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From Bat Mitzvahs to BDSM: A Jewish Girl’s Journey into the Kink Lifestyle

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My Glo-Up!

I’m a nice Jewish girl. I don’t quite meet the socioeconomic requirements to have acquired a Marvelous Mrs. Maisel-esque status of “Jewish American Princess”, but some might argue that I’m pretty close. My mother, for one. (Hi, mom!) But I digress.

Growing up, I was heavily immersed in Jewish culture, learning, and spirituality. I went to Jewish day school from Kindergarten through the eighth grade and was Bat Mitzvahed at twelve years old. I attended United Synagogue Youth (USY) group events and went to temple on the High Holidays. I said the prayers, I ate the food, and yes, I got the eight presents every year on Chanukah.

So you might be wondering how a nice Jewish girl like me ended up living a BDSM lifestyle and preparing to marry a (gasp!) goy.

My story, I’m afraid, isn’t all that unique. Not quite a tale as old as time, but definitely a familiar one. You see, I find that there is quite a bit of crossover between the world of BDSM and Jewish culture. For me, at least, the two have frequently intertwined in a most delightful and sometimes even surprising way. At the age of twenty-eight, I now live a decidedly more secular lifestyle than I ever have; however, I still remember my Jewish roots and I always will.

First Inklings

When did you first notice that you had an affinity for “unusual” sexual practices? I distinctly recall a certain fondness for the ritual of laying tefillin in the temple during morning services. For the uninitiated, this practice involves tying a leather strap with an attached box (inside of which is a scroll of sacred text) around one’s arm and another around one’s head. These straps are purposefully tied in a specific pattern and are meant to be tied tight enough that, upon removal, there should be obvious markings on the skin to remind the wearer of their spiritual covenant with G-d. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this served as a precursor to my interest in both rope bondage and heavy impact play. I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of restraint and, much like the purpose of tefillin, the way in which my marked skin serves as a reminder of my capacity for strength and endurance.

Going Against the Grain

Another hint from my school days was in Bible study when we learned about polygamy. Our teacher asked the class what we, a bunch of prepubescent whippersnappers (see what I did there?), thought about this practice. In my usual way of presenting a stark contrast to the status quo, I raised my hand and, when called on, exclaimed that I thought it was a great idea. Now, my underdeveloped and less than sophisticated mindset had me giving a cringe-worthy answer to support my point of view. I’ll spare you the details, but it was heinously juvenile. I can still recall the look and sound of shock on my classmates’ faces as if I could not possibly be so…so…weird. Well, I was and I still am. I have since learned considerably about the practices of polyamory and the benefits to mutual openness and transparency in relationships and my fiance and I happily refer to our relationship dynamic as “monogamish”. Different strokes for different folks, surely, but it works for us.

Deviance at Dances

As I got a little older, I began attending events for my synagogue’s youth group, USY (Far West represent!). It was there that I got my first taste of a pretty gnarly first kiss (thanks for nothing, Jewish boy who shall remain nameless) and an awakening of my own sexual identity. I don’t quite remember how it happened, but grind dancing became the thing to do in those wonderfully wacky adolescent years. You know, the kind of dancing where the dude is bound to pop an awkward boner as he and his dance partner uncomfortably smush their crotches into one another in a vain attempt at looking cool? Yeah, that. I don’t remember his name. I just remember it happened and my mother — who was one of the parent chaperones for that particular dance (hi, again!) — made the proverbial “cool mom” move of walking the fuck out of there before she, bless her heart, caught witness of her daughter (me) making a complete ass of myself. And ass-make I did. A lot. I blundered my way through myriads of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, school dances, girl/boy parties, and terrible kissing. There were growing pains, for sure. In fact, that’s just about all there were in those days. It wasn’t until the spring of my freshman year of high school that I first delved into the world of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a community to which I owe a great debt of gratitude for shaping me into the person I am today.

My Rowdy “Rocky” Days

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A Rocky Horror “virgin” experience

It came as no surprise to me that I found many kindred spirits within the Rocky community. In fact, it was of a particularly special note that I found I was one of many Jewish identified individuals in the cast, which I joined at age sixteen. Eschewing the comparatively tame environment of what school and USY had to offer me, I began to devote a great deal of my time, energy, and life to the hours between midnight and 3 am every Saturday night and beyond. I shouted callbacks, I dressed in impossibly skimpy clothing, I cuddled, I kissed, and I grew up. It wasn’t just a movie. It wasn’t just a cult phenomenon. It was a family — my chosen family — and a new way of life.

Dungeon Dwelling

As I matured, and finally reached the seemingly elusive age of consent, I took my first steps into an even larger world, one that up until that point, I had only imagined. On the night of my eighteenth birthday, I attended a dance club for the very first time. Not just any club, mind you, but a goth club called “Perversion”. It was there that I witnessed BDSM play for the first time and, upon my second time attending the club, experienced it first hand. Well, hand, flogger, and riding crop.

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Photo by Emmauel Lemus

The minute I felt the beautiful sting of leather against my bare skin, it was as if it was be’shert. That is, in Yiddish, “meant to be”. All those years of spotting traits within myself that “polite society” had surely deemed out of the norm were finally beginning to make sense. All the dots connected. My love of tight restraint, my penchant for exhibitionism, my overwhelming desire to have my physical limits tested. It was all there for me. Manna in the desert after wandering around in a haze of adolescent ignorance. I was by no means a “grown-up” yet. But I was grown enough at least to legally and consensually experience so much of this new world for the very first time. And the second time. And the third. And so on.

Naughtiness and Nuptials

Today, I enjoy living a lifestyle that, though predominantly vanilla in appearance, is by no means as such. My fiance and I are lucky in that we are a straight passing, monogamous passing couple; however, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. We are both, as the kids say, queer “AF” and proud of it. We enjoy a certain, structured openness to our relationship and work together to create a dynamic of transparency, trust, and love as well as fun and friendship. We participate in the kink lifestyle both in and out of the house as well. We are both rooted in our respective religious backgrounds, mine, of course, being Jewish and his being Catholic. We respect each other’s culture and spirituality and like to share and learn from one another about our beliefs. We never debate or challenge but instead prefer to view the subject of differing religious viewpoints with an open mind and an understanding that, although we don’t have to agree on everything, we both have the right to believe in what we will.

In fact, with our wedding in the coming year, we have decided to make the ceremony and reception something that is uniquely “us” in terms of it being almost entirely non-traditional. When asked whether or not I wanted to have a Rabbi and/or a Priest for the ceremony, I concluded that this was a bad idea because if they were to walk into a bar, who knows what could happen? Though we intend to keep things mostly secular, the few Jewish customs that we have agreed on including are the presence of a chuppah (wedding canopy), the smashing of the glass, and the hora (circle dance with us being lifted up in chairs). He’s never done the hora and I’m honestly super stoked both to see him get lifted up in a chair as well as to do so myself as I haven’t done it since my Bat Mitzvah when I was utterly petrified. Truly, I am most excited that we get to spend the rest of our lives together, sharing a relationship that is far off the beaten path. And that’s just how we like it!

In conclusion, it’s been a long and wonderfully winding wild road to get me to the place in my life in which I currently find myself. It’s a journey that I wouldn’t trade for the world and I am happy to continue forward on it every day. Finding oneself isn’t easy, nor is balancing a life of kink and vanilla simultaneously, especially having been raised in a religious community. I do believe that, like everyone else, I am created b’tzelem elohim (in the image of G-d) and that, as such, G-d loves me just the way I am. If not, why would I have been made this way?

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WHAT’S SO KINKY ABOUT JUDAISM?

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Z,a 38-year old man “with a Chasidic background” says his mother instilled in him a desire for kink—bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, and masochism, better known as BDSM.

“She did give me her share of potchkes (Yiddish: spankings),” he said.

What do you say to a guy who blames being a spanko—a person who likes to be spanked—on his mother?

