How was the event?

On the drive back from Dark Odyssey: Fusion, my friend asked me “So, how was the event?  Did you have fun?”

My Boy piped up and asked if he could answer it for me.  Out of sheer amusement, I said yes.  He said not really, as I was too busy running everything.

My brain stops, I pause, I consider… and I say I disagree.

I had a very different time than the average attendee might have, but I enjoyed the fact that I got to facilitate amazing experiences for others- and for me, the fact that I got to play with my partner almost every day, and also got in 1.5 other scenes (do the math as you will)… that is a LOT for me.

There is a mythology it seems that either (a) sex educators, erotic performance artists, kink event producers and other such folk get laid at every turn and are rolling in the hotness or (b) never get any.  I find that my reality nowadays is somewhere in the middle.  It used to be a LOT more of B than A, but I have spent a lot of time in the past few months re-programming myself and putting my sex life as part of my priorities.

The average attendee pays a fee, attends an event, goes to a few classes, hooks up with folks, connects with their partner, sees a show, and then heads home.

I live and work where you play, and thus, the experience is a bit different.

Dark Odyssey: Fusion began for me back in October.  We have been organizing space needs, handling travel arrangements, writing program copy, choosing website images, finagling stresses around location layout and finding out that X or Y was not the option we thought it was… for months.  My move and working on a book meant that a stack of my pre-event computer work did not not get done, which meant on-site when others were laughing and flirting, I was behind a desk typing up work-order sheets.  I made signs while others fucked.

Mind you, the trade off… is SO rich.  I got to weave 3 amazing rituals, and create the space for all of the special events.  I got to assist with what was perhaps the best title contest of any sort ever run (no, really, ask Karen Taylor, Laura Antoniou, Lolita Wolf, Nayland…), and so much more.  I literally wove dream into reality, made magic happen on a thousand fronts.  I touched lives, I inspired…

and this time, I even played.

I stopped playing at events about a year and a half ago when, at an event, my trust was severely broken.  I made mistakes- I played with another presenter (1), in the main dungeon (2), on a piece of equipment near the center of the room (3) doing a high-production loud scene (4), after doing 4 classes in one day (5.)  That’s a lot of mistakes.  I call them mistakes because add them up and attendees likely thought that it was a show, and I was more drained than I should have been for that scene- and more drained for me = more emotionally sensitive.

Balanced on one foot, painfully bound and being single tailed, I heard a noise.  I heard my voice.  I tried to block it out.  It kept up, many voices.  My Top is doing nothing.  I spin around.  There is a crowd.  They are cheering me on, in my pain, in my suffering.  I spin back around, look at my Top.  Nothing.  He keeps hitting me.  I spin back around, I finally scream “If you are not part of my scene, fuck the fuck off” or some similar statement.  I spin back to my Top, scream “bring it!”

I understand that folks probably thought it was a show.  I am sure there are folks who like that kind of interaction from strangers, or in this case, their students.  But for me it felt like a violation, in all directions.  Students who had been absorbing from me all day, absorbing more when I was finally getting a chance to recharge, re-fuel.  A Top who did not notice.  A wondering in my heart if I still was allowed to have joy and kink within my own community.

Don’t work where you play, right?

Then why do it?  It certainly isn’t for the heaps of gold.  Where are those heaps of mythical gold anyway?

I will not complain, as every need I have is taken care of.  I have a roof over my head, food in my belly, dear friends, an amazing partner, and am beloved for the Work I do for the Gods I serve.

And yet, I hurt.  I hurt so bad on the inside.  Folks would find me at events and be “so, how much are you playing this weekend.”  My answer “none.”  They blink.

At Twisted Tryst I made a declaration, to forgive my community.  That I wanted to forgive my community.  That I wanted to have a space again where I could fuck and rut and play and dance and have it be part of a community, not just facilitating community for others.

So this time I played.  A step at a time.  And it is a delicate balance, so delicate.  Can we play *that* way, whatever that is, and still have folks believe my words?  If I do *that* scene, will folks understand?  Will I loose actual income and livelihood if folks see me differently?

For quite some time I have been mistaken as a Top.  I enjoy topping, doing, giving… but that is not the whole of my identity.  My former Girl even had a shirt made for me that said “Sexual Pig Bottom,” so that folks would remember that I like *getting* fucked far more often than I like *fucking*.  And I adore women, and enjoy playing with them, and I certainly do love romancing them… but my dick gets much harder for men and masculine spectrum individuals.  Or men in dresses, that are clearly male identified even in being femme.  It’s just how I am wired.  The reason I so often do not play at events is because 95% of the offers (give or take 5%) in the past few years has been from female bottoms.  Thank you, and yes, I will play with some of you… but I am very happy with the amount of Topping I do with my Property.  I can do some more, but to refill my juice, I want to Bottom to men.

And with that tangent, we get back to the question.  How was the event?

I had a really good time.  I love being the Creative Director for Dark Odyssey: Fusion, and coming up in a few months the head of Programming for Dark Odyssey: Summer Camp.  It’s good stuff.  I am amazed at how reality is woven and dreams become manifest.  And since making that oath, that prayer, that calling heard to the universe sent up in flames (and yet captured in advance by the photo lens… because there is no “Away”)- I am finding that space for forgiveness.  I found at Fusion chances for magic- even if off to the side rather than the center stage my exhibitionistic heart wants to be.  Step at a time, I breathe, step at a time.

This time it is nails into skin and the taste of sangria on my skin as I kiss congregant after congregant.  This time it is my Boy’s dick in my ass as he is bound beneath me, outside in the dungeon tent with no one else around except the occasional passer by.  Some year I will finally get up the nerve to ask for the kidnapping I desire.  Some year I will embrace the fantasies of me buried beneath the heap of my own heart as I am broken and bloody.  And instead of waiting, I take steps, to be more me every day.  Through forgiveness.  Through compassion.

So yeah, the event was pretty good.  And we will make it even better next time.  All of us.


Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.


  1. Thank you for a lovely event! I am so glad that you are weaving your way back to happy event play. Let us all bring back less fear each time. And maybe one day, like you, I too will be ready to ask for that horribly exciting kidnapping that lurks behind my eyes.

  2. Lorelei Baltimore (Layne)

    Lee… Creative Director! Yesss… My partner and I have dreamed of a visit to a space like Dark Odyssey for many years between us. I have been walking to the door and walking away (figuratively) of DO for the last 7 years! Our first DO was an amazing experience altogether and even more so a deep experience of sex, play and human beings as ART… We agreed that the artistic aspect was hugely inspiring, enlivening and powerful. Well done and many thanks!

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