Students, business people unpack the ‘safe, sane and consensual’ world of BDSM

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in News | Posted on 04-30-2018

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Students, business people unpack the ‘safe, sane and consensual’ world of BDSM

In the wake of the controversial “Fifty Shades” trilogy that captivated audiences with its erotic vérité while raising questions about the movies’ portrayals of sexual fetishes, a local business has enjoyed increased foot traffic from people both experienced and new to kinks and/or the BDSM community.

Mike Menard, the owner of Crave, has been in the business for over 20 years. His store caters to kinks, or sexual practices considered unconventional, such as BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism). Menard said the practice centers around generating endorphins, comparing the sensation to a runner’s high.

“It’s all about play, just having fun,” Menard added. “It’s something that adds to our individual relationships.”

Located off of Johnston Street in the Fiesta Village shopping center, Crave specializes in couple’s toys, lingerie, bondage and other items that cater to fetishes.

On the wall, products run what Menard calls “the gamut.” Items, placed on the wall in a busy-yet-organized fashion, range from skimpy undergarments to lingeries (for both men and women), to dildos, butt plugs, vibrators, cockrings, leather harnesses, cock sheaths, floggers, massage oils and the most basic of ropes.

Menard became intrigued in the adult store industry when working as a private investigator. While watching the owner of an adult store for undisclosed reasons, he said, he observed every shopper walking out with purchased items.

“I thought … that’s probably a good business,” he recalled.

Roughly 20 years have passed since then, and Menard is still in the business. With a business partner, they’ve also managed Diggler’s Adult Superstore in Patterson. Now he’s opened Crave.

Crave isn’t alone in Lafayette: longtime love staples such as LoveWorks and Cupid’s Closet are also located on or near arterial city roadways.

Justin David is an employee of Crave but also a burlesque dancer, fetish performer and emcee entertainer who goes by the stage name of Queen D. He also described the sexual sensations “like smoking a lot of weed.”

David said people tend to misunderstand the concept of submission for becoming a lesser partner in the exchange.

“To allow someone to have that control over you, there’s a strength in that,” David said.

David added that BDSM, at its core, is about being safe.

Menard interjected with what is called “safe, sane and consensual” play. Menard said people will come in for a variety of reasons, such as an 18-year-old who waited a couple years just to get in, to an old couple who are looking to spice up their sex life.

“Most people who come in are everyday neighbors, doctors and the people you meet,” Menard said, with the intent for the store to be “soccer mom-friendly,” or “a place that anyone can walk into and be comfortable.”

“Kinkwise,” Menard added, “you’ll get people who saw ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ and say, ‘Oh, I want to go spank somebody.’”

Prior to the movie, Menard stated business wasn’t as easy.

Although the movie wasn’t a great depiction of the BDSM scene, David said, the book and film allowed people the privilege of knowing they weren’t alone in their desires.

“It’s OK if you want to be spanked or for someone to take a flogger to your back,” he said.

Menard said the movie gave people an opening, or an excuse for them to bring it up to their significant other.

Students were asked for their opinion on kinks and adult toy stores.

“I wouldn’t share that information with someone I just met,” said Chris, senior in graphic design, “but maybe with close friends.”

Chris said he’s only been to a sex shop once out of curiosity, and he doesn’t think there’s anything to be ashamed of.

“It’s not embarrassing or anything,” said an anonymous student, “but I’d rather buy anything related to kinks online.”

The student added it’s normal for people to have kinks, and that no one should feel degraded at the prospect of it.

One way Crave is set apart from its competition (primarily Amazon, according to Menard) is in its leather BDSM products. All leather products are made in-house, allowing them to customize it for the user.

Menard started learning how to make his own leather products after buying from a toymaker in New Orleans for several years. The man was sick and was going to retire from the business when Menard asked him to pass on his skills to him.

“I don’t know a place between Atlanta and Dallas that does what we’re doing,” Menard said.

Menard also does educational events for people interested in learning about the scene. Two rotating events happen in Crave’s designated classroom: the third Thursday of the month a randomly chosen kink topic is taught, and the last Monday of any given month a rope workshop is hosted.

Menard said they’ve only done one Thursday class so far, and its subject was impact play, which was an overview of all the tools and lasted a couple of hours. This Thursday’s class is all about negotiation and consent, and Menard adds it will be a great beginner class. A $5 entry fee includes food and drinks.

