Life and Blogging Today (7-18-2015)

Busy, Busy, Busy

Life and Blogging Today (7-18-15)

dear reader

Hello, my dear friends and readers,

Despite the absence of recent writing, I do think of my blogging friends a lot. And, I often think about the potential for this site, and I get really excited. I love doing kink/BDSM education. I love the blogging community. We all love sharing our exploits…

But, I’m finding these days, that I rarely have time. Not only do Serafina and Sinnjara keep me busy, but I’ve become far more active in our local BDSM community. We’ve become far more active in attending events too, so finding time to blog has been difficult.

Last winter was really tough, both Serafina and I had back surgery. I’ve recovered from mine, but Serafina will need more surgery later this year. Sinnjara hasn’t been totally free from health issues herself, but she was there for us for the first month of recovery for both of our surgeries. And, she continues to provide great service still, despite having to balance time here with the needs of her son who lives 70 miles away.

Riverbound web capturegroups and events

I’m now on the Board for a local BDSM group named Riverbound. I was even given the honor of being selected to be Board Chair. So, I have the privilege to run the group’s board meetings.

Riverbound has a monthly munch at a local restaurant, it has a monthly meeting called the submissive forum, and it has a monthly play party. The organization is in its 15th year of existence and probably has more lifestyle experience than any other club its size. Many of us have 10, 15, 20, 25, or even 30 years of experience living BDSM and/or poly lifestyles.

The Samadhi family is sometimes involved with a local (for Sinnjara) BDSM/kink group named CROP, based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We also have attended events put on by CIPEX, an organization based in Des Moines, Iowa. And, we have some other regional events on our “radar” for later in the year as well.

And, if all that’s not enough, I recently petitioned MAsT International for permission to form a local chapter of MAsT (Masters And slaves Together).

“W” is for Wedding Dress Fetish

“W” is for Wedding Dress Fetish

I’ve long been aware that my fellow human beings are capable of finding fetish value in most anything we commonly (and even uncommonly) find around us.  Real people fetishize everything from robots to tentacles.  And yes, there are more than a few into what could only be called (at least to my mind) a wedding dress fetish.

For instance, a quick google search for the term “wedding dress fetish” leads to more than one “Experience Project” essay like I Have A Wedding Dress Fetish, where we read:

For as long as i remember i’ve allways have the fetish for wedding dresses. Wedding dresses are the ultimate in femininitity and the most ultimate dress anyone can own. I started getting bridal magazines when i was a teenager and when bridal fashion shows were at the local malls i would go and watch them. I’ve never been in a bridal salon but allways looked at the display models wearing the lovely gowns. When i started my dressing my ultimate goal is to own a wedding gown when the oppertunity came up and it eventually came. I now own 2 wedding gowns and don’t be surprized if i hunt for another one. My fetish is as strong today thanks to the internet. I have bridal websites as favourites and i watch bridal fashion shows on youtube. I still buy bridal magazines but not as frequently as before as i think i can see more wedding gowns on the net than seeing them in a magazine. The feeling of all that fabric swishing and draggin around you is the most ultimate feeling you can experience. Seeing pics of other people like us in wedding gowns assures me that my fetish for wedding gowns will remain strong.

wedding_dress_fetish_sheer_sexiness

sheer sexiness from Vera Wang’s Spring 2016 bridal collection

While the spelling in that particular essay may need some additional attention, the feelings described by the author certainly don’t need any editorial work, they are an excellent reflection of the special feelings that wedding dresses elicit for some individuals.  I have a little bit of a wedding dress fetish myself, so I can personally relate.  It’s not a huge fetish for me, you won’t likely find me perusing magazines devoted to modern brides.  Nevertheless, I do have a relatively strong appreciation for a sexy woman adorned in a bridal gown.

And, without a doubt, I’ve noticed that (over time) bridal gowns themselves are getting sexier and sexier.  As far as the perspective of a wedding gown fetishist such as myself, that’s probably a good thing.  Certainly, to my eyes, anything that makes the wedding ritual sexier should be embraced.  Yes, I understand that weddings are not yet considered to be a “fetish event”, but some trends in wedding fashion seem to be leading us in that particular direction.

I’m not alone in noticing this trend.  In fact, today’s essay is inspired (at least in part) by a recent article at The Atlantic’s website titled Aisle Be Seeing You: The Rise of the Totally Transparent Bridal Gown where this delicious trend is detailed.

The recent Bridal Fashion Week in New York, which previewed wedding gowns for the Spring 2016 season, featured all the things you’d expect: lace, crystals, tulle. (So much tulle!) It also featured, however, something you wouldn’t, necessarily, expect: skin. (So much skin!) Skin not just of traditionally exposed bridal body parts—arms and shoulders and calves—but also of stomachs and sides and backs.

