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Fetish

A tantric approach to BDSM

Master Crow (image supplied)

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I caught up with Michael, also known as Master Crow, to talk about sex, domination, and control.

You describe yourself as a ‘sensual dom’ — what does that mean in the context of the BDSM world?

A sensual Dom is one who uses the act of domination and control in a sensual way rather than painful way. Most Doms want to bring pain to the sub as a way to assert dominance. I use pleasure and desire along with some mild pain — to vary the sensations and keep the attention — to get them into sub-space. I don’t consider myself a sadist, so giving pain as a vehicle for me to get pleasure is not something I do.

How do you bring a Tantric approach to BDSM?

Tantra is about drawing the pleasure out and focusing on the sensations along the way to whatever the destination — orgasm, pleasure, or release. By using the principles of Tantra, I bring in Kink and BDSM experiences to ratchet up the sensations and the intensity of the session. Tantra is already about the sensations and their exploration. By bringing in BDSM-based sensations I’m also able to help the client get out of their head, into sub-space, or into a heavy endorphin flow.

Tantra teaches that ‘everything is an experiment’ so, for example, I might set up an experiment in staying conscious and present, such as — “I will flog you for 15 minutes and I want you to yell, scream, breathe, or whatever, into each strike by staying present, alert and aware.” Then at the end of the 15 minutes we might talk about what happened, and how that felt. It’s all about teaching them to be with the sensations and explore them and the experience rather than just being physically present but out of your body.

You advertise as having a ‘fully equipped dungeon’ — what does a BDSM dungeon need in order to be considered fully equipped?

To be “fully equipped” a space would need connection points for bondage and suspension, gear for the play — floggers, whips, cock and ball toys, rope, cuffs, and plenty of room. There’s always room for more things above those, but a minimum of tools available that someone could show up empty-handed and have everything they need for a full-on BDSM experience.

I want everyone who comes to me for pro-work, or comes in to rent my space for fun, to be able to explore all they want, and for me to have all the tools that might be needed for that exploration. The only thing I can’t equip the dungeon with is knowledge and skill, but that’s what I bring to the space and client sessions.

What sort of clients are generally looking for your services?

I have a wide range of male clients. Generally speaking, those around my age — 10–15 years above and below — tend to be drawn to me. The majority of the clients I get are tops or other Doms who want to experience what they give. The straight guys that I work on almost always say — “I’m just so tired of making decisions and being in charge.” The gay guys tend more towards — “I want to know what the things I’m doing feel like, and learn new skills.”

Since I’m not a sadistic Dom, my clients tend to be more of the explorer type than hard-core masochists. I advertise as a Sensual Dom, and so I attract those looking for experiences and education rather than beatings.

What does a typical session with you generally involve?

The session begins way before we actually meet. Once the client has made the decision to work with me and we’ve set a date and time for the session, then I send them several pieces of documentation for them to begin telling me about them and about their desires. The desires and boundaries they hold are communicated via a checklist of all the activities that I’m open to doing. I have a system where they can tell me which of those things they definitely want to include, which they definitely want to exclude, and those which are new to them but they want to explore. As they complete that information, we have any discussion necessary on it so that we both have a clear understanding of their desires and boundaries.

When they show up, I spend the first part of the session chatting with them about how they’re feeling in the moment. We talk about their info, their desires, my general plan, and answer any last-minute questions.

Once we have all of that out of the way and the physical contact begins, then I use all the info that I’ve gathered and where they are in the moment, and I create an experience for them from that. The key point here is that I then decide what things are done, for how long, and at what intensity. I do that based upon their info and not a mapped-out plan.

Part of the fun — for both of us — is not knowing exactly where things will go. They know what things they’ve said “include” to, and so my job is to surprise them with those choices in a manner that makes sense for the session. Before we start the session, I already have an idea of various “plot points” that I want to somehow work us into as we create their experience or story. Then I just stay with the experience and move things in that direction from point to point. It keeps them guessing and me attentive, and that’s a win for us both.