Menard said it is a good time to get involved. He noted the internet has changed different aspects of the business, attributing it to slower sales of adult videos, but adding it has provided more beneficial traffic in other ways, opening avenues of discussion.

Menard mentioned FetLife, a social networking site dedicated to BDSM, fetishes and kinks, as a harmless and safe way for people in the local community to discover one another. He likens it to a “Facebook for kinks,” though profiles can remain anonymous.

“You can try yourself,” Menard added, “but the time required to understand BDSM can be greatly lessened by getting involved with the community.

“It’s like Ollivander’s, the wand shop in ‘Harry Potter:’ you gotta find the right one,” David said of the various leather and BDSM related items.

“I hope that people who are interested in kinks take the time to find resources that will take that journey along,” Menard said.

Season 5 Episode 2

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Advice, Announcements, Contests, Opinion, Podcast, Rope Squirrel | Posted on 04-22-2018

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Season 5 Episode 1 | Season 5

Season 5 Episode 2

Kink in the Chain is back for our fifth season! We are excited! We have lots of things planned for 2018. Stay tuned!

This week, we tackle a topic that people ask me all the time. How to for starters go to a BDSM con and some tips and tricks for doing so. What do you think about this? Sound off in the comments below!

Questions this week:

  • Todd in Maine – Scenes with my Top GF have become routine. Honestly, it’s like I can see into the future. As soon as the blindfold goes on, I know what is coming next. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy what we do, but the predictability is starting to get to me. We added the blindfold actually to keep guessing, but it doesn’t really help….. What can I do?
  • Cynthia in Arizona – I need help! I know I am service oriented and a submissive in general. Naturally, I gravitate toward the submissive role whenever I scene. However, because I want to please everyone, I sometimes feel like I get walked all over. I don’t always get what I am looking for. How can I assert myself?
  • Stacy in Tennesee – Whenever I attend events and I enter the playspace, I am immediately confronted with scenes featuring types of play that I dislike or am scared of. I know I have no right to ask those people to stop playing but I cannot play in those spaces either. The energy is off and it ruins the night for me. Help!

As always, if you’d like to submit a question for a future show, please email [email protected] or call 804-404-KINK and leave a message.

Don’t forget! To celebrate our 5th Season, we are doing a giveaway. Click here to sign up. It ends May 1st. It asks for your email, but that is JUST for verification. We will NOT be keeping any of this data after the contest is over.

Season 5 Giveaway ($50 Amazon Gift Card)

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Announcements, Contests | Posted on 03-31-2018

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Season 5 Giveaway

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Contest Rules & Disclaimer

One group of entries per user. Using multiple emails or social media profiles to enter multiple times will result in disqualification.

Not affiliated with Amazon

To celebrate our 5th season, we are giving away a $50 Amazon gift card. All you have to is enter. You can gain additional entries by using the social links and sharing this post. I realize that not everyone would want to share this podcast on a vanilla facebook or twitter so you can share the link it generates anywhere, even FetLife (but FetLife doesn’t have an easy share API, so you have to copy the link). Also, to prevent fraud, it will have you verify your email address. Know that ANY information collected WILL NOT be used for marketing purposes.

The contest will start on April 1st, 2018 and run until May 1st, 2018

Good luck and thank-you for being a loyal listener.

Legal stuff:

Season 5 Episode 1

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Advice, Announcements, Opinion, Podcast, Rope Squirrel | Posted on 02-19-2018

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Season 5 Episode 1 | Season 5

Season 5 Episode 1

Kink in the Chain is back for our fifth season! We are excited! We have lots of things planned for 2018. Stay tuned!

This week, we tackle a rather polarizing topic, politics in kink. We want to hear from you! What do you think about this? Sound off in the comments below!