There was the Marchesa gown that leaves its wearer’s back bare save for a line of covered buttons. There was Theia’s pants-based ensemble, the focal point of which is a bra worn under an iridescent blouse. There was the spate of dresses that, taking their cue from ready-to-wear trends, featured cutouts—at the waist (Reem Acra), in the back (Monique Lhuillier), between the breasts (Angel Sanchez). There were the many two-piece affairs, with fits both boxy and snug, showing flirty flashes of midriff. There were the nearly invisible nettings—draped, wantonly, over shoulders and backs and necklines—that offered, in everything but the most up-close of views, the illusion of bareness. There were the many dresses that took their plunging necklines to their logical conclusions: their wearers’ waists.

But the most revealing pieces in the latest bridal lines—revealing, in every sense of the word—were Vera Wang’s mermaid-cut sheaths, staunchly traditional in their ribbons and lace, but innovative in their most striking features: The gowns are almost fully translucent, from their necklines to their hems. The lingerie their models wore, dainty and daring at the same time, was on full display under the fishnet and lace bodices of the gowns. The lingerie was, in fact, an elemental part of the dresses.

As a man who finds bridal lingerie to be a big part of the appeal of the so called “bride fetish”, I see this to be a very positive trend.  Sexy brides make for sexy weddings, and what’s not to like about that?  I personally find a sexy bride to be far more appealing than endless recitation from 1 Corinthians.

Love may be patient and kind. Love may not envy, boast, or be overly proud.  But let us be sure, love is often sexy.  Very sexy.

Megan Garber observed in her article for The Atlantic:

This—the be-boudoired bridal outfit—may be designed to shock, but it isn’t at all surprising. It’s simply another step toward something that has taken place both gradually and seemingly overnight: the sexification of the wedding dress. The gowns that have for so long involved sweeping hoop skirts and demure lace and virginal white have been, of late, getting steadily saucier. They’ve been showing more shoulder, more cleavage, more back … more of pretty much everything, except fabric.

wedding_dress_05I happen to believe that a ceremony centered on romantic love between individuals should (if it’s to be honest) embrace all things sexy.  And, wherever possible, I do practice what I preach.  Serafina and I viewed her collaring ceremony to be a sexier version of our wedding, with an even deeper commitment than most marriages.  At our ceremony, Serafina was adorned in little more than a plain white corset.  When she crawled up the aisle to me, our guests saw the same charms I see every evening!

While the creations of designers like Vera Wang may not go quite as far as we did at a D/s collaring ceremony, they aren’t terrible far behind.  Which leads me to a personal observation.  It seems like the cutting edge fashion industry has always borrowed a page from the fetish community.  First it’s worn on the streets, then the fashion later appears on runways and stages.  Now that’s even true for bridal wear.

Now, I should probably inform you that what I call a “wedding dress fetish”, is more commonly known as a “bride fetish”.  While bridal fetishes haven’t yet seemed to earn a specific name from the medical/psychological community, it is a fetish the kink community does acknowledge.  LatexWiki offers the following description:

A bride fetish is a sexual fetish in which either a woman (or possibly a man) enjoys dressing in the typical outfit worn by a bride, or someone derives sexual pleasure from viewing women (or possibly men) dressed in this manner.

A bride may be regarded as the archetype of a virgin ready and waiting to have sexual intercourse. Brides often wear garments associated with fetish: lingerie such as basques or corsets, stockings and thongs; they also wear stiletto shoes. Generally, a bridal dress and lingerie are white or nearly white, denoting purity. For a transvestite, bridal wear may be the ultimate female apparel.  Sometimes at a wedding between two men, one or both men dress as brides.

wedding_dress_fetish_06Alternately, I’ve also seen it called a “virgin fetish”.

Bride Fetish is sometimes known as a virgin fetish, where the ideal woman is pure and uninitiated, making her a safe partner in many ways. The bridal fetish extends to the image of an innocent appearing virginal bride being your own total whore, willing and anxious to do anything to please you sexually.

While I’m not sure if I put all that much weight behind my own wedding dress fetish being about making a virginal bride into my own total whore, I do have to admit that’s not an unappealing thought.  And, I also have to admit that displaying my Serafina as I did, while she crawled down the aisle at her collaring in nothing but a corset, was made all the sweeter knowing she was raised a devout Mennonite girl.

If you are going to corrupt a tradition, corrupt it good!

Rumors of My Demise

Rumors of My Demise

As the old saying goes, “Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated!”

The last year has been a very long one.  I spent last spring, summer, and fall, suffering from terrible sciatica issues, so I really view 2014 as a “lost year” – it wasn’t pretty.  I had surgery in January to help relieve some of my issues, and for the most part the surgery was a success.  I have less daily pain than before, for certain, but I’ve lost a lot of sensation in my right leg.

Then in February is was Serafina’s turn.  Her back problems were actually far more serious than my own, as she had not only a bone spur, but also had to deal with pieces of a calcified disc that had shattered.

Did I say “wasn’t pretty” once already?  Well, let me say it again – it wasn’t pretty!