Z is among a large, diverse group of “Jewish kinksters”—as some have self-mockingly called themselves—who are interested in the connection between religion and this sexual “practice” (his word). I was struck by this, and wondered if this was, if not a trend, let’s say, a thing: Jewish kink. I was researching a book on kink when I began interviewing dozens of Jewish kinksters in New York and Chicago. Some of the people I spoke with had thought deeply about the subject and worked hard to bridge religious and sexual identities. Still, many have remained in the closet, ashamed and worried that kink was not good for the Jews. Everyone had a lot to say about how kink affected them.

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I found the comfort level split along generational lines: Baby-boomers were most at ease, discussing their sexual preferences quite openly. Laura Antoniou, 51, the author of books of kinky erotic fiction, and a convert from Greek Orthodox, speculated that for Jews, “there is not the same amount of taboo around talking about sex as Christians have.”

Gen X Jews seemed less interested in including kink in their public life than thinking about it as something lost in the diaspora. Ayo Oppenheimer, 32, founder of Jewrotica, a Jewish website devoted to sex, said. “Jewish people absorbed the surrounding values, shame, and modesty of other cultures.”

Many millennials I spoke with believed that kink saved their life, the way my mother’s generation believed that feminism did. G, a short, kinky, conservative Jewish journalist, 23, was full of self-loathing until she understood that being erotically hypnotized— “hypnokink”—was her thing.

When I last spoke to G, she divided her time between her Jewish dominant, a 45-year old erotic hypnotist, and her Jewish age appropriate vanilla boyfriend, whom she is “ready to take it to the next level with.”

G and her dom are in love. They talk every day, see each other a few times a week. They do not have intercourse although they “do” other vanilla sex acts. They watch Firefly, order in take-out, and eat chocolate ice cream. He hypnotizes her and then drives her home. 

G does not eat pork or play on Shabbat. She says she uses sechel—the Yiddish word for common sense. She finds solace in Michal, King David’s first wife, the only woman the Old Testament describes as loving a man. “She’s supposed to be defined by a man, but she’s not.”

KinkyJews.com is an organization devoted to Jews like G. According to my last count, the KinkyJews discussion group on Fetlife—a social network for the BDSM community—has 2,396 members, making it the biggest religiously oriented discussion thread on the site. It has also spun off regional groups like Kinky Philadelphia and Kinky DC metro area. It is like an information bazaar: Should you cover your head in the dungeon? Are Tefillin, which are worn during Jewish prayer, kinky? Does anyone know a kinky version of “Dayenu,” the Passover holiday song? Does anyone have a circumcision fetish? Or looking for Jewish trans men? The list erupted when someone posted something that seemed anti-Semitic: “I love big Jewish cocks.” Or: “Arab slave, looking for a Jewish mistress to take ahold of me.”

Rachel Kramer Bussel, 40, DAME’s sex columnist, who identifies as bisexual and grew up as a Reform Jew said that KinkyJews flourished because “there is a community connection to being Jewish, even if the religious aspects aren’t important.”

But Gil C’nan, 31, a kinky party planner in Philadelphia speculated that Jews gravitate toward kink because they can feel like they belong. “I feel like less of a minority in the kink and fetish world than a lot of other worlds.”

Some Jews may seek out kink because they feel like outsiders. Others want to be out, at least for a few hours. The Orthodox make up 70 percent of clients of pro-dommes, one told me, adding that she saw them at Parthenon, a kinky club in the same building as Levine’s Books and Judaica, and at Paddles, or Suspension, a monthly party. Women sometimes accompanied their husbands, she said.

C’Nan said that at week-end kinky events, a “small but strong” Orthodox contingent requested Shabbat-compliant rooms or practiced kinky Shabbats where they dripped hot wax and lit candles, and wore chain-link yarmulkes.

I met a number of kinky Orthodox Jews, most of them men. Y, 40-ish, arrived at the interview with his curly haired dominatrix, Mistress Blunt, 24.

Y—thickset, married with kids—ordered matzoh-ball soup, and Mistress Blunt ordered mint tea. In a thick Yiddish accent, Y said he discovered kink on a trip to Atlantic City with six other guys and two women after he became “OTD, that’s ‘Off the Derech,’ or off the proper way.” He now sees dominatrices once or twice a week at about $350 a session. “I have $15,000 to $20,000 a year to spend on entertainment,” he said.

“The Bible is kinky, said Blunt, who grew up Reform and is out to her parents. She started started domming in college at La Domaine Esomar, an upstate dungeon. “There is shame and humiliation in it. Abraham was kinky. There’s cutting, washing feet, temple slaves, ritual, devotional trance.” 

Some of Y’s fantasies appear to be influenced by Judaism. One involves the harvest: He wants to be a human bird feeder, Blunt said. He tweeted Blunt weekly parshas, portions of the Torah, which she incorporated into the scenes they did. She covered Y’s eyes on the Sabbath so he could feel the way he used to feel while praying.

Others were … Blunt pulled out her phone and flashed a photo of a penis wrapped in tzit-tzit, or prayer fringes.

I asked Y why he frequented a professional dominatrix. “I don’t need to understand how the chicken soup is made,” he said, slurping.

Among the ultra-Orthodox, kink likely does not count as adultery since it’s technically not sex and may not be destroying anyone’s marriage, said Rabbi Robin Podolsky. “The feeling is go and sin—disguise yourself in a black cloak rather than disgrace your community.”

What community was being disgraced if a Jew renounced kink? That was the question Naomi D, 38, the founder of KinkyJews.com, was asking herself. Tall with a round face and long, straight hair, Naomi founded KinkyJews.com in 2005 in part because she believed that Jews are drawn tokink due to “our additional perspective when we relate to the concepts of bondage, slavery and redemption of the Passover story— common themes in our relationships and sexual expression.”

Naomi designed many KinkyJews events including the chocolate Seder, where Jews whipped each other with chocolate Twizzlers. She created a kinky Haggadah she hoped to sell on the internet.

“If she only dressed in leather/Bright and shiny patent leather/If she only dressed in leather/Dayenu.”

But in 2009, in a piece in The Forward, the Jewish sexpert Shmuley Boteach said that “the notion of a kink-themed Seder is disrespectful to both the sanctity of marital relations and to the Passover holiday.” Naomi dialed back KinkyJews. She worried: “I might want to have a family. How can I be a mother? … What if no one finds me to be a suitable wife?”

When I told Bat Sheva Marcus, an Orthodox sex counselor recently profiled in the New York Times about Naomi, she was not surprised. “Kink and a white picket fence do not go together,” she said.

And David Dunn Bauer, 55, the director of social justice at Congregation Beit Shalom Temple (CBST) in Greenwich Village, known as New York’s LGBT synagogue, said that in Judaism, “there is enormous pressure put on family and that is why Jews don’t do kink.”

If you are comfortable with yourself as a sexual outsider, figuring out how the rest of your life fits in is easier, Laura Antoniou, the gay writer, said. She has put her kinky editing jobs on her day-job résumés since the 1990s. A few years ago she came out at her shul, Congregation Beth Emmet. 

Antoniou hosts a kinky Seder and she also has written a kinky Haggadah, she said, adding that at her Seder there is a kinky version of the Sephardic tradition of beating each other with spring onions. Antoniou buys “the biggest baddest leeks” she can find.

Punishment and slavery came up a lot. Sarah Beth Landau, a Chicago-based kinky Jew who used Antoniou’s Haggadah this year said. “Maimonides in The Guide to the Perplexed instructs fathers on how to construct Seder. You point to a household slave and see we were slaves in Egypt like him,” she added, explaining that since she literally has slaves, this has special meaning.

Hayyim, 61, who worked in disaster relief in New York, lived his life mostly as an Orthodox Jew and was largely out of scene, said something similar about how kink illuminated religious texts. “God in the Bible is harsh, cruel, jealous. The prophets often lambast people. They are punitive.”

I suddenly thought of of the most unsettling kink  I had heard of in this world— , a kind of role play recreating Holocaust scenes— and I asked the kinky Jews I knew what they thought about it.

