Charting the Charlotte BDSM Scene, Part One: CAPEX

Preface, or what motivates my interest

This is preface is mainly for my personal use. Feel free to read, but if you'd rather jump to the Charting itself, feel free to click here

I've recently begun scouting out the local BDSM scene here in Charlotte. For a long while I have been interested in exploring the lifestyle, but for the past decade I've been in "serial monogamous relationships", and while I use the term of "serial relationships" I really only mean "two". They both lasted a fair amount of time (the first for 3 years, the second for 8 years) and I found them quite meaningful in their own right, but they were also the only two girls I've ever fucked. I don't have issue with this as I'm the type of person who prefers a deep connection with someone before sex. Don't get me wrong, I love sex, but I am also a pretty private person, do not trust people easily, and like to have a semblance of control of the situations I find myself in. In addition to this, I have observed that I seem to have always had a "lower sex drive" than most of my male peers. Not sure why, but I cannot deny reality. My past girl for a time early in our relationship would complain that I didn't want to sex her up as often as she'd like, but on the converse she also stated that I was the best lover she'd ever had (and she had many sexual partners before I).1 Indeed, I remember us both stating that when the sex wasn't "mind-blowing" it was a rarity. You know when you just don't have to speak and are perfectly "in-sync" with the other person? No thought is necessary; just acting on pure instinct, so-to-speak.

Still, there was always something "off" about both of these relationships. One being that I've come to terms that I cannot be with just one woman. I just can't. No matter how much I like one girl, I still want to fuck another.2 This may sound odd after I've stated I have a "low sex drive", but it ain't about quantity; it is about variety and thus quality. I want to extract as much meaning as I can out of each experience, and just boning the same woman over and over again, well, I'm sorry but it just ain't for me. The older I got, the more the idea of the US "traditional marriage w/ kids" terrified me; it seemed more and more like a death sentence to a life of mediocrity and boredom. Still, I am still that same private person who does not trust easily, and I don't just want casual sex with random bar skanks, for e.g., or even prostitutes for that matter (not that I'm knocking those that do; by all means enjoy). I want meaningful long-lasting relationships with multiple women. I want that mental connection, that ongoing dynamic. Indeed, I want the kind of family where I control the gateway, and that if I'm dying in a ditch one day I can trust that said family will do the right thing and take care of my wishes.

Second thing being that all of my past relationships lacked any kind of defined dynamic at all. There were no defined roles, no defined authority. While I was supposedly the "leader" in my past relationship, in the real sense I was more of a poorly casted "service top" if anything. Even during sex the onus was on me to "perform", you see. I always hated that. If I'm going through all the trouble to create a home, to keep the lights on, to feed you and clothe you, the least you could do is service me, you know? Again, this was my fault ultimately. Sure "if I knew what I know now back then" and all that, but still, ignorance is not nor could ever be an excuse. If you sit in the driver's seat of a car and crash it because you don't know how to drive, you still crashed that car regardless; it wasn't the magical Ignorance Gnomes.

Third thing being that, well, I know for a fact that I am quite a sadistic person deep down. I've known this my whole life. Hell, for those that may remember the show "Lamb Chops" there was this one episode (which I can't even remember the plot of; I was probably 4 years old at the time) where some sort of discipline was being displayed. The damn sock puppet got smacked around for doing something or other, and I remember feeling that "not-quite-arousal-but-kind-of" thing that a prepubescent kid feels. I remember specifically setting out to make my own sock puppet, dolled it all up to make it look all "feminine" with a red colored pencil for blush, and then proceeded to beat the shit out of it. I remember having a grand ol' time but never knew why. The examples go on and on. I recall when I was an early teen, sitting quietly and looking out the bus window daydreaming, I'd sometimes have "flashes" in my head of girls I liked. For some reason, in these flashes they would be crying or in some sort of pain/discomfort, and that would really get my jimmies off. Of course, the Great Inca had long trained me that this was a "bad thought" and so I just said "oh shit, better ignore that" and went on with my life.3

In real life examples, I recall one time in my past relationship that I acted on such thoughts. While not strictly sadism, per se, I remember after one argument my girl was all pissy and in the bathroom. I'm not sure what prompted me to do this, but I removed my belt and had disrobed, but kept the belt in my hands. When she emerged from the room I calmly told her to remove her clothes, get on the bed, present her ass in the air, and that I was going to whip her with said belt. She did exactly as I told her, and I remember turning her ass some lovely shades of red. In retrospect, I think I may have overdone it, but we had great makeup sex afterwards anyways. Problem here was that there was no underlying "structure" anchoring this action. Was it a punishment, or was it foreplay? What was the meaning of the action? It was unknown to all parties, never really communicated nor reflected on, and thus it never happened again.

