sells eyeball time. But what I’m finding is that more and more women are interested in different expressions of erotic power, including surrender, including dominance, and they are adding that to see if they can find greater fulfillment. I think in media the ‘man-hating nut-job with a whip’ is fading and I’ve even heard safe-words discussed in TV drama. So I think everything is changing. You should read my article on the new Power Femmes; I keep getting asked about this!
I hope I’m contributing to a positive change in attitudes to sexuality, because I’ve been working really hard for 15 years to do so! I think when people come to my classes they don’t expect a goofy, out-there girl. Mae West and Bette Midler did some great stuff and I’m right along for that, that sense of confidence. I’m obviously just another gal, I’m not all up here being an arch mistress.
Is everyone kinky these days?
Oh what’s kink?! If anyone gets a thrill out of raising someone’s eyebrow then they’re kinky. That could be a guy swinging on a flesh-hook, it could be your most conservative cousin; whatever gets a little schwing out of you then it’s kinky.
And now to the lovely Spanking Model, Dangerous Dolly. As well as being an aerialist and performer, you’ve very kindly lent a rear to your friends, Londoners and countrymen this evening. Was it good for you, darling?
I was feeling a bit under the weather today so we went gentle, and it’s nice to have a bit of chill time and be spoiled. Midori’s good at spoiling me! It’s not a performance so there’s no pressure, but certainly having a performance background helps me feel comfortable in front of an audience and to communicate with them. I want to make them feel comfortable so I’ll tell them what I’m feeling; I make a lot of faces and noises day to day so it’s easy for me to assist their voyeurism.
Its about people exploring something for themselves, often for the first time so we give them permission to play and we take the pressure off. Somewhere in the subconscious is a little tether, and lots of people hang on to it. We just want to give them a little taster outside of that bubble, to open their mind up to things they could take home to their sweetheart. It’s a real thrill to give people that.
The first time I worked for Midori was on the ‘Eating a Peach: How To Please a Woman’ class, which was a full demo on a live girlie, but it has changed a bit since then. I was really fascinated by how grateful people were for the chance just to see that for real. They came up to me to say thank you so much, so sincerely. It’s not staged, it’s not set, we decide on the day how we want to play. The most important thing for me in any play is fun. I don’t subscribe to ice mistress stern play; I can’t keep a straight face.
I’m a bit of a mutant and have had to have some surgery so part of this is a celebration of being well enough to join in. It’s not so much that I want to be objectified but that everyone has a body and it’s no big deal. It’s very important to find your own rules, to be considerate and to have fun.
Bad Feminist had a lovely time and learned lots of exciting new uses for our hairy little palms. To check out where Midori is teaching near you visit her site.