Lolita Wolf, 61, the manager of the BDSM boutique, The Purple Passion, in Chelsea, said some of her father’s family died in a forced labor camp. Wolf, who has been profiled in the New York Times, conceded that “some kink is viscerally upsetting” to Jews. Like Nazi play—role play where people dress up as Nazis. “I would prefer that not take place near me.” But she would not stop others who wanted to do it consensually, she said

Oppenheimer said Jews were bound by Jewish law. “A tasteful collar, why should that person have to change to come into that synagogue?” However “bringing floggers into the synagogue is over the line.” She added that some kink seemed forbidden. “You can’t do multiple person scenes.” Also, “it’s very Jewishly problematic to cause physical violence.” Still “you could find justification for anything. But, “a rabbi would be endangering her pulpit by talking about this.”

Mistress Blunt showed me one photo in which she wore a bra and panties and had wrapped a Tefillin around her foot. In another, she posed, similarly garbed, with Mistress Arabesque, a Muslim fin domme—financial dominatrix, a subspecialty where the dom gets the client to pay her without providing any physical sexual service.

Arabesque, who is Egyptian, has a sub-sub-specialty—Jewish blasphemy fin dom. This involves anti-Semitic ranting. “How does it feel to be humiliated by an Egyptian, whose ancestors kept you rightfully enslaved for generations?” was one line from her script.

Arabesque latched onto Jewish blasphemy a few years ago when an Orthodox guy asked her to insult him “because of what the Jews had done to Palestine.” None of her clients were willing to talk to me, including the one she said was a professor of Jewish Studies.

I don’t know what I thought I would learn by seeing a Jewish kinkster in session. But Troy, a (non-Jewish) dominatrix I knew invited me to one with “Downlow,” her Jewish slave.

Downlow, a married, reform Jew who was in finance and lived upstate, wore chinos and a blue striped dress shirt. He was in his 50s, with a soft chin and a few tufts of sandy-colored hair. Troy wore large diamond studs, a diamond ring, a silver necklace, and a long black T-shirt.

Troy undressed Downlow until he stood there in black jockeys and dress socks. She stroked his arms. Then she slipped a hood over Downlow’s head and then belted him onto a chair, put in a ball gag, laid him on the ground and tied him up, put him in the pound, slow danced with him, and gave him an electric shock. They were laughing the whole time.

After that, we went out for a drink. “I’m conservative,” Downlow said. “Reform is loosey-goosey.” But he attended the dungeon more than the temple.

Robin Podolsky, the rabbi, said: “On the surface kinky practices push people’s buttons with respect to human dignity—Kevod Habriot.”

Then she asked: “Can you do those practices and explore those erotic appetites in the context of a respectful Jewish relationship? The idea [in Judaism] is that you don’t instrumentalize other people. People might get off being treated as objects but they’re not. No one is put on Earth to be an instrument of someone’s pleasure. Are you allowed to pretend like you are?”

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Sexual Predators and Sexual Fetishes: Don’t Confuse the Two

In keeping with his flamboyant style, Rabbi Shmuely Boteach attempts to reframe the concept of voyeurism in a sex-positive light: If it is “kosher,” meaning consensual, and with your marital partner at the right time of the month, then “anything goes.” If you like to watch, then let your wife be your “Web cam girl.” Some may find that objectifying to women, but Boteach is essentially correct. If it really is consensual, being sex-positive, which according to him is a Jewish value, means not judging the sexual choices of others.

Boteach is also correct that atypical sexual practices, known as paraphilia, can be “kosher” if they are practiced in an appropriate way, similarly to cheating on your wife with your wife, as suggested in his book “Kosher Adultery.” Unfortunately, for some people, kosher paraphilia won’t solve their need for gratification.

In fact, the entire concept of paraphilia, once considered “perverted” or “abnormal” sexual tendencies has been reframed in the new, fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, which is the manual of mental health disorders used by mental health professionals. The new DSM distinguishes between paraphilia and paraphilic disorders. The former refer to atypical sexual practices, such as BDSM (aka “sadomasochism”) and cross-dressing, and as long as they are not a source of distress then there is no psychological pathology or problem associated with them.

Paraphilic disorders, on the other hand, cause distress or impairment in functioning, primarily because they involve individuals who are non-consenting and who have been used to gratify the paraphilia in real life, not just in fantasy.

While expressing shock and pain for Rabbi Barry Freundel’s alleged harmful actions, Boteach says he is “filled with pity” toward Freundel. “Instead of making husbands feel that their erotic needs are aberrational,” writes Boteach, “let’s always encourage them to direct it toward their wives.” Men who fail to contain their passion and lust within their own marriage will, instead, he says, find it “in new flesh.”

It is unclear if in Boteach’s assessment men who fulfill sexual needs with their wives could avoid behaviors like those Freundel has been accused of, but, if so, Boteach misses a crucial point: the alleged objects of Freundel’s gratification were women who did not consent. In fact, voyeurism is not so much about finding “new flesh,” but about autonomy and control. The “object” of a voyeur’s gratification has no autonomy, for she is unaware that she is being observed. This lack of awareness serves to increase voyeurs’ sense of power and control. The man who “makes his wife his Web cam girl” without her consent would be just as guilty.

Moreover, while the offense is considered a “sex crime,” it is not necessarily about sexual desire or pleasure as is understood in the conventional sense. The adrenaline rush is often provided by the violation of rules, social norms and laws, rather than sexual stimulation per se. While each case is different, individuals who engage in voyeurism may seek the gratification involved in violating those norms, or they may be acting out their feelings of gender or sexual inadequacy, seeking, again, to feel power and control. Therefore, putting non-consensual voyeurism on the same but other side of the spectrum as naughty sexual pleasures with one’s wife is erroneous.

There are various psychological explanations for the causes of non-consensual sexual behavior. Often they reflect social skills or empathy deficits, or feelings of inadequacy. Some non-consensual sexual behaviors result from obsessions and compulsions.

Like Boteach, as well as the many bloggers and social networking posters trying to make sense of this tragedy, we may seek an explanation for the motivations behind Freundel’s alleged actions. Was it power seeking? Sexually based? Or perhaps steeped in mental pathology? This endeavor may be our coping mechanism to attempt to rationalize and understand the incomprehensible.

However, as we search for an answer, we must clearly distinguish between sexual desires, fetishes and paraphilia on the one hand and non-consensual voyeurism, which is a crime that has victims, on the other. Under no circumstances should we consider non-consensual voyeurism on a spectrum of normative sexual behavior gone awry.

Talli Rosenbaum, MSc., is an individual and couples therapist and a certified sex therapist. She lectures in both the Bar-Ilan and Tel Aviv University sex therapy programs and is the academic advisor for Yahel. She is an associate editor of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

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How to Get Laid in Middle East

Middle East dating guide advises how to pick up Middle Eastern girls and how to hookup with local women in Middle East. Travel, enjoy and have fun with hot single girls and you might even meet the love of your life. Read more on how to date Middle Eastern women, where to find sex and how to get laid in Middle EastAsia.Taksim Square in Istanbul

The Middle East is a transcontinental region which includes Western Asia (although generally excluding the Caucasus), and all of Turkey (including its European part) and Egypt (which is mostly in North Africa).

Middle East Top 10 Overview:Chance of picking up girls: 1-4 / 5Picking up at daytime: 1-4 / 5Picking up at nighttime: 1-4 / 5Looks of girls: 3-5 / 5Attitude of girls: 1-4 / 5Nightlife in general: 1-5 / 5Locals’ English level: 1-4 / 5Transportation: 2-4.75 / 5Budget per day: US$60 – $3000Accommodation: US$10 – $2000

Middle Eastern and Arab Girls

Overall, the girls from Middle East are true exotic beauties with their dusky complexions, bushy eyebrows, and big almond shaped eyes. There are Arab girls from United Arab EmiratesKuwaitBahrain, Persian girls from Iran and Turkish stunners from Turkey.

