Sunday, July 26, 2009

Scenes: Dark & Serious vs. Fun & Frivolous

Last night my wife and I were at our usual play place, Lair de Sade, in Los Angeles. My wife, a devout switch, played with an older gentleman I'd seen play there before. His scene had been joyous, filled with laughs and joking profanity. It had been fun to watch. I'd told my wife about this before she played, letting her know he was a fun player.

Afterward, on our long car ride home in the middle of the night, we talked about her scene. It had been intense, but filled with humor, conversation (albeit of a head-fucky nature), laughter and games. At one point, C (my wife) used a bystander to validate her mind-messing game. The bystander joined in and was enjoying himself and laughing throughout. In fact, this bystander, known more for his intense, dark and deeply serious scenes, was seemingly having the time of his life, chuckling throughout.

This got me musing about BDSM and our collective scenes. Must they always be dark and serious? Do we have to take ourselves so damn seriously in our black leather and our implements of torture? Can't we just have a little fun?

That's not to say fun doesn't happen. There have been more times than I can count that scenes involve smiles, laughter, lightheartedness and fun. But if there was a ratio between fun and serious, fun would certainly be on the losing side.

My inclination, based on my personality, is to go lighter (and I don't mean with regard to the intensity of a scene). It's good for a first-time play date (not as ominous) and makes communication easier. A fun scene is fun for everyone, the players and the audience. Of course, some scenes require a darker, seething intensity.

But I get the sense that "dark and serious" is the default, not necessarily the desire. Dungeons, by their very nature, can be intimidating places. I wonder if people just don't know how to have fun in a dungeon, or if they feel like it's not appropriate based on what they see going on around them. Certainly, I think part of it is out of respect. People don't want (and shouldn't) interfere with other's scenes, either directly or indirectly. Too much laughter and joviality could be frowned upon. Which also might be a problem in and of itself.

I, for one, have had a number of memorable "fun" scenes.

I did a fire and wax scene with my wife in subby mode and a fellow top that was helping me with my first fire scene. That drew quite an audience. Partially the fire & wax, which always a crowd pleaser, but mostly because we were vocal and having so much fun. Plus, C always, always, always has this odd reaction to fire play: she laughs uncontrollably. She doesn't know what it is, but it gets infectous. Everyone had a great time.

Another scene was predominantly a spanking scene. This one was predetermined to be light (attitudinally) and it was fun. This scene wasn't in or directly off the main play space, but in a less-trafficked area. Still, from the screams and the laughs (nearly simultaneously at times) we drew a small audience of happy onlookers, curious as to what silliness was going on at the Lair. The bottom was very bratty and I took the cue and just dished it out heavier, with lots of sarcasm thrown in. It's still one of my favorite scenes because of the joviality of it and the fact so many "serious" onlookers were having such a good time. Plus, being in this room off the kitchen, we could be as boisterous as we wanted.

Which all leads me back to the initial topic: do scenes have to be serious? Is there another "setting" on them besides "Dark & Serious" that you can take them? Is that allowed? Is laughter frowned upon in a dungeon? Can you have serious pain and hilarity in the same scene? Can a bottom reach subspace between guffaws? I think so. I've witnessed it and I've enjoyed and experienced it in my own scenes.

What say you?


  1. I'm one of those people who feel people in the BDSM lifestyle take themselves a bit too seriously at times. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed, and that includes BDSM.

    I prefer humor in scenes were there are a lot of people watching. Serious scenes are easier for me to get into when I'm in a private setting.

  2. Thanks for your feedback. I appreciate the input.


  3. I have found myself laughing sometimes from the pain. I don't get where that comes from. I think it tends to happen more in public scenes where it's all kind of fun and light, then I started being a wiseass just to kick things up a notch (usually with tops I haven't played with before, to let them know they can go harder). Suddenly they DO start going harder and they're giving the verbal wisecracks back to me, too, while they're spanking me, and I can't help laughing.

    My husband and I have probably pissed some people off when we've been at Paddles NYC because we have a habit of doing running dialogue (and cracking each other up, of course) for the videos they have playing on the two TVs up on the wall there. (You can't hear the sound because the club music is playing, although sometimes there are badly translated subtitles if the films are from Russia or from some other non-English speaking locale.)

  4. Ah! Sort of a MYT3K with porn? Cool! Sounds hilarious!

    As for laughing during the scene, like I said, C (my wife) just gets to this weird place during fire scenes in particular where the pain pushes her to laugh. She doesn't get it, I don't get it, but it is certainly fun to watch.

    Thanks for commenting!


  5. Well, you know where I stand on this subject. I do think a great deal of BDSMers take themselves and their scenes way too seriously. However, I can see where people like me can be annoying. My howling laugh and shrieking can be distracting, I guess. But still... it's a public venue. Not a library. It seems to me that if people want absolute quiet for their scene, they should a) stay home and play in private, or b) rent a private space in a dungeon.

    J and I were at a BDSM party years ago, a group that had a very large play space. Several of us were sitting together at one end of a cavernous room, talking and laughing. At the far end of the room, a man was scening with a woman. He actually had the nerve to glare at us from across the room and tell us to hold it down.

    Mind you, one of the people in our little group was the party host! You can imagine his response to being shushed by one of his own guests.

    Ideally, I like my scenes to be both intense and fun. I have to be able to laugh and sass. But I want that darkness too. I like tops who can be tough and no-nonsense. But if they've had a humorectomy, I have no use for them.

    When all is said and done, isn't this stuff sorta supposed to be fun? I fully admit, I rejoice in the boisterous and exuberant atmosphere of a spanking party.

  6. Within the context of a scene I think whatever sound you make is fine. But if you're just socializing, I'm sorry to say, go out to another room. I have to side with the glare-er. There have been a number of times I've been scening in the main room when there have been those who felt it was their time to converse, laugh it up and have fun. It's taken my bottom out of subspace, which is frustrating and annoying. I've walked over, mid-scene, to tell them to hush and I've told the dungeon master to please have them keep it down.

    If you're gonna socialize, do it elsewhere.

  7. A very dear friend pointed out to me that my comment to elsps came off harsh. It was not my intent to be brusque in any way. I am certain, without any doubt, that Erica's experience in her room was as she commented. I am speaking philosophically from my viewpoint and experience at the Lair and didn't mean to shoot down her opinion in any way.


  8. No problem, C. :-) I do understand your point. In this particular case, the room was humongous and the guy was way out of line, trust me. I mean, could you picture someone at the Lair shushing Kane? (wide-eyed gasp)

  9. I don't get bothered so much by side noise in the club, talking and laughing, unless they come right over near where we are and start gabbing and laughing right near our play area. Of course it's annoying -- they shouldn't be talking, they should be paying attention to the hot scene that's going on.

    Oh, but THEN there's the OTHER element -- the kibitzers. Why is it that because I have a reputation as a hard player, I need to overhear some eager beaver offering a toy to my top. "Here, spank her with THIS!"

    In truth, more often I hear comments like, "Oh, that's just Sandy. She can take it..."

  10. LOL. It's sort of bad form where we play to interrupt a scene.

    It's funny: I noticed Saturday night a new sign on the door to the main room where we play that reads: "Please keep all conversation to the patio. Be respectful of others."

    I had forgotten about that sign when I first posted this.