I love the sound of the Warrior Challenge game that you created for a client — how did that work?

As a kid, I was always the one making up games for my playmates and I. I’ve discovered that I can use those same skills for making up scenes based upon the desires and limitations of the client. The Warrior Challenge client is a guy that I’ve seen frequently over the years. He was able to afford for me to pull in five of my buddies to do this group scene with me. I knew that he likes to be pushed, to experience intense things, that he gets into military play, and loves surprises.

I came up with what I called the Warrior Challenge so that I could get the client and my buddies to push each other as both tops and bottoms. They came to the facility as specially selected field agents ready for training upgrades. I told them that they would be learning to be secret military interrogators and learning to withstand punishing interrogations at the same time by challenging each other to give and take more intense experiences. I decided to add in some luck of the draw to bring in the spontaneity so each person drew two names from a hat to determine who would be their tormentors (lead and assistant). I also knew that I had to manage what was done to each person because I was the only one who had knowledge of what each of them was into, enjoyed, and their boundaries.

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While the remaining three guys got the ‘hostage’ restrained in some way for the experience, I would have a quick consultation with the ‘captors’ about what to do with that person and how hard to go. Once things started, the three remaining guys surrounded and supported and encouraged them to go harder and take more. I stayed in the scene as an in-the-moment coach so that I could modulate the experience and keep everyone comfortable and safe.

By the end, everyone was exhausted, high on endorphins, blissed-out, and soaking wet with sweat. It was three hot hours of amazing experience after experience after experience, with everyone getting some time in every role. When my buddies and I see each other, that one is now the scene we reference as the one to beat.

Is role-play a big part of your work?

It’s not as big a part of my practice as I might like, but I get to do a scene about two or three times a month. I find role-play to be incredibly fun. When I was first asked for a role-play scene, like most everyone else I just thought — “I’ll feel silly and I won’t know what to say.” But, as a professional, I knew that I just needed to let those feelings go and go for it. I had a blast! Since then I’ve really taken the time to add all sorts of outfits and props for characters, so that I can be ready for pretty much any scene that comes along.

I enjoy role-play a great deal because once you decide that you’re another character, then you can do and say things that you might not do or say because you’re that character and not yourself. The thing is that once you get with the flow of it, it just comes naturally — with a well-placed statement or action, it can go in unexpected and exciting directions. The easy part is that while you may not know what to say when starting, you quickly learn that you don’t need to know. Staying present with the experience and just pretending you are that person is freeing and empowering. I never rely on a script. That’s too static for dynamic experiences like this.

Role-play can also be very healing because it allows us to re-engage situations which may have been challenging in the past or that didn’t end the way we might have liked or needed. In this space, with a safe distance from the original experience, we can choose a more desirable outcome that leaves the person feeling empowered by the experience rather than a victim of it. That positive imprint on the mind can help push out the negative experiences from the past when done with conscious work. The key is that it’s all play, so just have fun with it.

What are some of the challenges of being a sex-worker in the US at the moment?

Sex work in the US is in an awkward and uncomfortable place right now. We have a President claiming to be a Christian to gain the support of the white religious right, and so he’s pumping up the issues that get his base fired up. Abortion, patriotism, immigrants, gays, and sex workers are all on their hit list. Unfortunately, it’s all being forced upon America under the guise of ‘eliminating human trafficking’ but the legislation does nothing to reduce or prevent trafficking. It’s just being used to bully websites that advertise for erotic workers.

Sex workers know that there are those who are forced into the sex trade and we all oppose that. Those doing this work should be doing it by choice, and so we want that choice to be left open but the trafficking shut down — finding what we can accept to get what we want is the key. Members of the community are working on every front to decriminalise sex work and legalise it beyond that.