  • Iran has beautiful Persian girls who are known for their stunning eyes and distinct beauty.

Iranian girls in traditional costume

  • Turkey has some of the most beautiful girls in the world. They are women who hail from different backgrounds but they are all stunning.

Turkish football team

  • Jordan girls are very beautiful. They are tall and slim with prominent features.
  • Israel– A blend of Russian and North Saharian features, Israeli women are one of the most beautiful women in the world. Israeli women have black or brown hair, with medium-sized eyes, medium lips a slightly larger nose, similar to other Mediterranian girls.

Jewish girl with at Purim

  • Lebanon– Lebanese woman knows how to take care of her looks. She knows how to properly put on makeup and fix her hair. And chances are, she takes care of her body more than you do.
  • Bahrain is full of pretty girls and beautiful women.
RatingLooksLooks of girls: 3-5 / 5

You can find attractive girls in every country in Middle East. One thing you need to be mindful about is that their beauty is mostly hidden under modest clothing. Middle Eastern women are mostly muslim so you should not expect them to display their bodies too much. The most beautiful girls can be found in TurkeyIsraelLebanon and Iran.

RatingAttitudeAttitude of girls: 1-4 / 5

Overall the attitude of girls is really good throughout the continent. The language barrier is the biggest concern. Some of the sophisticated women in the most developed countries may be difficult to approach. This might be the case in United Arab Emirates with the Emirati girls, but foreigners are more friendly and lenient. Same goes for Iran and Iraq. Girls from Turkey and Israel tend to be really friendly.

Where to Get Sex Now

It is easy to get sex online in Middle East. You just need to find the best available girls. See Girls Online Here!

How to Pick Up Girls

Local girls in many countries for example Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab EmiratesOmanIranIraq can be out of bounds so you might have a really difficult time gaming. Turkish and Israeli girls are easier to pick up. The most important thing is to be respectful at all times and do not cross a limit no matter what because these things are deemed illegal as well in muslim countries and you could be sent to jail on harassment charges. Make sure you get a signal from the girl of some sorts before proceeding to flirt.

RatingPickupChance of picking up: 1-4 / 5

Chances of picking up girls varies from country to country but generally picking up girls in the middle east is more difficult than other parts of the world.

Tips for Daytime

You need to understand the culture of the country where you are visiting. In some countries it’s just normal to go and chat with girls even on the street at day time. In some countries you can’t even find girls walking alone on the street. For example in Iran it’s almost impossible to see any women walking alone the streets of the city.Irani women in burkas

RatingDaytimeChance of picking up at daytime: 1-4 / 5

The best countries for daytime gaming are Turkey and Israel or even Jordan.

Best Places to Meet Girls

Here are the best places for daytime gaming in general.

  • Shopping Malls

The biggest mall in the world, Dubai Mall

  • Beaches

Frishman Beach in Tel Aviv

  • Parks

Park Jamshidieh in TehranIran

  • Near Universities

The American University of Kuwait, Kuwait City

  • The Streets

Streets of AnkaraTurkey

  • Cafes

A cafe in PetraJordan

  • Markets

Grand Bazaar in Istanbul

  • Historical sites

Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Tips for Nighttime

RatingNighttimeChance of hooking up at nighttime: 1-4 / 5

Chances of picking up vary between 1-4. You just have to make sure you approach the right girl and not the one who seems too conservative.

Best Places to Meet Girls

Best places to meet girls at night are obviously the venues which serve alcohol and has girls in a party mood.

  • Nightclubs

Meydan Beach Club, Dubai

  • Lounges
  • Pubs and Bar

A bar in Tel Aviv

  • Afterhour nightclubs

Peyote Istanbul

  • Afterhour fast food joints
  • Home parties
  • Student party nights
  • Special events (Purim in Tel Aviv)

Purim

RatingLooksNightlife in general: 1-5 / 5

Nightlife in general is rated from 1 to 5. Some countries don’t have any nightlife action for tourists, and some countries are one of the best party places in the world for example DubaiJerusalemTel Aviv or Istanbul.View of Levent at night

Mature Ladies and Cougars

This is a tricky one. Obviously, any association with an older woman in a romantic capacity sends out an immediate signal that you are having sex. Most of the time, people will ignore you. However, you could attract the attention of the wrong crowd if you enter into an area with lots of staunch fundamentalist. By the letter of the law, it is illegal. There are a few older women; they are all foreigners

Regions

Map of the Middle East

Bahrain
Iran
Iraq
Israel
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Oman
Palestinian Territories
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
Yemen

Egypt is often considered a part of the Middle East, as the Sinai is geologically a part of Asia. Sometimes Azerbaijan is considered a part of the Middle East, as a sort of border region between Europe and Asia. Even the inclusion of Iran is to a degree controversial—it can also be considered to be a Central Asian or South Asian nation.

Cities

  • Tehran — a bustling metropolis of 14 million people, it is a cosmopolitan city, with great museums, parks, restaurants and warm friendly people, also great Iranian food !
  • Amman — experiencing a massive change from a quiet sleepy village to a bustling metropolis
  • Beirut — a true cosmopolitan city, the commercial and financial hub of Lebanon
  • Baghdad — once a favored destination on the ‘hippie trail’ and packed full of sights, now one of the most dangerous cities on Earth
  • Damascus — credited with being the oldest, continuously inhabited city in the world, the old-walled city in particular feels very ancient
  • Dubai — most modern and progressive emirate in the United Arab Emirates, developing at an unbelievable pace
  • Istanbul — the only major city to span two continents and a fascinating melting pot of East and West
  • Jerusalem — containing the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Old City, this city is sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims.
  • Mecca — forbidden for non-Muslims to enter, this is the holiest city in Islam mostly known for the Hajj

Dating

When visiting Middle East, dating can be a fun and interesting experience. AdultFriendFinder.com, lets you meet local members in Middle East and get to know them on a personal basis before you arrive. It just takes a few minutes, you simply create an account, upload a few images and tell a little about yourself. Since time in your destination may be limited, get to know each other’s desires beforehand so when you do meet, you can skip the awkward introductions and start having some real fun.

Top Dating Tips

A few dating tips to keep in mind while looking for a casual hookup are that firstly you should dress well. Most women who hook up with men on a casual basis mostly choose them from how they look. Secondly, be confident. No girl likes nervous men. Thirdly, have a good physique. Work on your muscles to have a good personality. Additionally, you should smell nice. Don’t smell like a rotten egg. And most importantly, don’t be creepy and sex-hungry. You should sound casual and positive.

Visiting clubs regularly can also help. Most of the women looking for casual hookups are found in bars and clubs. Lastly, If you are a Muslim man, you can try getting in touch with some Muslim women too. Although, most of them are not up for any hookups.

Online Dating

  • Muslima-Trusted site used by over 4.5 million Muslims worldwide. – This app is the number one dating app in Islamic circles. However, it must be used with more than a hint of caution. If you are not respectful to the culture, you may find yourself blacklisted. Also, in a land where sexuality between non-married persons is illegal, you could land yourself in legal trouble should any dodgy messages be reported.
  • InternationalCupid – Premium international dating site with over 1 million members.
  • Happn-Another app that has won the hearts of users around the world. It connects you with potential matches that you physically encounter throughout the day.

Live Cam Dating

Are you looking for virtual satisfaction in Middle East? Chat with live web camera models and find the best girl for your needs. There are thousands of girls online 24/7 waiting for you: Live Cam Girls

What Kind of Guys Have the Best Chances

Guys who are respectful towards the culture and religion of Middle Eastern people have the best chances. Muslim guys have a better chance than any other guys. Same goes for rich guys since the Middle East is known for people living luxurious lives so if you want a really good looking girl you will have to spend a lot as well.

Risks while Gaming

There are many risks involved while gaming in the Middle East. Due to the fact that the population as a whole is predominantly muslim and conservative so you can end up in trouble if you persist too much or have been immodest with a girl.

