Beyond Bowed Heads: Rituals for Dominance and Submission (and Life at Large)
Rituals are a key part of any D/s relationship, whether acknowledged or otherwise. From casual kisses at the door to formal slave poses, ritual objects such as collars to slave contracts, the BDSM world is rife with concepts of ritual – but what is a ritual? What are the levels of ritualistic interaction we have between one another? Let’s look at our rituals in day to day life (including how to get out of work or parent space), sacred time, intense connection, erotic play, solidifying relationships, changes within relationships, and the taboo subject of the devastating loss of a relationship or its natural end. From terminology to developing codes of ethical interaction, this class covers a bevy of styles and types of interpersonal reactions that can help everyone in a relationship examine what they are already doing, and what they want to build together.
When Dr. Gary Chapman introduced his book “The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate,” he came from the lens of being a Baptist pastor who practiced monogamy, and certainly didn’t look at the perspective of “alternative” sexual and relationship practices. In this class/discussion, we will look at adapting the love languages (words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, physical touch) to these various relationship structures (whether friends, play partners/lovers, partners, life mates, or D/s dynamics). With touch, for example, someone might want a hug… or a spanking! A gift could be roses… or a collar. Let’s share from our hearts, our experiences, and look at some other tools for communicating care, affection, connection, appreciation, and love alike.
Open Hearts, Open Minds: Exploring “Alternative” Relationship Structures
Modern romance dictates that a single individual should fulfill all of our needs – from sharing joys and fears, co-parenting and financial commitments, to sexual happiness, identity confirmation, and spiritual fulfillment. Is this fair? We will look into what relationships give us, then explore a wide variety of relationship structures that are being employed to have people fill all of their needs. Monogamy and serial monogamy are valid options, but what about polyamory, swinging, pre-arranged trysts, friends with benefits, or choosing to be our own life partner? How do we communicate in our relationships to make whatever structure we choose actually work, and we’ll look into issues like jealousy vs. envy, new relationship energy, and making each of our friends and partners feel like the unique person they are in our lives.
Power Exchange, Energy Exchange: Energy Flow and Feeding Through Conscious Inequality, Dominance, and Submission
When power exchange is discussed in many circles of BDSM, the notion of power being literally exchanged is often glossed over or forgotten. Whether you are kinky or not, conscious constructions of interpersonal dynamics can be an intense tool for accessing life force and the dance of it between individuals or a group. We will look at types of conscious and unconscious power exchange dynamics, why people would want them (for an evening, a long-term connection or between lifetimes), and how to apply the technology to your own magical work, feeding, and life. This will also include safety and awareness of astral connections, unintentional bonding, and destructive behaviors. Power is power, and inequality is not inequity, so let us look at this together with eyes wide open.
Power Exchange, Power Dynamics: Conscious Inequality, Dominance, and Submission
Power permeates our every interpersonal interaction, from how we interact with the grocery clerk to our kink in the bedroom, and there is a difference between unconscious and conscious power use. However, in a variety of alternative sexuality and BDSM populations, these concepts are eroticized, often glossing over the context where these consensual erotic power plays come from. Let’s examine where power arises unconsciously or through oppression in culture, various types of power exchange dynamics, and why people would want to engage in them (for an evening, a long-term connection or between lifetimes). This will include conscious and unconscious roles, bonding within relationships, and even destructive behaviors. Power is power, but inequality is not inequity, so let us look at this together with eyes wide open.
Power Exchange with Rope
You have come to me to submit yourself to my will, and I will use my wicked mind and simple ties to bind your spirit to mind, my desires to yours. Have you always longed to say those words, but aren’t sure how to use your rope bondage skills (or don’t have any) to create dynamic tension in your Dominant/Submissive relationship dynamics? Whether you are looking to explore D/s in your rope for the first time, or are passionate about power exchange but hoping to explore some beginning rope, this class will give you a chance to examine and sample rope and power from all sides of the play using conversation, demonstration, and hands-on exercises.
Service That Actually Serves US: Giving and Receiving What WE Really Want
Are you sick of being asked to scrub the toilet as if your partner expects you to cum each time you do it for them? Does having your Submissive shave their balls three times a day actually help you live a full and fulfilling life? Let’s get down and dirty – talking about and working through exercises on establishing what service we really want, what we are able to give, and what drives us in service from all sides. Is it about effort, quality of outcome, detailed delivery, results, our resources expended… or getting hard/wet? Service is not just provided by Slaves and Submissive or Surrendering individuals – Masters, Mistresses, Mommies, Daddies, Boys, Girls, Lovers, and Friends will also get a chance to look at their desires and see what actually gets them what they actually desire.