Then, a few weeks after Serafina’s surgery, in March, Sinnjara had problems too.  Mid-month Sinnjara had a pretty bad car accident, one that included Interstate Highway speeds, two full 360 degree spins with a 180 added at the end for good measure.  Yes you read that correctly, Sinnjara spun around 2 and 1/2 times, 900 degrees.  Her car was totaled, but she did walk away.

There was some other additional drama, I’m not going to discuss here, simply suffice it to say 2015 didn’t start off real well.  Obviously, for those who say this blog stripped down naked to a single post, you know I didn’t deal with all the drama well myself.

I eventually got over myself – it’s really far more complicated than I’m letting on, obviously, I got over a lot more than just myself, but this blog is meant to be primarily an educational tool, not my personal confessional – at that point Sinnjara helped restore the blog from a backup we’d created to do some design work last fall.

During my time away from the leather community, I’ve had time to reflect.  Occasionally there was the equivalent of a sharp stick in my side helping me, as I do have a pair of lovely submissives who can be exceptionally well behaved, and at the same time challenge me to my own limit.  So I’ve reflected, thought, pondered, studied, and considered.  The resulting conclusion is that I am what I am, there’s no denying it.

I’m kinky and perverted down to my core.  My true family (extended version) are the wonderful folks I’ve met exploring this lifestyle, whether those meetings are in person, or whether they are virtual.  As much as I was depressed these past few months from not being able to roam a dungeon comfortably, I was also depressed from not interacting here as well.  I’ve missed my friends, no matter where we’ve met!

So, I’m back.  I purchased a nice computer chair (by Lazy Boy, shudder at that name – lol) that doesn’t set off my sciatica.  I’ll be writing education pieces, participating in the wonderful internet memes like Sinful Sunday, (one of many really) that my family enjoys.  Hopefully I’m back where I was at this time last year . . . I’m feeling like a strutting rooster again . . .

Last but not least, and just for fun, I wanted to append a penis infographic I ran across this morning on Facebook.  Cock-a-doodle doo . . .

PENISinfographic

A Conversation With Alpha

A Conversation With Alpha

We had a small celebration of sorts yesterday.

One year ago today Serafinas was officially collared as my slave. We could neither afford, nor did we have the energy to put together anything big this year to celebrate, so we simply invited our very dear friend Alpha Bull down to visit.  Our friendship with Alpha is by far the deepest we share in the community, which itself is significant.

But, the invitation was full of other meaning as well.  In addition to giving the formal toast after the ceremony, Alpha was the man chosen to bring a blindfolded and nearly naked Serafina down the aisle to me, on a leash. To top everything else off, Alpha had given us a case of Naked Wines as a gift at the ceremony, and I’d promised to share one bottle with him on the event’s anniversary.  I’ve actually held back the entire case, thinking that as long as the wine holds out, we can sample a bottle every year on the collaring’s anniversary.

For yesterday, Sinnjara supplied a very delicious Rye Whiskey she picked up just for the event, as she’d once heard me mention that Rye was one of Alpha’s favorite drinks.  Serafina slaved over the stove for two consecutive days to produce a chocolate cake-pie and a Lemon Meringue pie.

Me? I supplied the cigars.  Sinnjara smoked a Tatiana Mocha Caramely, Serafina had a CAO Cherry Bomb Cigarillo, while Alpha and I savored the pairing of Sinnja’s rye whiskey with a Joya De Nicaragua Antaño 1970 Lanceros.

Also, mirroring my efforts at the collaring ceremony, I grilled meat.  I’ve been cooking meat over a grill since the 1970’s, I did it professionally while supporting myself as a youth.  It’s not only something I’m good at, it’s a joy for me to do as well.  Slow cooking meat over a grill is almost as relaxing as enjoying a fine cigar.  Pairing the two together (not to mention the addition of Sinnjara’s Rye) is always an outstanding experience for me.

000169colorAs we were sitting around discussing the news, the topic of rape play came up.  It seems that a mutual friend of ours acted out a rape fantasy with a lady at the Kinky Kottage, so Alpha was sharing the story as he knew it.

Now let’s be honest, rape play isn’t an everyday topic here, but, truth told, it’s relatively common as a fantasy.  I’ve seen estimates that more than 50% of women have, at some time in their life, fantasized about forced or coerced sex.  The popularity of what I call “bodice ripping” harlequin style romance novels is proof positive that it’s not an uncommon fantasy at all.  Certainly, it’s a marketable niche to say the least.

Now I do want to be clear about one thing – in talking about “rape play” – we are discussing a special niche within BDSM, the realm of consensual non-consent.  Because rape and force fantasies are so common, a lot of protocols have been developed within the community to try and make fulfilling the fantasies relatively safe.  Even with that said, any kind of consensual non-consent is edge play.  It’s not anything to be taken lightly, or to be done without some serious forethought.

I have a very dear friend who hopes to live out rape fantasies.  I’ve pledged to help her live them out, and I’m not the kind of man to give my word like that lightly.  But, because she has become a dear friend, I’ve begun to wonder if my role in fulfilling her fantasy will only end up being advisory. I may have to help organize her rape, but not be able to take part myself.