How to Get Laid as Soon as Possible

Fast gaming is best done with a level of caution. While in other regions, you could easily have a hook-up within a couple of days with minimum fuss, Middle East has risks attached with any form of sexual activity outside of marriage. Thus, you will need to be careful that you do not approach anyone that could get offended and report you to the authorities. The fastest way is online dating and hitting the nightclubs

Gold Diggers and Sugar Babies

The Sugar Baby scene in Middle East is still quite new but there are a lot of beautiful young girls looking for a Sugar Daddy. The best and safest way to hook up with a Sugar Baby is online. At SecretBenefits there is a wide selection of nice girls who are looking for an older guy to take care of them. These babes are easy to approach and you can settle everything before meeting up.

Anyone can be a sugar daddy. Just create your free account at SecretBenefits and start enjoying the wide selection of Sugar Babies available.

BDSM

Looking for a new bondage partner while traveling? ALT.com is a community of like-minded people with members around the globe. Our members are interested in submissive sex, power exchange, locating persons for new slave roles, erotic BDSM, bondage & fetish sex, as well as live sex dates. Find thousands of play partners for whatever your fetish may be; bondage, foot, cockold, spankings, role-play, electric or water play, sadism and masochism all while traveling in Middle East.

Swinging and Naturism

There are not many in his region. Middle East does not allow naturism.

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Assaad Awad’s Special-Order Bondage Gear

Photo by the Leafhopper Project

Assaad Awad makes fashion that scares the living shit out of people. This Lebanese-born, Madrid-based designer spent 14 years in advertising before quitting to open up his own workshop, and today he specializes in outfits and accessories that wouldn’t be out of place in a Flash Gordon villain’s filthy rape basement.

Assaad has made reflective gold and silver armor for a Thierry Mugler Paris Fashion Week show, a dress made out of wood for Lady Gaga, and ancient Egyptian-esque crowns for Madonna’s 2012 Super Bowl halftime performance. He also crafts bondage gear for a less famous and much odder private clientele, which is mostly what I wanted to talk to him about when I met him (at his suggestion) in the cellar of a Madrid fetish shop.

VICE: How does someone raised in a very conservative country like Lebanon become a luxury fetish designer?
**Assaad Awad: **It doesn’t matter where you’re born—if the fetish is inside you it will come out at some point in your life. You simply cannot hide it. It will come out sooner or later. And sooner is better, because we only live once.

What’s sex like in Lebanon?
There’s a lot of respect. It’s like cooking in a microwave versus three hours on a low flame—the way it tastes is better, you get to where you want to be, and everything explodes.

I’m not sure I get what you mean.
In Europe, you go out for a drink, you get tipsy, flirt with someone, take them home, have sex, and don’t even ask for his or her name. That is microwave sex. On the other hand, because of the taboos in the Arab world, fetish sex [in Lebanon] has a totally different approach. It is cooked on coal, the old-fashioned way. As we all know, the longer you cook on a low flame, the more the taste is enhanced. This is the way it’s done where I come from. You heat up your partner, meet them more than once, and then invite him or her to taste your recipe. That’s what I call a hot dish.

Is it more open-minded there than in Spain?
Everything forbidden is desired. The fetish world is like a game, a role-play, but in the Arab world it has two sides: one is the game, the other is the forbidden, real-life fact. So it is twice as powerful.

So there’s a lot of weird stuff going on in Lebanon, I take it.
Some of the weirdest special orders I’ve had were from Arabs living and working in Beirut. Most of the stuff I make for those guys you can’t even FedEx—it just gets blocked [by the government]. The only way is to send a person off with their luggage full of fetish accessories. Custom-made wall-mounted harnesses, strap-ons, dildo holders, spikes… Many clients want to get fucked by a strap-on placed on their partner’s quadriceps, knees, or even back. My last project was really fun to work on: It’s a kind of a rabbit vibrator fixed on a leather backpack-like bag, so the first partner would wear it on his back, and the other would mount his back just like a horse and get pleasure that way.

Wow.
What I’ve learned from my clients and their behavior is that the more powerful your role in society is, the more you want to be humiliated by your mistress or master. It kind of offers you what the real world cannot offer, because you need to be strong and mean at work to meet expectations. In your private world, you just want to give away this authority, to reset your energy, to fuel up, to be able to be even meaner in the real world.

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Whips and chains excite me: Inside the kinky world of BDSM in Lebanon

Sitting outside a coffee shop in Sassine, Ziad gestures to himself and says, “Look at me. Who could guess I like to whip women? ”It’s a fair question, like other members of the clandestine Lebanese BDSM community with whom the Daily Star spoke, Ziad comes across as an average, middle-aged guy, the kind you’d expect to see at the office or chain smoking in a cafe. Human sexuality comes up in ordinary conversation often, but BDSM – an umbrella term for bondage, dominance, submission, sadism and masochism – is not a sexual preference many understand.

Rarely addressed in the mainstream – though the explosive success of novels such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” suggests change – its practitioners often face stigma.

Some in the Lebanese community have responded to the stigma by banding together for regular meetings starting in September 2011.

“We’ve built this group as a way to be there for newbies … to try and promote awareness for anybody who wished to listen,” says Hadi, a group founder and a “master,” meaning he prefers to play the dominant role.

The group counts about 10 members, all of whom reside in Lebanon. They hold a “munch” once a month to chat and have a drink, just like any group of friends.

“A lot of people have been reticent to join us, they somehow believe we’ve got big stickers on our heads that say who we are,” says Charlotte, a Canadian “sub,” or submissive partner. Topics discussed can range from the banal – such as where to find a good dentist – to more BDSM specific – such as where to buy good bondage rope.

SAFETY FIRST

While there are a wealth of different practices that fall under the BDSM umbrella, one unifying characteristic is safety.

Hadi, who was trained as a master at the Black Lotus Academy in Paris and can teach others professionally, explains that different people are interested in different kinks, which can range from role playing or the use of collars, whips, canes and floggers, to the more extreme, such as burning. He even knows one man who “enjoys being beaten. … That’s what gets him off.”

Whatever the fetish, there are two key things: safety and consent.

“There are ways to do it safely, as not to leave marks if the person doesn’t want marks, and if the person wants marks, there are ways not to do any damage,” Hadi says.

What is striking about the BDSM scene is the communication. Not just on the communal level, but also between couples in a relationship, such as Charlotte and Ziad.

For Charlotte, exploring her limits with Ziad was an awakening. She first came across BDSM in her early 20s. The man she was dating at the time tied her up, cut her with a razor and made her stand in the corner, though at the time she was unaware these were sexual behaviors that would fall under the BDSM classification. All she knew was “this was part of who this man was” and she liked it, she says.

It wasn’t until she became involved in the BDSM scene in Lebanon, and became Ziad’s play partner and submissive, that she finally began to understand this part of herself. Ziad gave Charlotte an extensive list of kinks for her to explore so that she could determine her limits.

Their relationship is characteristic of the BDSM scene, where partnerships usually form between dominants and submissives. It’s not an unusual concept; in most human relationships, there is a power play between those in control and those controlled. What BDSM does is to formalize this dynamic in a way that gives both ends of the spectrum satisfaction sexually.

What it doesn’t mean, however, is that the dominant has free reign.

“The important [thing] is the constant communication between both sides, the dom cannot do as he pleases,” Hadi explains.

It is a misconception that concerns many, “I’ve seen so many sub men and woman who think they have to put up with s–t,” Charlotte says.

But when done right, BDSM can lead to intense pleasure. While for many the idea of giving up control might seem foreign or even frightening, for submissives, the loss of control can be euphoric. The community has given this pleasure a name: “subspace.”

Describing subspace, Charlotte says “it’s a bit similar to being drunk, you don’t really feel safe to drive.” She explains the theory behind the intensity of subspace, saying, “It has to do with an endorphin rush. … Your endorphins go up to help you deal with the pain, and the high comes from the endorphins.”