Questions this week:

  • Todd in Maine – Scenes with my Top girlfriend have become routine. Honestly, it’s like I can see into the future. As soon as the blindfold goes on, I know what is coming next. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy what we do, but the predictability is starting to get to me. We added the blindfold actually to keep guessing, but it doesn’t really help….. What can I do?
  • Cinthia in Arizona – I need help! I know I am service oriented and a submissive in general. Naturally, I gravitate toward the submissive role whenever I scene. However, because I want to please everyone, I sometimes feel like I get walked all over. I don’t always get what I am looking for. How can I assert myself?
  • Stacy in Tennesee – Whenever I attend events and I enter the playspace, I am immediately confronted with scenes featuring types of play that I dislike or am scared of. I know I have no right to ask those people to stop playing but I cannot play in those spaces either. The energy is off and it ruins the night for me. Help!

As always, if you’d like to submit a question for a future show, please email [email protected] or call 804-404-KINK and leave a message.

Season 4 Episode 5

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Interview, Podcast | Posted on 10-13-2017

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Season 4 Episode 5

Firstly, I talk about the bad parts of ending a relationship and what you can do to be a better person in general and in the eyes of the people around you.

 

Then, we talk with Christian Kennedy about her new book The One Gold Slave. She was an absolute pleasure and think you all might enjoy the interview. It was a lot of fun to do. We discuss the book and her beginnings in the BDSM community (apparently, she was a dominatrix first). I’ll tell you one thing though, this book is FAR superior to Fifty Shades of Grey.

Season 4 Episode 5 | Christian Kennedy - The One Gold Slave.

Link to book: http://amzn.to/2zdQqQY

 

As always though, we answer your questions, and Christian was gracious enough to help answer them as well.

Questions this week:

  • Tim in Nevada: I love my partner with all my heart. She is perfect for me. Well… almost. There are some types of play that she simply does not enjoy. The issue here is that I love doing them. Whenever I bring up the desire to play with others to fulfill my needs, a fight ensues usually revolving around me wanting to “cheat” on her. I don’t want to lose her, but I am going crazy not being able to do certain types of play, how do I broach this?
  • Elsa in Connecticut: I am relatively new to the scene. When I go to events, I’m often too scared to actually approach people to play. However, I really want to. It’s just… hard. How do I talk to people and bring up this topic without seeming creepy?
  • Jessica in Florida: My partner requested that she become my slave. The thing is, I have no idea what to do with it. I rather like the idea, but it’s daunting to think what to do with this submission. What should I be doing? What should I have them be doing?

As always, if you’d like to submit a question for a future show, please email [email protected] or call 804-404-KINK and leave a message.

Season 4 Episode 4

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Interview, Opinion, Podcast, Rope Squirrel | Posted on 09-05-2017

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Season 4 Episode 4

Season 4 Episode 4 | TheCage.co logo

This week, I interviewed Eva from TheCage.co. They have actually been featuring my podcast for quite some time and I am grateful for it. We speak about their troubles in getting a mobile app into the app store as well as the current political climate regarding tech and BDSM. We go off on a lot of different tangents but it is an interesting discussion.

 

Questions for this week:

  • Jada in Oregon – How do I improve the overall quality of my scenes? Don’t get me wrong, they are fun, but lately, they seem stale and “the same thing” over and over again. I leave the scene wanting more but don’t really know what “more” is.
  • Samantha in Florida – I’m looking to start some kind of event in my local area. There is a lot going on admittedly. Any tips for me about how to start an event, how to run it and how to keep it running?
  • Lee in Nevada – I’ve been searching for quite some time to find someone to play with and/or have an LTR with. It’s been many years and I feel that I have reached a brick wall. I’ve had relationships and play partners, but they just don’t seem to last. Any tips you have to break through this impassable barrier.

Season 4 Episode 3

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Advice, Interview, Podcast, Product Review, Rope Squirrel | Posted on 06-23-2017

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Season 4 Episode 3

Firstly, I speak about how to build a scene. I go over some of the tricks I’ve learned and ways to make sure a scene goes smoothly.


I also get the pleasure of reviewing a product I purchased. A Behindbarz Chastity belt.

Note: They gave me a discount code if any of you would like to purchase one. Just use the promo code: RopeSquirrel50 and get £50 off (USD Conversion)

Full disclosure: BehindBarz did give me a slight discount on a belt, but there was no non-disparagement agreement. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by receiving a discount.