Why?

000179BWWell, the proposition was put forth yesterday, that for a lady to really have her fantasy fulfilled, it’s best done by someone she doesn’t know, a stranger.  It’s pretty logical if you think about it.  If Dee and I feel affection and sexual attraction for each other, it’s not like anything I do with her could be realistic enough to fulfill the fantasy.  Oh I could hurt her, she could struggle, we could have some really nasty rough sex that verged on the non-consensual.  That sounds like a good time to me.  But seriously, how can it be non-consensual if there is any kind of preexisting attraction?

It can’t!

That’s one key difference between real life and fantasy.  In the real world, a high percentage of rapes are committed by individuals who might be considered friends, or at least part of a shared social circle.  While there may be women who fantasize about being raped by a friend, that’s not how the fantasy usually works . . .

It was such a fascination conversation that we had, I’d like to continue it here.  What are your thoughts on consensual non-consent and rape play?

Got “Torture Sticks”?

Got “Torture Sticks”?

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Cigars & BDSM

Could it be that 50 Shades of Grey really opened the floodgates?

Has kink/BDSM really become that mainstream?

I ask those questions because there’s a new line of cigars of which I’ve just become aware.1  Not only is the brand name of the cigars intended to play to the BDSM mentality, the individual cigars are named in a provocative fashion to appeal to folks into BDSM, as well as those who may be attracted to BDSM despite not practicing any kink.

No puns intended, at least none that I know of, they really are named “Torture Sticks” . . .

torture-stick-cigars-01Varieties in the Torture Stick line include:

  1. Tickle Torture
  2. Light Flogging
  3. Public Shunning
  4. Electroshock
  5. Branding

So, I know there’s a long association between cigars and BDSM that goes back as far as we’ve got documented history.  And, I knew BDSM has become more and more mainstream.  But, really?  Seriously?  A brand called “Torture Sticks” with individual cigars that reference flogging and electric play?

Freakin’ amazing!

I ran the numbers, figuring the base percentages of folks who admit to BDSM/kink in their bedroom, the percentage of cigar smokers in the US, and while the end number is enough to fill a smaller sized city, it’s hard to picture this brand being anything other than a novelty success.  I’m guessing it’s more of a novelty product than anything else, but can’t say for sure until I’ve sampled some torture myself!

Does that mean I’m going “soft” and going to become a switch?  Not hardly!  It simply means that more cigars have been ordered.  Now, if I only had humidor space to keep them all . . .

For the record, here are the individual cigar descriptions as provided by Torture Sticks:

The pleasure and pain sensors of the brain lay very close to one another. The human body is carefully tuned to distinguish the fine line between what feels pleasant and what hurts. Though sometimes the signals get crossed, and what some would describe as pain actually feels like pleasure. That’s why we present the Torture 5 Cigar Sampler Pack. Perfect for a cool fall night under the light of a full moon, this is a deviously delectable collection of five cigars boasting spooky names and a gruesome band. This sampler will have you shouting out in pain as you slowly raise the intensity higher and higher with each cigar in the pack, as they increase in flavor and boldness, from mild to full-bodied.

Below are the five sadistic options we offer in each Torture 5 Cigar Sampler Pack. Choose your punishment carefully…

I. Tickle Torture
Set the mood with something light. The Tickle Torture is a mild Churchill cigar that is sure to get the blood flowing. Beware! Even though it’s the mildest in the pack it still has quite the bite. Tickle Torture is a complex smoke that requires you enjoy slowly. Just like its namesake, it may feel good at first but it does not take long for pleasure to morph into pain…unless you’re into that.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan/Dominican

II. Light Flogging
Things start to get more intense with the Light Flogging. This Habano is a step above than the Tickle Torture. It’s darker and has a spicy flavor. This cigar is perfect for any bad little boy or girl who wants a strong and serious smoke. We can ensure the Light Flogging will teach you a lesson in smoking you’ll never forget.
Wrapper: Habano
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan

torture-stick-cigars-02III. Public Shunning
For some there’s nothing more painful and horrific than rejection and harassment from others. That’s why we present the Public Shunning. Go to your dark place with this deep brown aged Maduro cigar. It’s rich, sweet, and dark taste will help you forget your utter abandonment from society.
Wrapper: Maduro
Binder: Dominican
Filler: Dominican

IV. Electroshock
You’ll be spilling your darkest secrets when you try our Electroshock cigar. This is a high voltage Torpedo that gets straight to the point with a strong flavor designed to turn your hair on end. Not for novices, this option sits a step below the most severe torture we offer.
Wrapper: Ecuadorian Sumatra
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan/Dominican

V. Branding
How about a final branding to make you never forget the experience? Consider the last cigar, Branding as your permanent keepsake. The final in this line is a barber pole; two intertwined wrappers coming together for the fullest and boldest flavor in the pack. Just like the searing pain of a red-hot iron on human flesh, this cigar packs a one-two punch with dual wrappers that are just as twisted as we are.
Wrapper: Habano and Connecticut
Binder: Habano
Filler: Nicaraguan

About the only thing left to add is that one of my sweet darling submissives has already purchased a 5 cigar sampler of Torture Sticks for me, she picked them up within mere moments of seeing the sampler.  It’s good to be an alpha male, and it’s even better to have a pair of devoted ladies who take outstanding care of me.