The flipside to subspace is subdrop, which, as Charlotte succinctly puts it, “sucks.”

Similar to the premenstrual syndrome many women suffer from monthly, subdrop, which has only happened to Charlotte a few times, is an intense feeling of insecurity caused by the lack of BDSM pleasure.

“My whole body was aching and I felt tearful,” she says.

The solution to subdrop differs for everybody, but one solution is endorphin-triggering chocolate.

When recalling their first session together, Charlotte is effusive in her description.

“It felt like everything had clicked into place, and I was finally congruent,” she says.

Ziad agrees: “The first time I whipped you, you said it felt like the universe had come into place.”

THE DANGER OF SECRECY

Without a trusting partnership, some Lebanese would prefer to keep their kinky practices outside of Lebanon. Nadine, who considers herself bicurious and a “switch,” meaning that she can play both dominant and submissive roles, resides in the United Arab Emirates.

“If I was in Lebanon, I don’t think I’d be able to practice kink like I am right now,” she says. “Lebanon’s a small country, and almost everyone knows everybody. As a woman I cannot risk it.”

Protecting anonymity is key. Before anyone new is accepted into the group, they first meet one on one with a member to establish their motivations. But in other countries, this level of security is often unnecessary, members say.

The secrecy here can be dangerous, Hadi says: “The lack of openness and awareness … is going to lead to people who learn from watching porn. They think they know stuff, but they have no guidance.”

BDSM porn, they all agree, is extremely inaccurate. To combat that, the group guides new members on proper practice.

Ziad and Charlotte are teaching a young male submissive how to practice bondage without bruising.

And in a country with a poor reputation for sex education, this kind of practical advice is rare. Speaking from a foreigner’s perspective, Charlotte says, “I accepted this part of myself as just part of myself, I never once felt ashamed of it, never once. But that’s the first thing I notice about the Lebanese people that I meet is this incredible sense of shame. ‘I’m sick and there is something wrong with me.’”

It is something they are keen to counteract. Speaking about their mentoring of the young male sub, Charlotte says, “we’re like his lifeline. … Thank God he found us instead of people who took advantage of him. He lives for the once a month that he is around people and he can just be himself.”

Ziad recalls the moment when they suggested he try to find a group closer to his age at university – most people who attend the munch are in their 30s or 40s – but were met with panic. “He was like, ‘Are you throwing me out?’”

They also seek to protect vulnerable people from those who don’t respect limits.

“So many people here, unfortunately, because they are desperate to find someone who understands them, they jump into play too early, before they really know the other person,” Charlotte says. “And then, of course, in this society, what are you going to do? Go to the police? You’re going to go to the police and you’re going to tell them you wanted him to tie you up but you didn’t want him to hit you?”

GOING PRO

For five to 10 days each year, professional female dominatrices, called pro-dommes, visit the country from abroad for private appointments. “As I hear it, they are always fully booked,” Hadi says.

But local pro-dommes are a different story. Some have made the transition from prostitution to professional dominatrix, which doesn’t necessarily involve intercourse. In Lebanon, a customer will pay around $200-300 per session.

Without proper training and guidance, these sessions can be harmful both physically and mentally, by pushing someone’s limits, members of the group say.

“They think that they know what they are doing but they don’t not, they’re just hurting people,” Hadi says.

It’s a concern shared by Nadine, who as a switch enjoys being dominant herself sometimes. “A male sub will pay for this pro-domme to let him suck her toes or to offer her a visit to the spa. It’s just absurd. I played domme, and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed dominating that guy … and I made sure that he was pleased as well.”

As best it can while still maintaining anonymity, the munch is attempting to encourage a more open discussion of BDSM.

“We are trying to make a balance to say, ‘Hey, we are here, we know what we are talking about, this isn’t right.’ We’re not against people making money, that’s their own business. … We’re trying to promote the correct idea, to make people really understand what this concept is, what this lifestyle is,” Hadi says.

LEGALITY AND ABUSE

Law enforcement in the country is aware of the practice, according to Hadi, who has been active in the scene since 2002.

Back then, he had set up a dungeon in a chalet up in the mountains, with “about 30 people, singles and couples, who would meet monthly to play.” Their group stayed together for around a year-and-a-half before going their separate ways.

He says that the Lebanese scene is currently experiencing a revival, partly because the security forces are preoccupied with bigger problems.

Hadi and Charlotte have both consulted a lawyer about the legality of BDSM in Lebanon, concluding there is nothing in writing that forbids it.

The Daily Star consulted legal experts who asked to remain anonymous. They concluded that there was nothing in the law against BDSM but warned that judges could always find a legal argument against it. For instance, harming another person, even with their consent, would be a pursuable offense under Lebanese criminal code.

“They don’t really know anything about it,” Hadi says. “They just know that some people like to get beaten and tortured and some people do it. That’s the concept that 90 percent of the people have here when you say BDSM, it’s like someone beating someone else. It’s not the same.”

The group’s members point out that there’s a huge difference between BDSM and domestic violence. Charlotte recalls in disbelief a conversation she had after the release of Rihanna’s single “S&M,” when a friend remarked, “She likes to be roughed up, what’s she complaining about that he hit her?” – referring to the alleged incident between the singer and Chris Brown.

“This is a huge stereotype,” Charlotte says. “They think spousal abuse equates to sadomasochism.”

Another prominent stereotype is the idea that people who are into BDSM have suffered past abuse. Charlotte is dismissive of this, saying, “You’ll definitely find some but I don’t think you will find anymore [than] in the general population.”

In fact, while BDSM practices are largely under the academic radar, a Dutch study last year reported in the Journal of Sexual Medicine that BDSM practitioners in their sample had better mental health than those who enjoyed so-called “vanilla sex.”

True or not, experimenting in BDSM requires the same preconditions as ordinary sex: safety, trust and consent. Because, as Charlotte puts it, “when you’re tied up, honey, you’ve got nowhere to go.”

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject, the members of the group asked that their real names not be used.

Via SyndiGate.info

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It’s ‘Jewentine’s Day,’ break out the handcuffs and whips

NEW YORK — The Big Apple is flush with romance today on Tu B’Av, the “Jewish Valentine’s Day.” According to tradition, this day is considered an opportune time to find one’s true mate, with tales of maidens in fields in white virginal dresses who are chosen by their besheret, or soul mate.

There are modern equivalents in New York, where events for Jewish singles and couples marking the holiday abound. There will be romantic dinners, parties, picnics, cruises, complete with scattered rose petals, heart-shaped balloons, sunsets, moonrises, summer breezes, soft music and gallons of alcohol. All in an effort to produce that single, perfect moment in which eyes and hearts meet, and love is born.

Love is the goal, agrees David, though “for us it’s achieved more with whips, handcuffs, and genital clamps.”

David — who asked not to be identified by his real name — is a Modern Orthodox single from Brooklyn in his late twenties. His J-Date profile, which his mom set up for him, describes him as a Jewish educator and pro-Israel activist, who enjoys karaoke, cooking, hosting Shabbat dinners, and walking his dog. His FetLife profile, however, describes him as a submissive masochist slave, who enjoys being “dominated, humiliated, spanked, flogged, gagged, penetrated” and walked like a dog, among other things.

He’s looking for a nice Jewish Dominant girl who can do these things for him. This Tu B’Av, he hopes to find one that he can also bring home to mom.

'Fifty Shades of Grey' cover art. (photo credit: Courtesy)

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ cover art. (photo credit: Courtesy)

David got into kink in 2011, after stealing his sister’s copy of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Though he found the characters and relationships to be “the worst kind of sugarcoated sentimental goop,” the bondage and discipline scenes resonated deep within him. So deep, in fact, that halfway through chapter 16 he burst into tears.

“I wanted so bad to be in her place,” he sniffles. “Her experiences were everything I always wanted and never thought existed. When I finally saw them in words, it hurt to think that this is just some goyish novel, it isn’t real, and that even if it was, it could never be mine… It would break my mother’s heart.”

