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Brisbane Leather Pride: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Brisbane Leather Pride: Take a Walk on the Wild Side

CREATED ON // Saturday, 16 August 2014 Author // Andrew Shaw

This year’s Brisbane Leather Pride Festival runs from August 22 - September 14, with events across Brisbane, including the Mr Queensland Leather comp at Corium, play parties and a ‘Blood Lust Ball’. Andrew Shaw spoke to the presenters of the Pup Play, BDSM Safety, Needle Play and Caning workshops. 


What are the types of pet play you engage in?
Pup play. Specifically, gay males taking on a canine persona.

What’s a misconception people have about pet play?
The big misconception is that it’s about having sex with actual animals. We are not about bestiality at all. It's about interactions between consenting human adults.

What’s something people wouldn’t know about pup play?
Many people don't seem to realize that pup play is not about humiliation or degrading or punishing the pups. It's about recreating the close bond that a dog owner has with his real life dog. It's about the closeness, the friendship and the companionship. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting down to watch a movie at home with your pup curled up across your lap and to be patting him.

Training a Pup

If someone is interested in pup play, how can they get involved?
There is a strong and growing pup community in Brisbane. A lot of it is done under the banner of The BootCo. Our monthly pub nights at the Sportsman Hotel on the first Saturday night of each month has a pup pen where pups can pup out with other pups and handlers. We also have regular pup dinner social get-togethers. Another way to find out about pup play would be to watch some of the Sirius Pup YouTube videos.

What will you be teaching at the Leather Pride workshop?
We'll be doing an overview of many aspects of pup play. We'll cover basics like what pup play is and what it is not. We'll talk about it from a pup’s perspective and also from a handler’s point of view. We'll talk about the gear and accessories involved. There will also be demonstrations and an opportunity for some pup play on the day.


Is there a single safety issue that applies over all BDSM practices?
The scope of BDSM is so vast, it is difficult to say there is a single safety issue. However, the watch word for an overall safe play environment is ‘negotiation’. Negotiation is the key to understanding what the wants, needs and desires of the partners are. Embedded within that communication should be the discussion about limits, health issues, and previous play sessions that did not go as planned.

We’ve all heard about the safe word – is that key to the activity?
Safe words are integral to the ongoing communication in a scene. it is important to realise that, at times, a bottom may not be able to verbalise the need to slow down or stop, so the safe word may become a safe gesture or action.

What will you be teaching at your Leather Pride workshop?
I will be co-presenting with bv_, who also is a lifestyler of 30-plus years, and the focus of our workshop will be a risk awareness and safety focus. It isn't a kinky first aid course, rather, it looks to build on the existing knowledge participants have in order to minimise risks, identify potential failure points, prepare for mishaps and be able to respond to anything out of the ordinary in their scenes though preparation and planning.


Just the term ‘needle play’ sounds painful and dangerous – is that the case?
This is a really difficult question to answer as pain is relative – relative to an individual’s connection to and desire for pain, the gauge (size), number and placement of the needles, the skill of the Top in terms of their technique (sensual versus sadistic), headspace, body temperature and other environmental factors. In my experience, the initial pain from needle play in extended scenes is quickly exchanged for adrenaline bliss once a rhythm has been established. Especially for a first timer! Is it dangerous? Like all forms of BDSM, there is always an element of danger and in my style of play, it is often one of the core elements to a good scene. Danger is sexy; unnecessary risk taking, unpreparedness and unsafe practice is not.


What are some of the issues around hygiene and safety for needle play?
There is a lot of misinformation out there about what constitutes safe needle play in terms of hygiene and good practice. I err on the side of overkill in terms of my hygiene practices, but fuck making excuses for it. Safety of myself and my play partners is paramount. First and foremost, any medical play done well and safely is not cheap. Your kit must be maintained with good quality gear, most of which needs to be single-use or sterilisable. It is never a case of grab a needle and just start poking around.

Could you describe one type of needle play.
Works of Art is when I make beautiful designs that complement the bodies of my play partners. I work with their shapes and curves and I often create designs that I know will resonate with their personalities. There is often very little blood and I tend to incorporate other bits and pieces such as string or beads to complete the designs.

What will you be teaching at the Leather Pride workshop?
I will be teaching elements of the seven safety considerations, but it will only be pitched at an introductory level. Observers are more than welcome to buy a ticket and come along. It can be as hands on or off as they feel comfortable with.


What’s a misconception people have about caning?
They think it's purely a physical thing and that you can do it with no mental connection between the parties.

Is there a type of person who is attracted to caning?
Not really. The common factor is the transfer of power, the taking of control.

How did you get involved?
I'm into TPE (Total Power Exchange) and this was a logical progression. As well as carrying out caning in my personal play, I teach caning workshops both for beginners and high-impact experienced players.

If someone is interested in caning, what would you suggest they do to get involved?
Go to play parties, workshops. Watch and learn. Forget about trying to learn it just by surfing the net. It ain't gonna happen.

Brisbane Leather Pride 2014, August 22 - September 14. Download the festival guide at brisbaneleatherpride.com

[Image]: Pup Play.


Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw

Andrew Shaw is editor of Queensland Pride.

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