Hello darklings. Mistress Empusa here, back with part two of this black hole of sexual cerebrality and the first ever published interview from the series. In order to challenge the perception of alternative vs. normalcy where sexual psychology is concerned, I needed to interview someone who could speak openly and confidently on all manner of these things. I sat down recently with trans liaison officer for @supportulgbt, LGBT officer for Reading Labour Party, and highly valued community kinkster: Alyssa Black. In this interview we cover her journey of self discovery and all things from kink inspirations, experiences good and bad, and what it truly means to be a switch in today’s BDSM community.
Mistress Empusa: As I live and breathe! Thank you so much for taking time out of your ever active social life to meet me, Alyssa. Let’s jump in with what first interested you about the fetish or BDSM scene.
Alyssa: Absolutely! This traces way back into the 80s when I was first online. I always had an interest in kink in some way as a teenager and finding my dads dodgy porno was definitely a catalyst.
Mistress Empusa: What kind of porn?
Alyssa: Very bizarre Swedish porn which had a BDSM and watersports scene in it. The porn itself was awful but it was definitely to my taste. I then started trawling the internet to find similar genres of porn and the source of it and stumbled across the InSex website.
Mistress Empusa: In what part of the world were you when you discovered this community online, and was there anywhere for you to go to meet like minded people or experience the lifestyle?
Alyssa: Berkshire, and I was looking into what was available in London but just didn’t have the confidence to go anywhere near it. It was tied in with gender identity as well, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be someone that cross dressed for fun, or if it was weaved into my identity at that time. It took me such a long time to unpick because the two things have always been interrelated, so I really just tried ignoring the urges and living a heterosexual vanilla lifestyle. Fast forward to about 5 years ago, I realised that this wasn’t coming from a perspective or desire to assume an alter ego, it was coming from an identity perspective, I was a perv, but that wasn't where my femininity was coming from. I tried talking to my partner at the time about it- she obviously lost it and so we broke up... That’s when I was able to truly go out and explore and discover who ‘me’ was.
Mistress Empusa: Do you think it was the environment that the scene cultivated that introduced you to the explorative nature of sexuality?
Alyssa: I think it was a combination of erotic literature (using my imagination was a huge factor), confidently open individuals I met and the clubs I went to . Some clubs were great but dependant on the people I was with and how prepared I was mentally. My first TG was horrible. I was hungover and sober, I didn’t know anyone and I was driving. Imagine your first ever kink night like that. WORST COMBINATION EVER. Then I went to a kink event in Cambridge which was much smaller, where everything went downhill from there. I met an amazing couple there who made me feel at ease, and we’ve been friends ever since, I still maintain contact with them now.
Mistress Empusa: Other than being hungover and not engaged - were there any parts of you that were perhaps not participating due to fear of not being accepted?
Alyssa: I was still nervous about my gender identity as I hadn’t been going out as my true self for very long. I think being in a kink environment is less scary because I knew I wanted to be there. It did feel like I was at home in some ways. I just wasn’t confident in the procedure and communication.
Mistress Empusa: Navigating that environment and first realising that you want to explore pain boundaries whether they be your own or someone else's, talk to me about what naiveties you may have had around that, and what responsibilities you were aware of around your own safety.
Alyssa: I had no idea what my pain thresholds were. Things around endorphin and adrenaline levels in the body and how you can wrap them up in impact play. I did a lot of education online but also talking to people after a scene. I understood safewords. I always try and educate myself before going out rather than finding out the hard way.
I didn't play the first few times I frequented a club. My first experience was with a violet wand.
Mistress Empusa: I LOVE THEM! Talk to me about your use of your safeword.
Alyssa: I’ve only had to use it once and it was respected. In hindsight I didn’t need it but it’s better to be safe.
Mistress Empusa: What would your advice be to someone new on the scene who wants to explore their submissive side but perhaps hasn’t done the self education you had previously done before coming to an event. Let’s say they watched ‘Fifty Shades Of Fuck All’ and then came to a night expecting play.
Alyssa: Best advice I can give is to not take one persons opinion because everyone has an opinion on how things should be done. Look for a broad consensus, so DO your research. Speak to the staff at an event almost always. Take it easy. You don’t have to experience anything on your first night out, you can build up trust with someone after a conversation rather than trying to live out every single fantasy all in one night.
Mistress Empusa: : It sounds like you've been on a real journey of self discovery regardless of the BDSM scene, but tell me how BDSM now affects your everyday life.