But he could not restrain himself from googling some terms, and once he did he discovered that not only were the scenes based on reality, but there was much more out there, and much closer then he thought. When he came across a Jewish BDSM meet up, taking place a half hour drive away, he took the leap of faith. He’s been in the scene ever since.

Jewish kinksters

There are thousands of Jews in New York who define themselves, secretly or publicly, as kinksters.

Kinkster is a friendly nickname for people who practice BDSM (an acronym for: bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism), which is used an umbrella term for an array of erotic and interpersonal dynamics based on dominance and submission.

Illustrative photo of bondage (photo credit: screen capture from FetLife.com)

Illustrative photo of bondage (photo credit: screen capture from FetLife.com)

Being a kinkster can mean anything from playing doctor with your partner to actually slicing them open with a knife. It can be a preference or a necessity, a pastime or a 24-7 commitment, a mild interest or the pillar of one’s social, cultural and sexual identity.

FetLife, a website that defines itself as “the Facebook for kinksters” – though the pictures usually include everything but the face. It currently hosts almost 1.5 million US-based profiles of self-declared kinksters, some 100,000 of them from New York. Jewish-related Fetlife groups in the region include at least 3,000 members.

Within the category of Jewish-related kink, the variety and scope are staggering. There are online groups discussing the finer points of halacha in BDSM, such as finding non-leather collars for Yom Kippur, and if and when should a lady’s strap-on be taken to the ritual bath or mikveh (though that may have been a joke). There are groups where members are seriously looking for their kinky basheret, or soul mate. There are also groups of Jewish men and women who wish to be dominated by Arab masters.

An online Jewish platform for sexual creativity

“There’s a Hebrew saying: ‘There are 70 faces to the Torah,’” says Ayo Oppenheimer, 27, founder and editor of the website Jewrotica.org. “As I see it, Judaism is very much a framework for engaging with life. It is a broad, dynamic construct, which allows for more sexual creativity, pluralism and tolerance than people normally give it credit for.”

Ayo Oppenheimer, founder and editor of the website Jewrotica.org, leading a Hillel session. (photo credit: David Abitbol)

Ayo Oppenheimer, founder and editor of the website Jewrotica.org, leading a Hillel session. (photo credit: David Abitbol)

The intersection between sexuality, interpersonal relationships and Judaism is something that had always interested Oppenheimer. As a kid, growing up in a observant household, she never hesitated to relate to questions or matters that others might find embarrassing. As a teenager, even older friends and siblings would come to her for relationship advice. As a young married woman in her twenties, she began leading informal workshops on sexuality and relationships for young Orthodox couples.

She was living with her husband in an insular Jewish community in the Bronx, making a name for herself as a Jewish educator, when she decided to make a break for it.

“It was a good life, but I was feeling a little boxed in,” she says. “I wanted to see the world.”

In 2010, the couple ditched their Bronx apartment and moved to the Dominican Republic. Oppenheimer worked as a yoga instructor in a beach resort, a then a camp director in Costa Rica in Costa Rica, then a traveling lecturer at universities across the country. She befriended circus people, jugglers, dancers and hippies along the way. Some of the different lifestyles and expressions she encountered she integrated into her own life.

“I came to see life as a buffet… Rather than opting for a pre-set dish, where you keep the company of other diners who are just like you, I chose to create my own world, my own meal, and then find other people to invite to it.”

The idea for Jewrotica was born in 2012, after Oppenheimer read a New York Times article reporting that “Fifty Shades of Grey” first became popular among the Orthodox Jewish community in Washington Heights.

‘We have Jewish food, Jewish literature, Jewish everything – but we lacked a platform to discuss sexuality and relationships in a Jewish context’

“When I heard that an Orthodox women’s book club was reading and discussing “Fifty Shades,” I realized that there was a real need and an opportunity here. We have Jewish food, Jewish literature, Jewish everything – but we lacked a platform to discuss sexuality and relationships in a Jewish context,” says Oppenheimer.

As a hub for Jewish sexuality, the site offers anything from discussions on relationships in light of tradition and halacha to high-octane erotic confessions. There are workshops and lectures. There are the musings of Jews grappling with their sexuality, or just grappling with each other. Content is rated, from PG to XXX, allowing all denominations to browse safely the site does not contain any nudity.

Groups from across the Jewish board are represented: the Orthodox Jews, the Jewish LGBT community, the Jewish BDSM community. Though she doesn’t align herself with any of them, Oppenheimer tends to speak of all of them as “we.”

Jewrotica logo (photo credit: courtesy)

Jewrotica logo (photo credit: courtesy)

“I navigate multiple worlds. I speak the language of many different communities, and I can integrate – but there is definitely a challenge in having each foot in a different world. Sometimes I feel that I’ve seen too much… Other times I feel that I hold myself back from truly exploring.”

Though Oppenheimer is personally averse to the more hardcore expressions of BDSM, she commented that the lifestyle has components that could be both beautiful and useful.

Despite its reputation, she says, “Kink truly instills the values of creativity, communication and respecting boundaries… People in the kink community are often much more respectful of each other’s boundaries and well-being than in the vanilla (normal) world. It’s a society with a clear code of conduct and ethics… There is negotiating the boundaries beforehand, and follow-up meetings to see that everything is okay afterwards. There are contracts, safewords… There’s a culture of being honest and direct. It would be great if in the vanilla world, people could tell each other what they want like that.”

Still, she says, there is no way to judge kink as a whole. “It’s a system, a tool, and like any tool can be used in either constructive or destructive ways. To give either a blanket endorsement or a blanket recrimination would be foolish of me.”

‘Whoever pins me down – I’m hers’

David is planning a Tu B’Av party with some friends.

“I have something a little different in mind,” he says, eyes glowing. “This is what I’m imagining: we meet in central park, after dark. The Doms [Dominants] are wearing black. The subs [submissives] are wearing white. A signal is given, and we run. They run us down. Whoever pins me down – I’m hers.”

David laughs when I remark that this is hardly in the spirit of the holiday. Weren’t there wreaths of flowers and joyous dancing in the vineyards?

The earliest mention of the holiday can be found in the Book of Judges, Chapter 21, in the story of “the mistress on the hill.” Youngsters from the tribe of Benjamin kidnapped the beloved mistress of a man from the neighboring Levi tribe, and raped her to death. After the Benjamites refused to hand over the perpetrators for justice, a war broke out, with the rest of the Israel vowing never again to give their daughters in marriage to the Benjamites.

Weren’t there wreaths of flowers and joyous dancing in the vineyards?

Within a generation the tribe of Benjamin was dying out, and the rest of Israel regretted their hasty oath. Finally, they devised a plan to get around it.

“But look, there is the annual festival of the Lord in Shiloh,” they said to the Benjamite men. “When the young women of Shiloh come out to join in the dancing, rush from the vineyards and each of you seize one of them to be your wife”

The Benjamites got their women, no oath was broken, and thus was born the holiday of love.

Those were entirely different times, of course: different values, a different kind of love. But it does shed a new light on David’s preferences.

“I’ve heard people say that we’re perverts, and by trying to bring Jewish traditions into our lifestyles, we’re perverting Judaism as well,” he says. “But I’d like to point out that as far as this night is concerned, I‘m just returning to the sources.”

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The 50 shades of Jews practicing BDSM

By Alina Dain Sharon/JNS.org

Since hitting theaters on Valentine’s Day, the blockbuster film “Fifty Shades of Grey”—part 1 of a big-screen trilogy based on E.L. James’s wildly successful book series of the same name—has cast an international spotlight on the sexual practices known as BDSM (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism). Some members of the BDSM community have said both the film and the book do not accurately depict their lifestyle. But what does it actually mean to practice BDSM, and more specifically, what does that lifestyle mean for Jews who choose it?