Eventually, I’ll be able to tell you all about the whole line of Torture Sticks, everything from Tickle Torture to Branding.  But, at earliest it will be a few months down the road.  Any time I purchase new cigars online I prefer to leave them in my humidor for at least a few weeks to make sure they are properly humidified, as their time travelling with the United State’s Postal Service can be less than ideal.

Take it from a sadist, when sampling torture, it’s never good to rush!

What does it take to be a Samadhi slave?

What does it take to be a Samadhi slave?

flogging-anon-neighbor_artWhat does it take to be a Samadhi slave?

All it really takes . . . is all you’ve got!

My dear friend Alpha, is prone to saying that Master Michael doesn’t do anything half-assed, and that’s probably even more true than he knows.  The sweet ladies who are my submissives, Serafina and Sinnara, can also confirm.

I don’t want their submission on a part time basis I’m not interested in submission in just the bedroom. I want it all.

While I’m willing to work myself to earn their trust and faith, I require nothing less from them than what I give myself.  I want it all . . .

Yes indeed.  All it takes to be a Samadhi slave, is everything you’ve got!

Any questions?

Welcome to the Clitourethrovaginal Complex

Welcome to the Clitourethrovaginal Complex

I woke up one morning, earlier this week, to discover that my wife’s g-spot was gone.

Sinnjara’s disappeared too.  Gone! Poof !  Their G-spots (apparently) disappeared without a chance for me to even say goodbye!

At least that’s what I’m told.  I certainly don’t agree. You see, earlier in the week  I read an article at Salon.com with the following headline – The truth about the “G-spot”: Why it’s time to put this sex myth to bed.  To be quite honest, the article didn’t impress me, but a lot of what I see posted about sexuality at Salon is just pure drivel.  Here are the article’s opening sentences:

Take a collective sigh of relief, humanity. If you’ve been one of the countless people searching in vain for the elusive Gräfenburg spot (aka the G-spot) or wondering why you aren’t gushing like Old Faithful each time someone makes a “come hither” motion in your vagina, then search and wonder no more. Once lauded as a “magic button” and the ultimate female pleasure enhancer, an Italian scientist’s recent report claims once and for all that the controversial G-spot is nothing but a myth (with a really good PR campaign).

How could the writer, Anna Pulley, have gotten things more wrong?  I know the G-spot exists. Serafina knows the G-spot exists, and so does Sinnjara.  In fact, they know better than I, after all they are examples of women who “squirt” when their g-spot is stimulated.  How is it then that Anna Pulley can’t seem to find her’s?  Seriously!?!  From all appearances, Ms. Pulley appears to be one of the women who can’t seem to find the geography of their own body without a roadmap.  That’s a sad thing to my eyes, but all too common in a world that represses our sexual instincts and desires.

Humanity does not need to breathe a collective sigh of relief, nor do they need to hold their breath waiting for the next great scientific breakthrough on the g-spot to be (mis)reported by Anna Pulley.  All the rhetoric looks to be pure bullshit to my eyes.  My take is that the article’s headline and opening sentences are not only misleading in terms of a woman’s sexual function, they absolutely misrepresent the research too.  It’s only when going beyond the article’s first three sentences (something a lot of readers won’t bother to do) that we get to the real crux of the story.

The study — published in the journal Nature Reviews Urology by Emmanuele Jannini, Professor of Endocrinology and Medical Sexology at Tor Vergata University of Rome, Italy — found that, essentially, the G-spot is just a sensitive area that’s part of the larger pleasure center that includes the vagina, clitoris, and urethra, or as the study sexily put it, the “clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex.”

Let’s reexamine, for just a moment, that last sentence – where it’s stated that the G-spot is “just a sensitive area that’s part of a larger pleasure center” . . .

Did these particular researchers forget (among other things) a woman’s clitoris, perhaps?  Of course the g-spot is a sensitive area that’s part of a woman’s larger pleasure center.  Anyone who knows a woman’s anatomy better than Anna Pulley apparently knows her own body would know that the g-spot isn’t the whole ballgame, it’s just part of the picture.  There are a great number of ways to bring a woman to the heights of ecstasy, the g-spot is just one of many.

And lets be quite honest, if the g-spot is part of a woman’s larger pleasure center, then it does exist!  We just have a sex researcher trying to redefine and rename the pleasure zones in that part of a woman’s body, nothing more.  Apparently some professors doing research want to get their names known by calling a woman’s pussy the clitourethrovaginal complex instead. Instead of naming the specific sensitive portions of a woman’s anatomy, the clitoris and g-spot (among others)  Emmanuele Jannini wants us to use a special name for the pussy as a whole.   To my eyes that’s not science, it’s really part of someone’s personal agenda.

