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Michael aka Master Crow Michael aka Master Crow

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A tantric approach to BDSM

Master Crow | Photo: 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.

I don’t consider myself a sadist, so giving pain as a vehicle for me to get pleasure is not something I do.

Master Crow | Photo: supplied

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.

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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.”

Master Crow ready to flog one of his clients | Photo: supplied

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.

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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.

Some of Master Crow’s characters | Photo: supplied

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.

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.

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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.

Master Crow | Photo: supplied

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.

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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.

Master Crow | Photo: supplied

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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Play Hard

Meet Mr Kristofer and Pup Amp

A masterclass in pup-play.

Sandy Pianim

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Sandy Pianim with mrKristofer and PupAmp
Sandy Pianim with mrKristofer and PupAmp | Photo: Recon

You may recognise this Daddy-Pup duo from out and about on the fetish scene, their kink friendly, sex education YouTube channel – Watts The Safeword or their other online “sexploits”. It’s fair to say these guys are fetish connoisseurs. We caught up with them in the Mr S Leather studio in San Francisco to discuss their relationship and all things BDSM.

Sandy Pianim with mrKristofer and PupAmp
Sandy Pianim with mrKristofer and PupAmp | Photo: Recon

The conversation starts at the beginning. “The pup came along at a time in my life when I was in transition of a relationship, and he taught me all about puppies. He’s been the best companion I’ve had ever since…” shares mrKristofer, when talking about how they met almost five years ago.

PupAmp goes on to explain that they met at IML and knew of mrKristofer’s online bondage work beforehand. mrKristofer remembers the moment, “I was tying up boys for demos and he was skulking around hoping to get tied up. He had such a sexy ass I was like… Do you want to get tied up?!”

In the beginning their Daddy-Pup relationship was very open and all about casual play. They didn’t refer to themselves as dating or boyfriends, it was just about affection and taking care of one another. “There was definitely some love involved there.” PupAmp says, describing how they started. mrKristofer emphasises that there was a lot of love, but he was a little standoffish. “I told him that I wasn’t ready for another relationship and he said, ‘That’s ok, I’m just a puppy. I’m here to make you happy.’ I thought, now that I can do!”

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Over time they evolved into what they are today. They’ve had poly family relationships where other guys have come in and out. They’ve even had relationships independent of each other but, mrKristofer describes PupAmp as his rock, stating “Nobody argues with the puppy, puppy is always right.”

Conducting an open relationship of any kind can be tricky but PupAmp gives this piece of advice. “FOMO exists, there’s always going to be jealously here and there. It’s a matter of being really good at communicating. I think kinksters statistically are better at doing [this], and just being able say how something makes you feel and being able to work past that. We’re not built for monogamy.”

With that in mind, we were intrigued to find how and what they used Recon for. Both are very particular when viewing member profiles, using what they find there to make informed decisions about whether to engage. “I tend to look at a person’s pictures first and foremost” says PupAmp, “Their descriptions, [then] if they have friends or people you can reference.” For him, all of this information comes together to get a sense of how credible a player they are. mrKristofer agrees with this tactic but adds “…It is where I get most of the people I play with.”

A word of warning before you hit the cruise button on mrKristofer’s profile, though: have variety in your photos, and if they feature any bondage, make sure it’s not sloppy. Asked for a bad example he states “[A] single granny knot to a chair at the wrong pressure points. You can determine someone’s skill level.” Then explaining why good bondage matters, “BDSM is such a special experience. It’s a power control thing. That’s what I find sexy, tying someone down or being tied down. You are giving the other person complete control to do anything.”

mrKristofer and PupAmp from Watts the Safeword
mrKristofer and PupAmp from Watts the Safeword | Photo: Recon

PupAmp recalls how he learned bondage through watching kinky porn. His younger self always wished there was some sort of fetish figure that he could look up to for advice and guidance. Being a child of the internet, he wanted to see gay, kinky, sex positive content creators. The lack of this type of content inspired him and friend, Bolt to create their own YouTube channel, Watts the Safeword – which has found huge success.

When Bolt moved to Seattle, mrKristofer stepping up to co-host Watts the Safeword and to share his unique take on fetish. They have guests and viewers reach out to them, picking topics for them to discuss in their videos. They’ve effectively created the supportive online community that a young PupAmp always craved. Their ability to make educational fetish content for all – regardless of gender and sexuality – empowers viewers and provides them with the tools to go forth and explore their own kinks. The couple are doing their bit to make the scene as visible as possible, which can only further the fetish community as a whole.

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When asked what we can all do to strengthen the community, mrKristofer smiles “Having a puppy has taught me to be more accepting of other people’s kinks. I come from an older background where it’s ‘This is the way you do leather and anything outside of how we learned to do leather is wrong.’ We need to be more accepting that everyone has different kinks and fetishes. It’s grown exponentially over the last few years and we have to accept all of it.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Originally published in Recon Issue_01. Available in print and digitally via Recon.com

Join Recon by signing up for free on Recon.com or download the app for IOS and Android via recon.com/app.

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