Word of the Week: Baroque

Baroque (adj.), it comes to English and French through the Spanish (barrueco), but no one knows where it originated. Likewise, I have no idea why this word is on my mind. Dates back to the late 1700s and is still used today.

The Spanish word refers to an imperfect or misshapen pearl. And likewise the word itself refers to the irregular, the asymmetrical, the grotesque, and the odd. It’s often used pejoratively. The term usually gets applies to 17th and 18th century arts to describe the emergence of noise and exaggeration that had been lacking in previous periods.

But despite the pejorative sense, there are things of great beauty in the Baroque. Technical perfection leaves us cold. Perfect symmetry verges into the uncanny. A little emotion, a little excess, and a little imperfection can do us a lot of good.

New Release: Brainwashed Foot Addict

 

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Heya, sweeties! A new mind bending treat was released just this past week!

My brainwashed series focuses on shorter files (all around 10 minutes) that you can listen to over and over again! Each focuses on helping you develop a submissive fetish towards a particular body part. In this case: Feet!

By the time you’re done letting my magical voice (and the expertly crafted subliminal messaging and binaural tones) work on you, I just know you’ll feel a surge of arousal whenever you look at pretty little toes or a beautiful arch. You’ll never feel the same way about being underfoot ever again!

All files in this series are completely gender and sexuality neutral. If you’ve always been curious about my premium work but haven’t taken the plunge, any entry in the brainwashed series is a great place to start.

For more like this, check out the other files in the series:

Brainwashing Butthead

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Brainwashed Cock Sucker

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Brainwashed Pussy Licker

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Word of the Week: Complex

Complex (adj.), from the Latin (complexus) through the French (complexe), dates back to the mid-1600s and is still in current use. I used this word earlier today when I referred to biology as “terrifyingly, beautifully complex”, and I thought it was important to explain what that means.

For starters, it does not simply mean “complicated”. Complicated refers to a tangled, difficult, confusing thing with multiple parts. Complex says something about how those parts work together. Complexity requires a certain interweaving of component parts to form a greater whole. Though complicated things can be complex, not all complicated things are.

Imagine you have a thing to assemble. It has three parts: A, B, and C. You attach A to B and then you attach B to C and your thing is complete: A-B-C. From a very simple point of view this could be a complicated thing because it has multiple parts attached together. Now, imagine you have another thing. It has three parts: A, B, and Z. A clearly attaches to B, but Z clearly doesn’t fit either A or B. So you attach A to B and then B acts on A to transform A into X and then X in turn acts on B to transform B into Y. Now you can attach Z after the other two parts have finished interacting with each other: X-Y-Z. This would be a complex situation; the end result is different due to the interaction of component parts with one another. Consequentially, complex things are not easily predictable from their starting state.

That’s how life works. It’s actually a defining characteristic of life. And it makes it extremely difficult to study and understand. The approaches science has used in the past were very adept at handling simple principles, but once we move into the realm of complexity we’re often left grasping. Because the illustration above isn’t really hypothetical: a living system is so complex that the actions of each individual part are changed by each adjacent individual part. And no measure of taking those systems apart and laying out the components can answer significant questions. This is why the Human Genome Project never delivered on its promises. This is why drug development has such a high failure rate. To try to conceptualize a highly complex system is literally maddening, but at the same time, it’s the only way forward.

Word of the Week: Sanguine

Sanguine (n. & adj.), from the Latin (sanguineus) through the French (sanguin). Earliest uses in the late 1300s and some uses still common today.

Quite honestly one reason I like the word is the way it’s a bit self-contradicting. As illustrated by the following quote for the show Firefly:

Zoe: You sanguine about the kind of reception we’re apt to receive on an Alliance ship, Cap’n?
Mal: Absolutely. What’s “sanguine” mean?
Zoe: “Sanguine”. Hopeful. Plus, point of interest? it also means “bloody”.
Mal: Well, that pretty much covers all the options, don’t it?

The primary meaning of the word is the bloody one: It refers to any thing of, pertaining to, or containing blood, and particularly the specific red color of blood. It could be used to describe a person or institution that relishes blood or delights in blood shed. The word has also been used to describe someone blushing or just generally red in the face.

To understand the ‘hopeful’ connotation, you have to look to the old medical notion of the four humors. Early medicine believed that all people contained a balance of four fluids called humors: blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm. In any one person one humor could be dominant and have an effect on that person’s temperament. Sanguine individuals, those in whom blood was dominant, were thought to be courageous, hopeful, confident, and humorous. Not quite sure why, but the word stuck even if the medical theory didn’t.

So a sanguine person could be a hopeful happy person, a person who would like to bleed you dry, a person who just happens to be a little red in the face, a person dripping with blood, or any combination of the four!

Kink: Violet Wand Branding

So I’d like to take a minute to talk about branding. No, not the kind that ensures y’all know my name, rather the kind that is burned into my skin. Since it’s about to time to do it again, I thought it might be nice to detail how it’s done. And fair warning: this post contains discussions of pain and pictures of my breasts.

Branding is an old word for an even older practice. It refers to the act of marking by heat (usually fire). Though today, the type of branding I’m going to talk about is delivered by electricity (which has been called “the brand of Zeus” before, so I suppose the word works). Specifically, it was done with a violet wand.