People who practice BDSM come from every background “you can ever think about,” says Dr. Limor Blockman, a well-known clinical sex counselor who works with clients in the BDSM and kink communities. Blockman—who is also a member of Jewrotica.org, an online sexual resource for the Jewish community—explains that anyone practicing a sexual kink (which Blockman defines as anything that is not conventional in one’s sex life, love life or lifestyle) has both curiosity and courage. Such individuals “appear to be more able to deal with judgment,” she says.

But BDSM continues to have a somewhat negative reputation, in part due to its frequent association with violence, requiring many practitioners to hide their involvement with the lifestyle. 

Click photo to download. Caption: Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) in "Fifty Shades of Grey." Credit: Universal Pictures.
Click photo to download. Caption: Anastasia Steele (played by Dakota Johnson) and Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Credit: Universal Pictures.

Ariella Perry, a certified clinical sex therapist based in Jerusalem, wrote in the Times of Israel that Judaism “does not idealize the idea of one partner dominating or suppressing the other.” Yet “there is nothing in the world of soft-BDSM that is specifically contrary to halachah and Jewish law, and it can certainly be utilized to spice up one’s sexual relationship,” she wrote.

Blockman believes that Judaism is the most “open religion” for BDSM because it is more “accepting of sexuality” than other major faiths and promotes the responsibility of one partner for the sexual satisfaction of the other. BDSM requires “a lot of communication and comfort, and relying on each other” to set the boundaries of the relationship, Blockman told JNS.org. Such boundaries, says Blockman, are sometimes lacking in what she calls “vanilla” (non-BDSM or mainstream) sexual relationships.

One user of the BDSM and kink-geared online social network Fetlife, who agreed to be interviewed under the pseudonym “Jack,” said he grew up modern Orthodox and attended synagogue on a regular basis. Now in his early 30s, Jack defines himself somewhere between Conservative and Orthodox.

Click photo to download. Caption: A BDSM-style collar. Credit: Grendelkhan via Wikimedia Commons.
Click photo to download. Caption: A BDSM-style collar. Credit: Grendelkhan via Wikimedia Commons.

While Jack said his Jewish faith did not impact his decision to practice BDSM, he told JNS.org that he has “chosen not to go to certain events or activities because of conflicts with either Shabbos or other holidays, but I do that with other parts of my life as well.”

Engaging in the BDSM lifestyle as a “dominant” for about 10 years, Jack has been involved with four regular partners and has played out BDSM scenes with at least another 15 people. But during this time, he only had actual sexual intercourse with one partner, and that was not until six months into the relationship.

“A major misconception that people have [about BDSM] is the requirement of sex as a part of play,” he said. “Sex is frequently a part of play, but it comes down to the negotiation between the people. I usually rule it out as an option.”

“When sex does happen [within BDSM], it rarely if ever happens with anyone but a regular partner,” Jack added.

Another misconception, some practitioners say, is the idea that BDSM is abusive.

“Abuse is not consensual, and the [BDSM] lifestyle is all about consent,” which can be revoked at any time with the use of a “safe word,” Jack said.

Jack also took issue with the common implication, also illustrated by “Fifty Shades of Grey,” that “you have to be messed up or abused to enjoy something like [BDSM].”

“That is wrong. … For me, at least, BDSM is simply a way for two people to connect at a higher level. … I like pushing the edges and limits of my partner. For me this shows how much I trust my partner and they trust me,” he said.

Eventually, Jack hopes to marry a Jewish woman who would “enjoy the lifestyle” with him—leading to another perception by some that monogamy cannot coexist with that lifestyle.

“People in the BDSM community can choose to be either monogamous or polyamorous or other forms of lifestyles, and they can have their own terms,” Blockman said. “For instance, they can decide that they ‘play’ publicly with other people, but they don’t invite them into their homes. In my experience, most people that practice in coupledom are either married or are in a long-term relationship.”

That is true for Karen Summer, a well-known 1980s pornographic actress. Summer, who is Jewish, has not acted in any BDSM films but engages in those practices in her private life with a steady partner. Summer’s male partner is the only one to whom she is “submissive,” and she plays the dominant role with other people.

“I am what we call fluid monogamous.… I don’t have sex with the [other] people that I play with,” she told JNS.org.

Many BDSM practitioners play out scenarios at locations informally known as “dungeons.” Summer is a member of the Threshold Society, which is a BDSM dungeon but also a non-profit educational organization for Los Angeles-area adults who have an interest in that lifestyle. Threshold offers both “play parties” and educational classes.

Caren, a Jewish female BDSM practitioner who like Jack chose to be interviewed under a pseudonym, grew up in what she called a fairly Reform Jewish household but attended a Chabad-Lubavitch movement Hebrew school. Caren is currently dominant in her BDSM lifestyle and plays with several submissive men. Like Jack, she does not engage in actual intercourse with her play partners.

“For me, it is a control thing… and an endorphin rush. Intercourse is not necessary,” she told JNS.org.

Regarding the intersection of BDSM with her Jewish faith, Caren said she believes that “as Jews, we are used to putting up with a measure of skepticism from the non-Jewish world and will not look to make ourselves stand out anymore than we do.” She said she has a few friends who know about her lifestyle but that over the years, she has encountered Orthodox Jewish men who want to practice BDSM but “would never come out to the community about it.” 

Blockman said it “makes a lot of sense” that within the setting of an Orthodox lifestyle, which can be “kind of restricting and repressing,” urges such as BDSM will emerge.

Rather than being an accurate representation of the BDSM community, according to Blockman, “Fifty Shades of Grey” is more an iteration of the literary romance genre.

“It’s always a young, somewhat sophisticated, very soft, and gentle young woman being swept away by a strong, [but] kind of gentle man,” Blockman said of romance books. BDSM is an aspect of the “Fifty Shades of Grey” plot, but with the exception of a few scenes, the male protagonist falls in love with the female protagonist and begins to gradually amend aspects of his dominant behavior.

“Someone who is really practicing BDSM and who is dominant would never avoid that, because that’s their joie de vivre (joy of living),” Blockman said. 

Blockman believes that in the future, BDSM practitioners will be able to be more open about their lifestyle.

“I believe that [with] any practice, as the world becomes more aware and more accepting, it will be possible [to be open about it]. It just depends on where you live, of course,” she said.

At the same time, a concern for BDSM practitioners is that popular-culture depictions of the lifestyle such as “Fifty Shades of Grey” might spur those unfamiliar with the practice to act it out in a dangerous manner.

“You can literally kill somebody by hitting him in the wrong place,” Blockman said, adding that she hopes people interested in BDSM will make an effort to educate themselves about the practice through seminars and other educational opportunities.

Summer stressed that she likes “having control,” but does not seek to inflict or receive pain. Some BDSM practitioners do like incorporating pain into their play, and if that is where they find excitement, it is okay as long as the activities are “safe, sane, and consensual,” Summer said.

A play scene in a dungeon, explained Summer, “never happens until two people sit down” and discuss their likes, dislikes, limits, and any health issues. Bondage and discipline, meanwhile, do not necessarily mean “being tied” or “gagged,” she said. 

“If you’re playing that kind of scene and it’s something you’ve negotiated, then fine, it can be. But it can [also be] erotic and sensual,” Summer said.

For instance, Summer described a scenario in which two partners are sitting and having a date at home with a couple of glasses of wine. One person takes the glasses, puts them in the partner’s hands, and says, “Will you play along with me for five minutes?” and “Don’t spill a drop.” Then the person who initiated the play begins kissing the partner holding the glasses on his or her neck, or begins rubbing his arms.

“That’s bondage. That person is giving consent and he is bound by having promised not to spill that wine,” said Summer.

“Human beings are multifaceted, and we have the good fortune of enjoying a whole bunch of different things on a whole bunch of different levels,” she added. “My belief in the God of my understanding… is that as long as I am being good to me and not harming others, I can’t do wrong.”

Download this story in Microsoft Word format here.Posted on March 17, 2015 by Alina D. Sharon/JNS.org and filed under FeaturesU.S.Health.