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

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

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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 22-04-2018

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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.

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