Shifting In Our Open Hearts and Poly Relationships
Sometimes, we question whether polyamory is right for us, or whether the shape of our dynamic is a good fit for our passions, desires, and authentic selves. There are times when the world is shaky, or when a new flash of inspiration comes to the forefront and we need to jump to keep up with it. Let’s come together to discuss times when we have had challenges, doubts, fears, and second thoughts about our open relationships. We can turn our eye to how we have transformed one form of polyamory into another, and then another. Let’s see how we can keep our relationships sailing in the turbulent waters, and then find new harbors to call home on the other side of the uncertain waves.
Sir! Yes Sir!: Exploring Protocol in Power Exchange Dynamics
Everyone in the Dominant/Submissive and Master/Slave community seems to talk about protocol, but what is it exactly? Where does the line between “common sense” or “etiquette” stop, and protocol begin? We will look at what Protocol is in a power exchange context, delve into terminology, and then examine formats of commonly recognized protocol systems and how these things develop in individual relationships and group dynamics. How does protocol change from public interactions to existing 24/7 in private dynamics? Let’s look into how to further develop our chosen dynamics, implement them consistently, and discuss the difference between enforcing protocol and punishment techniques. These concepts do NOT just apply to M/s and D/s dynamics – from active listening to self-sabotage, this class will touch on communication and lifestyle skills for all types of relationships.
The Call Beyond Equals: Dominance and Submission 101
In our culture we are taught that the ideal relationship is one between equals – but some of us are drawn to power exchange, dominance, submission, service, surrender, and control for a variety of reasons. For some this is a fun roleplaying activity in the bedroom, and for others there is a calling from deep within to make this a reality in everyday life. We will discuss the variety of types of dominant/submissive and leader/follower relationship systems and structures out there, look at our own desires and fears with these sorts of play or relationships, and see how we can incorporate the parts that call to us into our sex lives or world at large.
Switching Strategies: Fulfilling Your Diverse Desires
The term “switch” has a lot of baggage attached to it in a polarized BDSM community, where you are expected to be a Top or a Bottom, a Master or a Slave – but there are a thousand reasons why many of us feel a calling to cross over from time to time – while others are born to ride a wide variety of sides of their souls. We will be addressing why people switch (Tops who want to know what it feels like, Slaves who want to serve masochistic Masters, greedy versatile pigs who want it all), strategies to finding play partners or relationship structures (one partner many roles, play partners outside of monogamous relationships, polyamory, swinging, open relationships, self-play), and create ways to check in with ourselves about what our own needs are. Let’s look at switching, and see what notions we are ready to embrace, and which need to be switched around.
Some educational material needs to be explored more deeply to truly absorb, or appreciate, the material. Over the years, Lee Harrington has developed these intensives as an opportunity for a group of students to dive into a topic, as well as other intensive learning opportunities for individual students. The one listed below is a three-day long immersive experience that involves specific logistical needs, though Lee has also developed curriculum to cover more complex topics over a series of classes rather than single weekend intensives. To bring an intensive to your town, please contact Lee.
Delving Into Power: D/s Intensive Weekend Experience
Ritual & Protocol
Desire & Connection
Body & Spirit
Personal Challenges & Experience
This three day intensive will journey through our personal experiences and desires for connected, intentional dominance and submission, as well as our further explorations as erotic adventurers and integrated individuals. We will begin by looking at what the rituals can mean within dominance and submission, and setting the intentions for our weekend together. In the morning we will take personal inventory of where we are starting from, what we long for, and what our inner wisdom holds, before turning our eye to what we want our systems for connection and communication hold. After that, we will tap into the possibilities of making D/s an empowering, spiritual and connectivity tool, not just a way to have a good time (though we like a good time, too). Finally we will split into peer discussion groups to explore our personal challenges and desires in D/s, our experiences and hopes, before coming back together to look at our perfect pictures again and work towards making them manifest.
This intensive is a single, intimate, experience. After we set our intentions, no new attendees will be able to join so that we can create safe space for individuals to share and listen with intent. Thus, the weekend also becomes unique, tailored and transformed based on the needs of the attendees and presenter. Adventurers in this intensive will be having a weekend experience, diving in together but coming up with tools for their own route through the maze of desire and passion. Come curious and hungry for ideas and information, and ready to open up and share your own longings and stories.