In order to drive a car, you have to first learn how to drive. Likewise, if I want a structured D/s relationship, I realize I have to learn from people who know. What this means in practical terms is talking to people, meeting people with experience, and living it. Sure, Trilema opened my eyes in ways I never thought possible, and further book readin' on the subject for a while had me believing that I knew what I was talking about. But then I talked to a few subs not so long ago who popped my bubble, sort-to-speak. I'll never forget the advice of one in particular who I thought right to proposition to become my sub, despite me having 0 real-life experience (I told her this up-front, at least):

"You said it yourself, you don't have experience. I don't have any interest in serving someone with no experience. You may think you know what you want, but until you've lived it and experienced it, you don't know."

Simple, succinct, and cutting. It made me butt-hurt at first, but she was correct and quite frankly that was exactly what I needed to hear. I took a step back for awhile, but then re-engaged in a more sane manner. Thus began my charting expedition in real life versus simply in my head.

The Charting, Part One: CAPEX

So, in an attempt to learn from and meet folx who have lived it, I did some initial research and outreach, eventually settling on a group called the Charlotte Area Power Exchange (CAPEX). Now, because these people were kind enough to invite me "into their house" and teach me the ropes, I do not want to disrespect that trust by revealing too much about the said individuals and locations. I'll do my best to recount my experiences for my personal benefit without putting any of them in (what they perceive as) jeopardy. While I personally don't give a shit if someone finds out about my blog or what I do, I don't want to "out" someone else, ya dig?

They have been around for almost 20 years, and state that their main focus is on education. I've found that the majority of "contributors"4 are part of various "leather houses". From what I can gather re: the history of bdsm in teh U.S., the term "leather" used to refer to primarily gay leathermen and their clubs back in the 50's. Apparently today, though, it has a varied amount of definitions depending on the region and specific group. The fuck if I know, but what I do know is that there are clearly groups of folx in CAPEX that have been doing this for sometime, and teaching others as well.

My first stop was to what is called a "Gateway" munch. A "munch" is just the term used for a "vanilla" gathering at a regular public venue such as a bar or restaurant where like-minded people can meet and chat. This particular munch was intended for newbies such as myself to learn about this specific group, and also for the group to vet me before allowing me to attend any of the real events. I consider myself a typical "shy and introverted" person by default around people I don't know, so I made a point to arrive early and sat my ass down right next to the organizer. I picked this tip up on the interwebz, and it proved to be good advice. You see, because as this was a public and vanilla venue the organizer had to talk loudly to be heard, but not TOO loudly so at to be overheard. Looking back, I'm not sure why this was done at a venue like that, as it seemed a poor choice.

In any case, I mostly just listened as others talked, but made sure to make eye contact with everyone that was speaking. I also made sure never to leave my prime real estate of the seat I chose, because I noticed the people near the end of the table were indeed complaining that they could not hear the organizer talk. While others went up to the bar and got food and drinks, I just stayed put. Though, as the hours went on and the initial group dwindled, I actually got to have some nice one-on-one conversations with various people, and I think I made some of them feel at ease. I also made sure I never misrepresented myself; always stating that I knew absolutely nothing and was just there to learn and explore. Honesty is key. Eventually I was given the chance to become a contributor, pay a tiny fee, and signed up. I was then given the location for the "orientation" event that was to be held some days later.

My second stop was much more interesting. This was the orientation event: The business meeting in the early afternoon, followed by a demonstration, a break for dinner, a second demo, and then the play party. I made sure to attend virtually the whole thing, which totaled about 8 hours; I left my apartment a few hours after noon and didn't get home until roughly 1 am.

Now, this event was held at a generic chain hotel. When I arrived I was a few minutes late to the business meeting so I did not really know where to go. I walked into the hotel lobby and wandered around for a while, before spotting a black curtain that divided the rest of the hotel from the 'business meeting rooms'. Not wanting to deal with the person at the hotel desk, I figured that the other side of that curtain was where I was supposed to be and crossed it. Sure enough, I was eventually spotted by a 'vendor'5 and she went and got the organizer to sign me in. I was then led into the business meeting room where I saw a group of varied individuals of all ages, many clad in leather, others wearing just t-shirts and jeans, and some Hawaiian shirts. I was fortunate enough to pick a seat right next to (as I found out) one of the most well known and older Masters in the leather community there. After the meeting both he and I talked for a while and he walked me around and introduced me to people, as well as gave me his card.6 My meeting with him proved to be a great boon, because at various times throughout the event he would see me and introduce me to other people he happened to be talking to. At one point he even taught me the basics on some of his instruments, and let me give them a test drive. Figure-eights I suppose, are the key to some of the smaller whips; all in how you roll your wrist! I was starting to get the feel of it and I must say it felt pretty "right" to have one in my hands.

After some socializing it was time for the demonstration. For this event it happened to be "cigar service" and this cute girly was gathered in a tent in the outside area with the rest of the group. She went through all the steps for a proper cigar service for her Sir, which included presenting the cigar to him, cutting it, the initial lighting of it (which had multiple steps on its own), and also ingesting the ashes throughout as he puffed it down. He'd ash the thing into her hands, and then she'd just lick it up. At the very end she borrowed another letherman's boot (her Sir had not earned his boots yet, see) in order to demonstrate licking ash off of them. Afterwards more socializing happened and I got to meet some more of the "Old Guard" folx and continued introducing myself around. I was surprised by just how welcoming everyone was and how willing they were to explain their experiences and volunteer advice, etc. Everyone was different from the last, too, which made it quite interesting indeed. I also made acquaintances with a few other newbies, too, which always helps. Lots of different perspectives.