The unfortunate side of it is that it seems to be impacting our clients as well. Many of us are noticing that we’re slower this year than in most years past, and this is our busy season of summer. Our fear is that clients will want to avoid being caught up in any ugly bust, so they’re laying low to avoid that. It’s our job to let them know that the police are really targeting street workers who are being victimised by their pimps and clients. They aren’t really going for those of us on the high end, where we work by choice and clients choose to make these interactions. Adults making adult decisions that harm no one should not be illegal.

What are some of your goals and ambitions for the remainder of 2018?

After working in the industry for over 13 years, and reaching a golden age of 55, I’m starting to transition from being a practitioner to being a space provider. I created my studio, The Crow’s Nest Escape, for me but with the intent to be able to rent it to other practitioners and couples. I enjoy the process involved in all of that, and getting to keep making the space more and more fun and functional. I’ve found that creating the studio has been very enjoyable for me and allows me to express my creativity in a productive way. I hope to soon begin creating a second Crow’s Nest Escape locally or in another city. I also hope to do a bit of travelling to cities around the States, offering fun scenes and spreading the love.

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Fetish

How to explore your fetish fantasy

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Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

I caught up with Will Kane from calendar-boys to talk about the art of fetish photography.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

When did you discover and start exploring your passion for photography?

From as far back as I can remember, I was always into photography. I remember going on school trips at primary school and always making sure I had a camera with me. Back in the 80s, I was always very clear about what I wanted to shoot and who’d be in the shoot - making the tall kids stand at the back, and getting lots of heckling and shouts of ‘hurry up’ - but I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and this was back in the day where you had to leave your film with the chemist and wait a week to get them back to see if you had decapitated anyone.

I think I probably got a new camera every year for Christmas. My first camera had the 110 film, then I remember getting the disc camera which was super slim and deemed revolutionary at the time, then I went through a stage of disposable cameras because they were cheap and I’d then get them printed on CDs so I could edit and save them.

About 10 years ago, a colleague at work inspired me to a Canon camera. It’s so fancy - it has so many features that I don’t even need or use, but it allows me to capture the images I need before I manipulate them into the finished product.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

What drew you to specialise in fantasy fetish-wear photo-shoots?

Who doesn’t love a man in uniform! I love a fancy dress party, either throwing them or attending them, but either way I take my costume very seriously. As a result, I’ve ended up with about 10 cool uniforms that I acquired from eBay, Amazon, and various specialist online stores. People always commented on how authentic the outfits were at these various parties, and obviously people always seemed to want a pic standing next to me in whatever outfit I was in.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

I began to think I could combine these two things - my passion for photography and my love of sourcing authentic genuine costumers. I thought that there must be guys like me - normal build, shy-ish, non-scene, that most likely don’t fit the stereotype of what a fetish-wear guy looks like. I’m not a baldy, bearded, buff bear, but every time I wore the CHiPs outfit from the 70s TV show, I felt incredibly powerful, sexy, and horny.

I’m also a member of fetish app Recon, and I get lots of messages from guys who look at me in some of my pics and are very surprised that someone like me would be into leather and uniforms. My response is always the same - do not judge a book by its cover.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

What sort of guys are you interested in commissioning you to take photos of them in fetish-wear?

All sorts - I shoot anyone and everyone! When I see pics of guys in fetish-wear they usually fit the stereotype of being buff, bald, bearded bears. It led me to think - What about us less built guys? What about us shy guys? Also, fetish-wear can be expensive, so I thought that if someone has seen some leather porn and thinks - ’I’d love to get some chaps but wonder if they’d suit me’ - this way they can come to my studio and have some cool and hot new pics, and also see how’d they look in leather. A new pair of chaps cost upwards of £200, but my shoots cost a fraction of that.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

Shy guys and curious guys are made especially welcome, as I understand their nervousness about appearing in gear. When I first bought chaps and a waistcoat and put it on for the first time, I felt incredibly powerful and horny and sexy but also was aware that to some potentially ‘hardcore’ leathermen I probably looked ridiculous. I’m part of a group called Leathermen South, which is based in Brighton. They’re always encouraging me to don my leathers and attend one of their meets, but it’s only me holding me back. It’s a confidence thing.