Violet wands (then called violet rays) are early 20th century medical devices whose medical applications came under the scrutiny by the FDA and which were eventually ruled to be quack medicine. The basic purpose of a violet wand is to apply high voltage, low current electricity to human skin. This ideally results in a situation where there is a great deal of sensation but little to no harm to the recipient. And while their manufacture and sale as medical devices remains barred to this day, they have since found a home in the kink community.

Now, violet wands have many applications beyond branding: they can be used to cause anything from a pleasurable buzz to a tickling to a painful sensation, they can be used for silly party tricks like making a light bulb light up in your hand, or they can turn your whole body into an electrode and allow you to spark up your partner with each kiss and touch. There are numerous vendors and educators throughout the kink community, though my personal favorite is a charming fellow by the name of Dr. Clockwork. We’ve had the pleasure of meeting at a couple conventions, and he has always been a font of entertaining and educating conversation. Do check out his website.

Below I detail Partner and my personal method. It’s just the way we do it, I’m not asserting that it’s the objective best. We use: a violet wand, a contact pad, and a sterilized straight metal pick (rather like a dental pick). I’m aware that there are specialty branding electrodes out there, but when we play we prefer to stick with a contact pad. A contact pad is a nifty device that allows you to make your skin as well as any conductive object you hold an extension of the wand. You become the electrode. Either the top or bottom can hold it during a scene (electricity goes both ways), but we usually let the bottom hold it as this provides a very easy way to safe sign: just drop the thing.

(General Note: As I usually bottom for these things, the next few paragraphs are written from the perspective of the bottom.)

(Safety Note: Violet wands are extremely safe devices but a few rules should be followed. Don’t use near the eyes, avoid getting anything wet, avoid highly combustible substances like alcohol, and don’t use near any medical implants. Metal picks are sharp and potentially a hazard and I’ve accidentally poked myself with mine a couple times by being clumsy. Try not to be clumsy.)

The first step is to wash, shave, and gently dry the area on which you’ll be working. Then, you’ll generally want some kind of guide to follow for the brand. If you have the talent and resources I have known some people who use proper tattoo stencils or their home-made equivalents. We’ve mostly stuck to kohl eyeliner. It makes clean lines, it’s non-irritating, and it easily washes off after. So once you’ve got your skin prepped and your design drawn, it’s time to prep yourself mentally. You need to get used to the sensation of the electricity and get out any jumps and giggles that would be a very bad idea later in the process. This is a great time to have fun and make sure you and your partner are in good headspace before continuing. Also might want to make sure you have the right music on, are well hydrated, and don’t have to pee. This next bit is where it simultaneously sucks and gets super fun.

Your partner will take the metal pick and very carefully bring it near your skin without actually touching. This will allow the electricity to concentrate at the point of the pick and then jump the gap between the tip and your skin, providing an intense, high temperature spark. While your partner is doing this, they’ll need to adjust the intensity of the violet wand to find a point that works best for you. This is subjective, we’ve found that you generally want to find a point near the highest intensity you can handle and then pull back a bit as you’ll have to endure that intensity for a bit of time. Once you’ve found the intensity that works, your partner can begin to trace the design of the brand.

It’s going to hurt. You are literally burning a design into your skin, and that comes with a little pain (and a slight scent of cooking human). The first pass is the worst. Partner and I go back and forth on why this is: one hypothesis is that pain receptors in the surface of the skin are either destroyed or exhausted in that first pass, another is that it may take the duration of the first pass for endorphin production to spike, or both. Either way, the subsequent passes are usually far more pleasure mixed with pain. Music and breathing exercises are the best way I’ve found to work through the early pain. Under the right conditions, it’s very possible to pleasurably space out. Like intensity, the number of passes you’ll want is also subjective but the more passes you do, the longer the brand will stay. My last one was three passes at about three-quarter power on my wand and it lasted a little over a month.

Once you’re done, there are a few more key steps: Remember emotional aftercare for both yourself and your partner. You just did something really intense and cool together, the feels may be running high. As soon as you feel comfortable getting up, gently clean the brand with a mild, anti-bacterial soap. Some folks advise using an irritant to make the brand stand out more, but I’ve never personally tried it and I hear it can make the design ragged. You may want to keep the brand covered for the next few days as clothes may irritate it, though I find that goes away around day two or three. And that’s really it. You’re done…until it fades and you need a new one.

Pictures of my most recent one below. It’s a cute little “<3” heart because it’s a simple design to start with and because I’m a shameless geek (plus I was traveling a lot and it’s a sweet reminder that Partner loves me). There will likely be a musing on Twitter as I try to figure out what to do next.

Three days, freshly healed.
A little over one week, fully healed.
Forty days (today), almost invisible.

Word of the Week: Liminal

Liminal (adj.), from the Latin for threshold (limen), refers to something characterized by being on a boundary or in a transitional state. It’s been in use since ~1875 and continues in current usage today.

It probably isn’t coincidental that it’s a word I loved even before I started transitioning, but that I’ve taken a particular fancy to it over the past several years as I’ve been on hormone therapy. It’s been even more appropriate over the last few months as not only is my body in a transitional state, but my life is in a transitional state and I’ve been traveling (airplanes and hotels, by nature, being liminal spaces).

There’s something exciting about the liminal, because change is often good. Liminal experiences free us from the everyday, they can have the feeling of the exotic or adventure about them. It’s easier to let go of things in those spaces, to play with our identity, to engage in actions (at least seemingly) removed of consequence. But they can also be places of danger. Remember that as one leaves home and follows a road over the horizon, neither the journey nor the destination are guaranteed to be pleasant or safe.

Related: liminality, limanally