The break for dinner was rather uneventful, so I'll just gloss over that. The point being is that I made sure to tag along to dinner with *a* group of people, versus giving into my urges to sit alone in my car for 2 hours. This was very important because even though the dinner itself was pretty boring, and I was a "seventh wheel" in a sense, I ended up making acquaintances with this other girl who was also kinda new, and later on that evening I had yet another person to "fall back on" for conversation when things got awkward. She also ended up showing me and this other newbie d00d7 around during the play party and gave us some good advice. It is important to talk to people.

Finally, after dinner was the play party. Before the festivities started, though, there was a quick "101" on flogging, which I made sure to pay close attention to. Even though my goal was to simply observe for this time around, I still wanted as much info as I could get. There was one Master and his slavegirl for this demonstration, and he put her up on this cross thingy (it is like a giant "X", but with cuffs that allow the hands to be chained to the top-most portions of said "X"). He went through all of the basics of a flail, in general, from the materials they can be made from, to the different grips that can be used, to the different parts of the body to strike, along with which parts are most tender, and how each person takes pain in differently, etc. He then went through the demonstration and flogged this lass, and while I was studying, I also made note of how pleasurable it was to watch her ass twitch and the little squeals she'd emit every so often. Once the quick demo was done, everyone scattered for play.8

This was my first time ever being at one of these things, so I wasn't 100% sure what to expect (though I had a pretty good idea, lol). The girl I mentioned earlier walked me and this one dude into one of the "loud" rooms9 and told us not to say anything while the scenes were in progress (there were always scenes in progress so I just stayed silent). Immediately as I walked in there were four different scenes going on in each of the four corners of this hotel business room: two beatings on crosses, one on this horizontal-laying bench thing, and one on some flat doctor's table thing (I really need to learn the variety speak here). There were two rows of four chairs facing opposite of each other, and one dungeon monitor that was surveying the whole room. Immediately my eyes were drawn to this one scene that was actually happening behind us on that horizontal-laying bench thingy, which required me to crane my head for minutes on end. I didn't care though, because I was mesmerized. It was this one older Domme chick who was beating this younger chick, but oh my god could she use those instruments. There must have been about 20 that she went through during the scene and she was adept at all of them. Not to mention the girly had a very supple ass, was making all kinds of pleasurable noises, and her bare cunt was on perfect display which was just great. I noticed that as the scene went on the two people I came in with had already left, but I was invested in seeing how it was going to end. Afterwards when everyone was outside smoking and at the suggestion of the girl who walked me into the scene, I went and complimented that Domme on said scene. Indeed, she was all smiles when I did and the next time I saw her that evening her face lit up like a christmas tree when she saw me. I guess it takes a lot of work to be able to do something like that; who doesn't like recognition?

After chilling for a bit with people I went back in and watched one more scene, this time my eyes were fixed on this one leatherman and this girl (who, also, had a very supple ass) he had up on the cross. Damn, while he did not use as many instruments, he was quite good at the ones he did use. I cannot begin to describe how pleasing it was to watch this girl's ass slowly turn from white to red with all those subtler deep-purple markings over the course of around 20 minutes. And then afterwards when she was let off the cross and was kneeling with her hair all over the place, and was made to clean all of said instruments. Good times.

All in all I had a great time, and I'm very glad I did not give into my initial urges that day of simply chickening out and not going. I'll definitely be back!

  1. Both girls also said that I had a fairly large penis, but honestly it is just average. Not sure if this was ego-stroking or they had just encountered a series of micro-dicks before me or what. Not that I'm complaining. []
  2. Note, however, that while I've had many an opportunity to 'cheat' on said girls in the past, I never did. This because I value loyalty. Whether or not that loyalty is warranted is another thing, but while an explicit agreement between parties stands, I seek to uphold it. []
  3. This was all before my family had internet, mind, so my research options were limited even if I wanted to explore those thoughts. []
  4. They fear using the term "members", see, because they are located in the reich, and for some reason "contributors" is a legal loophole of sorts? I dun really understand it, but okay. []
  5. She was this lady who had set up her store in one of the meeting rooms that was full of various bdsm instruments: floggers, whips, canning bundles, etc. all for sale []
  6. He also told me about some other events that he organizes, focusing more on the dynamics of such relationships. I told him I was definitely interested and would probably attend []
  7. Who I made a point to befriend at the PREVIOUS event; networking see? []
  8. Amusingly, remember that all of this was still IN THE HOTEL MEETING ROOMS. Not only that, but there was a children's sports event or something going on at the same time, so if you ventured out beyond the designated area you were met with various WASP families and their kids. Top keks. []
  9. "loud" == flogging, impact play, etc. vs "quiet" == bondage I guess? Idk, after seeing the loud room I didn't even have interest in the other lol []

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