I’m also happy to shoot anyone who is already into fetish-wear. Maybe they have lots of leather and trackies, but want to try on some police uniforms - I have six to choose from. Or, maybe guys want some new pics for various social media or hook up apps, or it could be a gift to a partner, or if you’re having a party and fancy some pics for a super cool invite. I’ve had guys who want to surprise their boyfriend for a calendar for their office so they can gaze at them adoringly 365 days a year.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

I’m happy to shoot duos - a couple of mates together, or perhaps a couple. I’m also happy to shoot them in some amorous positions, but I need to make clear that I’m not a pornographer. I have had lots of interest from guys who want to get into porn - I’ve been able to give them some great shots to send off to porn producers and studios. My studio is very welcoming and very private, and has a well-stocked fridge to ease any nerves.

When I’m scouting for models, sometimes I get guys who have no clue that they have this amazing look and are pleasantly surprised at the end results. I had this one guy who was short and stocky and super sexy. He had a silver crop, so I suggested that he’d look amazing as a skinhead. He’d never thought of that look, but when he donned the gear he looked like a different person and developed this hard-man persona while in gear. The outfits themselves have powerful qualities.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

What sort of gear do you have available?

I have over 70 costumes and outfits and props and scenarios to choose from. Within that 70, there are also variations, so even one particular genre can maybe take a good hour to shoot with all the various gear and props I have.

This is something that I discuss with the client before the shoot, to make sure that I have everything in their size and also to make sure they’re all washed and ready to wear. I have the usual stereotypical items that us gay guys seem to like - leather, sports gear, suits, and many, many uniforms.

My collection took quite a while to accumulate, as I was getting suggestions from friends and online fetish forums. Previous models I’ve had have really surprised me in what they’ve found sexy. A few models said that they really liked the paramedic uniform. I’ve had so many requests for lingerie. I also have some superhero costumes.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

Is the photoshoot itself a sexual thing?

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It is indeed! Guys can’t help being aroused, so thankfully my studio is very private and not overlooked, so guys can disrobe and parade around naked as much as they like. For those shy guys, I have slippers and dressing gowns for guys to wear between takes and costume changes. My studio also gets quite hot under the studio lights, and I have a TV there with various DVDs if guys need some visual stimulation for ‘adult’ pics.

There are times when I’ve had to leave my studio when I’ve gotten aroused - I’ve had to go away and ‘adjust’ myself, as it’s not very professional and I’d prefer guys to look into my lens not my bulge. I have had guys message me and ask if I’ll be naked for the shoot, or if I’ll also be dressed up in fetish-wear. The answer is no - I’m too busy assembling their outfits and props for their shoot.

Because we’re much more open these days, we’re able to discuss our porn-watching habits more openly and so a lot of guys want to emulate their favourite porno genres - army, builder, boxer, convict, cop, cowboy, doctor, firefighter. The fact that my studio is private and warm also makes guys feel more comfortable disrobing in front of strangers, but also some guys are just exhibitionists. I have a huge full-length mirror, so guys can constantly check themselves out when in gear. I shoot everything against a white backdrop - I then Photoshop the background to match the outfit.

My job is to make everyone feel super-confident and make them look as amazing as I can so that they’re not disappointed with the end result pics.

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

If I was a bit fetish curious, how would I go about organising a photo-shoot to start to explore that side of my sexuality?

Guys get in touch through my website. That way they’ve mostly already looked at all the different outfits that I have to choose from. I given them a call, and we discuss the outfits that have caught their eye. I ask about what outfits they find sexy on others, what porn they watch - lots of different questions to get a picture of what’s going to work best for them. Then, we book the shoot in and we start to bring those fantasies to life.

Dive into the world of calendar-boys

Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)
Photo shoot by calendar-boys (image supplied)

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