Introduction:

I was first introduced to this brand at Spanksgiving 2016. I was teaching a class on chastity and one of the audience members showed me his belt (with his keyholder’s permission of course 🙂 ). I fell in love with the belt. It looked so secure and the one issue I’d been having with belts is that I didn’t feel secure. I have some skill at lock picking and some of my previous models did not withstand my attempts. The only solution was the plastic locks but I liked the look of metal locks. To me, a scene isn’t complete if I feel that I can escape whenever I want. So I wanted a belt that made me truly feel helpless.

I reached out to Behindbarz and was very impressed with their product. They also allowed a significant amount of customization and that was really appreciated. For example, I requested mine in purple (and ordered matching cuffs from another person) and even had bondage attachment points put on the side of it. I elected for the Hanibal 1 model which only partially encloses the genitals to facilitate long term wear (at the advice of the Behindbarz staff.

Opening the box:

The belt was shipped quickly and arrived wrapped all pretty. I was really impressed with the presentation of the belt. I even got a laugh at the customs paperwork (it did ship from the UK) where it said the contents of the box was a metal sculpture. Still, opening the box was a treat and I rather enjoyed the experience. Because the order was rushed to get it to me in time for a presentation at Colorado LeatherFest, it is possible that one thing was overlooked. No instructions were included in mine. Being a tech guy by trade a rarely read instructions unless I have questions, but the wonderful staff was responsive to my questions via emails. I am sure that if I have any further questions, they would be happy to answer them for me.

Putting it on:

Putting the belt on was fairly straight forward. Initially, as it is with most belts, it takes some adjusting and getting used to. However, this involves bending and putting it on and seeing where it pinches. It did take a few weeks of work (though I could have done it quicker) but it is reasonable comfortable. The belt features twin cylinder key locks and I have yet to figure out how to pick those. I’ve found that wearing the “locking athletic cup” can sometimes protrude from khaki dress pants (which I wear every day). In order to avoid it being seen, I wear track pants and that seems to do the trick. However, to wear it to work, I simply have the front plate removed and then it’s fairly inconspicuous and yet fairly effective.  It takes a lot of bending before I got it comfortable, but now it’s hardly noticeable.

Overall impressions:

I really do like the product overall. It took some work to get a good fit, but in the end, it is effective. There is one area that it didn’t pass. Using a vibrator, I was able to achieve an orgasm, however, I am accustomed to vibrators and was rather aroused at the time. It wasn’t a very good orgasm, but it was possible, and I think I am in the minority of men (though I could be wrong) that uses a vibrator. However, I have yet to find a belt or cage that can prevent me from doing so. It certainly prevents sex and does it well. There really isn’t much chance of that happening. I originally thought that a more covered Hannibal model might solve the problem, but the way I achieved it was simply to vibrate the Hannibal itself so I don’t think more coverage would have hindered me.

As with all belts, you can’t really use a urinal and this in and of itself can take some getting used to. It is possible to use a urinal, but you might end up peeing on your shoes and who wants that? Use a stall. It’s the best way. There is minimal drippage afterward and a piece of toilet paper usually takes care of that effectively. Don’t forget to though or you might have a surprise in your pants later. I’ve also found that wearing underwear is not very comfortable so going commando, at least for me is ideal.

Can I get the thing off? Nope! Not without metal cutters. It is VERY secure. I truly feel helpless when I am locked in the device. I have tried to pick the lock, but so far, with no avail.

One thing I’ve actually found is that, with the Hannibal cup in place, you are fairly well armored. Actually had someone accidentally hit me in the groin (they were playing a VR game and I was walking near them) and let’s just say that I appreciated being armored. Didn’t even feel it.

Photos of me in belt

(coming soon)

Where can you get one?

The only place that I know if is their website:

http://www.behindbarz.co.uk

Be sure to use my promo code.  RopeSquirrel50 to get £50 off (USD Conversion)

 

As promised, here is the recipe for the evil hot sauce popsicle:

Season 4 Episode 3 | Hot Sauce Popsicles.

First step:  Get an ice cube tray.
Second step:  Mix hot sauce and V8.
Last step:  Freeze for 1 1/2 days.

 


However, that is not all, I also get to speak with the people responsible for the product! I’m so happy. The interview is in this week’s episode. I speak with Joe from BehindBarz.