The fact that Salon.com published Anna Pulley’s misrepresentation of a flawed study attempting to redefine a woman’s pussy as a “clitourethrovaginal (CUV) complex” is bad enough, but it would not have motivated me to spend time today writing to dispute the article and the research that it attempts to (mis)report.  What elicited today’s essay, is the fact that yet another link to the article was posted today on Facebook by the Science of Relationships, a website that purports to, “improve relationships by sharing research and scientific evidence in an entertaining, engaging, and user-friendly way.”  I’ve long been a fan of the Science of Relationships’ site, but may have to rethink that if they continue to push links to articles actually misreporting research, especially when that research appears to also be misguided in it’s own assumptions.

Look folks, it doesn’t take a sex researcher to tell us that there’s more to a woman’s pussy than the g-spot.  It’s not rocket science, and it doesn’t take a Professor of Endocrinology and Medical Sexology to learn. That’s something every woman should discover on her own while masturbating.  And, to my eyes it’s something that every heterosexual man should discover while giving pleasure to a female partner.   It just takes a finger or two, some time to explore, and some honest communication between partners about what feels good.  No PhD required, I promise!

Sending Smoke Signals

Sending Smoke Signals

This entry is part 21 of 22 in the series Wicked Wednesday

Communicate!

There are lots of ways that we, as humans, communicate with each other.

Obviously there is verbal communication, that’s what naturally springs to mind for most of us when we hear the word.  Once we are past a couple years of age, words shape our perception of things, and the spoken word is king.  As children we spent hours upon hours listening to our teachers talk, likely far more time than we spend with our noses in books.   Language matters.  It is, perhaps, mankind’s most important invention.

But, for the purposes of today’s topic, I’m more interested in non-verbal forms of communication.  The messages we send with the clothes we wear, as well as the products we purchase and use, are perhaps even more important in signalling who we are, than anything we might say.

Why is that, I wondered?

At least that was my response when I first started to ponder this question.  Why can’t we just trust people to tell us who they are?

Then I remembered the old adage – “Talk is cheap!”  Some folks will say most anything to get what they want, or so it seems.  With that in mind, it does pay us good heed to look deeper than just listening to an individual’s words.  As they say, “Actions speak louder than words.”

Cigars!?!

drew-estate-dirt-torpedo-05Which brings me to the topic of this Wicked Wednesday post – cigars.  Ha!  I bet you were thinking this was a post about communication – and it is that indeed – it’s just not a normal association that most folks consciously make.  But, believe it or not, every time I light a cigar I am communicating with the world.

Cigars have a particular mystique about them.  Their use makes specific statements about who I am, and what I value.

Cigarettes are for the poor.  While advertising men once tried to make cigarette smoking appear to be a luxurious and decadent habit, the truth is cigarettes are vulgar.  Being quick and easily available, they are the tobacco of choice for whores.  And even without the vulgar association cigarettes bring to mind, I have to say that I don’t need to inhale smoke deep into my lungs to appreciate it’s characteristics.  Nor do I need my tobacco laced with a variety of exotic chemicals, as is the common practice by cigarette manufacturers.

Smoking a pipe, on the other hand, is a decidedly middle class hobby.  At least that’s the way it’s associated in my mind.  Solid middle class icons from my childhood, the father’s of 1950’s television families in particular, smoked pipes.  Pipes are also the domain of intellectuals, Albert Einstein smoked a pipe, as did Sherlock Holmes (perhaps the most prominent literary intellectual from my childhood.)

my three sons pipe smokerCigars, however, speak not so much of working or middle class styles and aspirations, but instead signify to me icons of power and fame (not to mention infamy.)  Cigars are an expression of machismo, power, influence, wealth, and sophistication.  Politicians and mobsters (aren’t they really one and the same most of the time?) smoke cigars.  Real adventurers, as well as action/adventure movie heroes smoke cigars, as do several of our former Governor’s and Presidents.

Cigars are celebrated.  Barack Obama’s cigarette habit is a dirty little secret, something that certainly could not be said about Richard Nixon’s enjoyment of a fine cigar.  Bill Clinton’s use of a cigar might have been a dirty little secret had it not turned into national news, but that’s the exception that makes the rule.  I’ve known die hard republican right wing types that asked their submissive lady to give his cigar’s that special sort of wetting, all the while hoping it just kept his fellow libertarians from mooching.  I hope, at least for both his lady and Ms Lewinski’s sake, that the gentlemen in question smoked something a little fatter than a 48 ring gauge.