Alyssa: Massive interlink with my gender identity. BDSM scene was the first place that accepted Alyssa as me, and the acceptance has been such a huge confidence boost in being able to go out in public. I wouldn’t have that self confidence without the scene. That’s because I’ve grown into myself and my values and my confidence in challenging things in the public domain that actually aren't right. I can now express myself particularly as me in business meetings with my head held high. Even making eye contact with people on the street that may give me grief. This is also where my submissive side comes in. Not because I feel worthless and in need of humiliating, but because I am this strong force to be reckoned with and I want to meet an individual who I am able to submit to, who is worthy of my submission. As opposed to a lot of ‘ I’m worthless please beat me mistress’
Mistress Empusa: Oh that old chestnut. Have you ever had any bad experiences in a scene with someone playing a dominant role whereby they haven’t respected your boundaries and how have you dealt with it?
Alyssa: I have been misgendered. Someone using the wrong pronoun mid-scene which just ripped me out of my headspace completely- END SCENE. Also a personal journey with humiliation play has been if someone's phrasing has triggered a bad experience from a previous time, which has removed me from subspace and put me in a place of anxiety. That has been a learning curve on my responsibility in what I need to communicate to ensure someone else doesn’t jeopardize my headspace in our scene. Also when someone just hasn’t got a clue how to use a cane and they're hitting you in the wrong place. Then I just wave my arms and say STOP and hit me properly! Or if someone doesn’t know what they're doing with a flogger and you just have stand up and glower over your shoulder at them or turn and tell them ‘ Look, darling, let me show you how it’s done.’
Mistress Empusa: Ha! I would love to watch you say that to someone Alyssa... Let's talk about the multifaceted and fluid nature of the Sub/Dom. When did you realise that you were capable and interested in both sides of the coin?
Alyssa: I’ve always identified as switch but wanted to explore being a submissive first so as to understand experience as a sub. You need to learn how to tie a knot before you can untie it. In my opinion it makes you a better dominant, being able to fully understand the submissive perspective; sensations, subspace all those empathetic things. When I’m playing a dominant role now with someone, I get to this meditative state where I am watching their body language, breathing, which muscles are tensing and I can relate that back to my own experiences.
Mistress Empusa: Reverse engineering for doms, I like it. Is it important for you when entering into a long term Sub/Dom relationship or contract to hash out all of the do’s don’t and hard limits at the very earliest possible time?
Alyssa: I’ve thought long and hard about that and actually it’s all on my Fetlife profile now. The BDSM checklist is clinical and too rigid, Things change and evolve. Something I enjoy with someone now in 6 months time may be very different. It’s always good to have continuous feedback. Once you have a good trust relationship with someone you can delve deeper into your pain thresholds, It can get really primal, to the point where I’m growling. THe pain becomes a challenge. I mean mine have gone through the roof. I’m sure you have found out yourself
Mistress Empusa: I have indeed found that out about you Alyssa. That’s something we spoke about earlier: The difference between pain thresholds dependant on environment. So being able to reach and push further boundaries in different places. Do you think it becomes easier to let go in a club environment where you don’t know anyone or a safe private space or a regular play relationship?
Alyssa: Club play environment you would assume that the energy and hysteria of the place would allow you to go off the deep end with your limits and really push it, but personally when in a regular play relationship or with someone you trust in a private place, they know your body language more, they know how to work you more, the ecstasy can be reached to further levels.
Mistress Empusa: What's your opinion of the stereotype of sexuality being cerebral for women and physical for men?
Alyssa: Yeah, a generalisation. I’ve met so many women who are highly attracted to physicality and aren’t interested in using imagination or roleplay even to get turned on. Equally in men that can only feel aroused when given something to visualise or run away with in their mind. I’m bi so I’ve slept with men and women and although stereotypes exist for a reason, it’s definitely an ill placed and old fashioned one. It’s all dependant on the who and the where.
So there you have it. Interviewing Alyssa highlighted what’s exciting for me in the future of the community. It’s 2021 and there's more prevalent awareness on gender fluidity not being married with sexuality. Hopefully we’re moving into a stage where also the sub/Dom pigeonholing can be moved away from. Everyone's sexuality can be fluid, anyone can be anything depending on circumstance and individual chemistry and relationships. Who you meet and the energy you have with them can illicit or motivate any kind of power play desire. I’d love to see a world where everyone isn’t immediately asked to identify as Sub, Dom or Switch. Much like the LGBTQ+ community; let the individual tell you if they wish. Don’t demand classification. Don’t make assumptions. Right?
Someone Else’s Blood, Sweat and Tears,