Finally, as we always do, we answer your questions. This week:

  • David in Illinois – I think I have control issues. The idea of chastity really does turn me on (so much so that sometimes when the belt or cage comes out I get hard and can’t put it on) but when I do put it on and the keys get taken away, I’m ok at first, but then I start to get angry and upset. I really don’t know why I feel this way. I think though it might stem from being out of control. Do you have any tips to overcome this?
  • Kendra in Washington – I’ve never been a keyholder before. My female partner wanted to be locked up and have control taken away from her. I’m nothing if not a pleaser, but now I’m not sure what to do? Can you give me an idea of some activities?
  • Charles in Maine – I can’t sleep in my belt. No matter how much I adjust it I do wake up in discomfort most nights. I am currently using a belt style of chastity belt. Would I have better luck with a cage or something? Cages seem to not fit me very well either. If I make the belt too tight it’s more comfortable at first, but then not. If I make it loose, it is just uncomfortable. How can I improve the fit of my belt to make it more comfortable?

I do realize these questions are chastity heavy, but I figured they suited the guests this week.

 

Quick poll on editing style.

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Announcements, Poll | Posted on 04-26-2017

A quick poll for you all

Do you prefer

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Now on YouTube!

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Announcements | Posted on 03-29-2017

Link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6zuHodctICfVr82me-5A3A

I figured we should branch out more. We are now live on YouTube! Exciting. Not all the episodes are there, but I’m slowly getting them uploaded. Eventually, they will ALL be up there too.

 

Season 4 Episode 2

Posted by Rope Squirrel | Posted in Interview, Opinion, Podcast, Product Review, Rope Squirrel | Posted on 03-28-2017

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Season 4 Episode 2

This week: I discuss presenting and sharing notes about a class you attended. I actually have to drop my persona to talk about this because it personally affects me as a BDSM presenter (not so much as a podcaster)

 

I also got to speak with Janine with Warm, a product to warm up your toys before using them.

Season 4 Episode 2 | Warm product closed

As always we answer your questions:

 

  • Question 1: Kelly in Florida – I’m really kind of new to BDSM in general and I totally want to try all the things! However, I’m torn. There are some things I want to try (violet wand for example) that cost a lot and I have no idea if I will like them at all. Should I purchase a top of the line model first or should I buy cheap, knowing it may break, just in case I don’t like it?
  • Question 2: Rose in Texas – Over the past few months, the scenes with my master have become almost routine. He does know what I like and does a very good job of providing it, however even blindfolded, I know what the next thing will be usually. How can I bring back the spontaneity? I mean, I do know that I don’t like much else outside of what he does (or at least I don’t think so), and I guess I shouldn’t mess with something that isn’t broken, but I’d like to be surprised.
  • Question 3: Doug in Massachusetts – My partner and I are both switches. We don’t only play with one another, but we also play with other people. I don’t honestly mind if she plays with other people in general, my problem comes when she does things with them that we do together as well. Just so I am not being cryptic let’s pick one… say… electrical play. When she does this with others, I get jealous. I know I have no right to be, but it still affects me regardless. How do I overcome this problem?

Season 4 Episode 2 | Warm LogoSeason 4 Episode 2 | Warm Product

Full disclaimer: I was not compensated (aside from receiving a review model) to review warm, nor was I required to sign a non-disparagement agreement. My opinions are my own and I stand by them. I offered the creators to come on the show to speak about their product and was not compensated for that either.

 

It was a pleasure to try out the product. While it wouldn’t work for everything that I do kink-wise, it certainly changes how certain toys feel. It was suggested that I could warm up my rope but to be frank it would be difficult to warm an entire rope all at once. Warming it in chunks would cause the others to get cold. Therefore, unless it was significantly larger, warming rope simply isn’t practical. Other smaller toys though were really interesting. Warming up a Wartenberg wheel for example. Too often we play with the extremes or neutral temperatures. Fire play versus ice play for example. It is nice to have an in-between.

My partner got the pleasure of trying out her insertables and she did comment that it changed the experience significantly. For example, we used a glass dildo. Normally it is very cold when it is first inserted (as glass should be). After spending some time in the pouch, it was body temperature. Now normal use would cause it to warm up to begin with, but it was nice to start like that.

While I would certainly say this product will not prove to be useful to every single kinkster, it certainly is a multipurpose toy that can change an experience in a variety of types of play.

Interested in checking out warm? http://experiencewarm.com.

 

 

 

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