Even our birth rituals point to the importance of the cigar.  I’m quite sure that nobody anywhere has passed a pinch of pipe tobacco around to celebrate a new baby, nor do they pass around Marlboro’s.  Indeed the cigar is unique in the world of tobacco.

smoke signals – communicating my alpha-maleness w/ cigars

As a alpha type male, when I light a cigar I send a clear message, a “smoke signal” if you will.  I’d like to think that I smoke because I enjoy the ritual, because I find it to be a relaxing and fascinating hobby, rather than because it might make me look powerful, or dominant, or because it’s an expression of my personal sense of masculine pride.

drew-estate-dirt-torpedo-02Yet, my conscious mind knows all of those things.  My head knows the message I communicate to the world when I relax and enjoy a fine cigar.  There’s no telling what my sub-conscious mind has for reasoning, in terms of my motivation to occasionally enjoy a fine cigar, as that part of our brain is protected from our consciousness by a protective fog.  But I am savvy enough to know the motivations are complex, and they probably just aren’t about me.

We, as human beings, are all social creatures.  That’s perhaps the most disturbing part of conditions like autism, they rob us of that basic and essential human trait, the need to communicate and interact with others.

That’s part of what makes our interactions with each other so complex and hard to decipher.  And that’s what makes the simple act of lighting a cigar a form of communication.1

Sending Smoke Signals

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Wicked Wednesday

Review – Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Sampler

Review – Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Sampler

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Cigar Samplers Reviewed

Reviewing Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Perfecto Sampler

While I’ve had a long and checkered relationship with tobacco throughout my life (so far), I’ve only been a cigar smoker since 2013.  So, I’ve not yet found my personal “holy grail” of cigars, if such a thing actually exists.

With that said, I’ve tried my share of different cigar varieties over 2013 and 2014.  I’ve sampled some classic brands like Padron, Ashton, and H Upmann, as well as some of the newer sensations like Diesel, Man of War, and Gurkha.  I’ve even had the “guilty pleasure” of enjoying more than a few tastes of CAO Flavors and Drew Estate Acid infused cigars.

Victor Sinclair Serie '55' Perfecto Sampler FAN - CARTOONIn my search for special cigars that fit my personal taste, I’ve found that samplers are a cost effective way to survey the variety I’m craving as a newer cigar enthusiast.  While samplers can come with their own hazards (often times sample packs are composed of the varieties most needed to be moved by the cigar distributor/retailer rather than what a smoker most wants to experience,) I’ve found many to be excellent purchases.

With that in mind, I’ve started a new series of posts, not featuring individual cigar reviews, (I’m already doing that,) but instead to offer an objective appraisal of the quality to be found in cigar samplers offered for sale on the Internet.  For my initial offering, I’m reviewing a sampler I purchased back in July, the Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Perfecto Sampler from CigarsInternational.com.

Official Product Description – Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Perfecto Sampler

Quoting from the sampler’s product page at Cigars International:

Victor-Sinclair-Serie-'55'-Perfecto-Sampler_cigars-international

Product Picture from Cigars International, my source for this sampler.

Fit for a king.

Series ‘55’ is the crowning achievement of Dominican cigarman Jose Dominguez (of Victor Sinclair). The Series ‘55’ is an impressive super-premium featuring 5-year-old tobaccos from 5 different countries. Available in four varieties, Series ‘55’ is normally accompanied by the super-premium price tag. But to entice you into sampling this beauty, Senor Dominguez has crafted a special sampler for his friends at CI. This impressive collection combines four cigars from each of the flavorful ’55’ blends. But wait, it gets better, each cigar is crafted into an intriguing perfecto shape, releasing concentrated layers of intoxicating flavors.

The Serie ’55’ Perfecto Sampler includes 16 cigars:
4 – Serie ’55’ Blue Maduro Perfecto (5″ x 54)
4 – Serie ’55’ Green Sun Grown Perfecto (5″ x 54)
4 – Serie ’55’ Red Corojo Perfecto (5″ x 54)
4 – Serie ’55’ Yellow Cameroon Perfecto (5″ x 54)

MSRP: $144.00
Current retail price @ Cigars International: $34.95

That all sounds really good, doesn’t it?  Or perhaps the opposite . . . Maybe it just makes you want to laugh?

Cigar ad copy can be very much over the top in some many cases, and seriously folks, nobody says their cigars taste like dog turds.  That’s why websites and blogs reviewing cigars are an integral part of the hobby.  The only way to know if the cigar closely resembles it’s description is to light up!

So, let’s sample the sampler!

Sampling the Cigars

Victor-Sinclair-Serie-'55'-Perfecto-Sampler-posterize

Do they look like bundled dog droppings to you too?

While I’ll leave descriptions of the individual cigars to their own separate reviews, I would like to give some general overall impressions from the sampler.   In addition to how they burn and taste, cigars are rated on a variety of aesthetics.  Unfortunately, that’s where we find the most obvious issues with this sampler.

The first thing that’s obvious upon inspection of the Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Perfecto Sampler is the uneven surface texture of the individual cigars, they don’t look as nice as many other premium cigars I’ve sampled.  In terms of texture they are also a little soft and spongy, as compared to my experience.  That itself isn’t a huge problem, but it does contribute to the biggest issue I find with the appearance of these cigars.  It’s said that shapes like the Perfecto, which tapers at both the head and foot of the cigar, are more difficult to roll than a standard shape.  That’s all fine and good, but it assumes that cigar rolling is an art form, and these don’t strike me as being a particularly artistic example of a torcedor’s art.

Small bumps and ridges are obvious, not just to the eye, but also to the touch.  While this seems to primarily be an aesthetic problem that doesn’t effect the cigar as it’s smoked, the rough finish might be off-putting to people who demand that their cigars look as refined as they actually taste.  Unfortunately, the double perfecto shape combined with the rough exterior, work together to make these cigars resemble a bundled pack of dog turds.

Another issue I found is the overuse of glue to secure the label.  This has turned into a pet peeve of mine.  At it’s best it’s just sloppy, and at it’s worst it has the potential to ruin a cigar.  If the label sticks to the cigar wrapper instead of itself, even the most careful efforts can result in a torn wrapper and a cigar that simply won’t smoke properly.  Not good . . .

Once cut and lit, the cigars I’ve smoked from this sampler have burned relatively well.  The draw was perhaps a tad bit light, but always at least acceptable.  Each of the four varieties are different blends, so the flavors to be found among the varieties in this sampler are relatively diverse.  My favorites were the Maduro and Corojo, with the Cameroon in third place,  but all were at least acceptable to my personal smoking palate.

While tasty enough, none of the individual cigars were especially complex in terms of flavor, none of these is going to get a 90+ rating from Cigar Aficionado.  That’s OK. Victor Sinclair cigars, while certainly qualifying as premium handrolled cigars, are more affordable than a lot of other alternatives.  As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.  And, while some of the more affordable cigars on the market today are quite good, these are not going to be comparable to Padron 1926 Series retailing at $20 a stick.  Sorry, but that’s just life.

Conclusions – Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Perfecto Sampler

The MSRP for this sampler bundle of sixteen cigars is $144, so at least in theory these are supposed to be $9 a stick.  At that price, I’d not ever consider purchasing any of the individual cigars in this sampler, nor would I recommend the sampler to anyone.  The current cost at Cigars International is $34.95, or about $2.18 each.  At that price point they are certainly an acceptable value, but perhaps not the greatest to be found on the market today, not so much because of the quality of the tobacco as it’s smoked, but instead because of the aesthetic issues I’ve already detailed.

My actual cost of the sampler was $24.93, picked up back in July at a sale price.  I’m well satisfied with that value.  Heck, at a $1.55 each, I can’t complain at all, it worked out to be a great deal.  Yes, I thought a blend of tobacco’s from five different countries would offer a more complex flavor, no doubt about that.  And, they are far from the most physically attractive cigar I’ve had the pleasure to appreciate.  Still, they are tasty enough little tobacco turds, just not the kind of rich complex flavor I’d sit and appreciate for it’s own experience.

I smoked one of each variety (Cameroon, Corojo, Maduro, and Sun Grown) for this review.  After setting aside a single “best looking” example of the four different blends for individual cigar reviews, I found a good use for the eight that remained – I like to smoke one while I mow my lawn!  Being a five inch perfecto, with a tapered head and foot, the Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’  cigars in this sampler last perhaps a half hour.  Not long enough for a deep conversation with my friend Alpha on the deck of the “Kinky Kabin”, but just about the right timing for a bit of yard work.

Perhaps that’s not the greatest praise I’d ever give to a cigar, but these are not the greatest cigars I’ve managed to enjoy.  For nothing more than six bits per stick, I can afford to burn one while I mow.  In the grand scheme of things that’s not the highest purpose I’ve found for smoking, but it certainly has it’s place.

Victor-Sinclair-Serie-'55'-Perfecto-Sample-single

A perfect illustration of the issues with the cigar’s obviously uneven construction – A Victor Sinclair Serie ’55’ Perfecto Corojo. (photo by Sinnjara Samadhi)

Another Reward for Serafina

Another Reward for Serafina

It’s been a long tough summer for everyone in my leather family.  As I talked about previously in a post called #$@&%*! Sciatica!?!, pain from a vertebrae literally sitting on a nerve has left me in agony since spring.  When Master suffers it wears on everyone.  No matter how hard I try, there’s just no way around the fact that when I’m in severe pain it’s going to have an effect on my girls.

At the same time I was suffering, Sinnjara spent the better part of two months moving to a new place.  All the while she was spending between three and five nights a week here with Serafina and I.  The stress of the move got to be so much that I sent Serafina to help for a couple of weeks back in July.  I hope it helped, but know it was still a stressful time for all involved.  Serafina’s had her own issues with back pain too, and I’m sure all the extra work didn’t help her chronic problems.

So, for being such a diligent slave, and for helping me through the summer (her service really has been taken up to a new level) I felt Serafina needed a reward.  When a corset sale showed up in my “in-box”, it proved to be an opportune time to act.  Not only did I find a corset in my price range (under $60) – I found one that is easily the equal of most any others in her collection in terms of it’s beauty.

The current thinking is that we’ll be adding some new protocols to give her more excuses to dress up for me.  For instance, she’ll be dressing in one of her corsets every time I have a cigar.

Michael's Musings, Reviews