Following the largely publicized issue around one of my “Alt Sex” workshop, I did a point by point answer to The Guardian allegations. This kind of misrepresentation and judgemental attitude from the mainstream media toward my work is nothing new. Anyway, I have always been open to debate, stand for my belief and have certainly nothing to hide or be ashamed about my work, as controversial it can be.
The Guardian : This workshop focused on the dynamic between a daddy and his baby girl, a kind of BDSM relationship where two consenting adults eroticise the father figure. This workshop was facilitated by Lukas Zpira, who began the session by selecting perhaps the most conventionally attractive young woman in the room and telling her, with the beckon of his finger, “I will have you.” It didn’t get less creepy from there.
Firstly let’s put things back into context.
The “Daddy/Baby girl” dynamic is not about two people eroticizing the father figure, but one person eroticizing a patriarchal figure and the other the image of the femme infant. The term “Daddy” is a figure of speech and not to be taken at first degree.
People who attend such workshops come with a certain level of expectations, such as being challenged to new dynamics and discover other sexual approaches. An “outsider” simply coming to observe and perhaps judge will of course react differently when their boundaries and open mindness are challenged and that may make them feel uncomfortable and awkward. These workshops are delivered in an intimate setting with mutual respect as the golden rule in order to put the attendees at ease where they will not feel judged or observed and encourage communication.
As an educator it is my role to cover the many aspects and levels of commitments/involvement of a specific topic, from the very basic approach to the very extreme. It does not mean i agree with, encourage, or practice all of what is discussed in the workshops, it simply means that the topic is covered as widely as possible without judgement or imposing one’s set of values.
There are several workshops running simultaneously, should an attendee not feel comfortable, interested, or identify with the theme discussed they are free to leave the room at any given time and the possibility to attend a different workshop is given to them.
I begin the workshop clearly stating there is no handbook or how to manual and that i am simply giving my opinion, sharing my experience and offering a perspective for the adventurous, therefore it cannot be “didactic” like your journalist stated.
In this context I use the power my position of educator gives me to create the D/s dynamic i’m going to develop throughout the talk NOT by beckoning my finger and saying “i will have you” to the most “conventionally attractive young woman in the room” BUT by simply reaching out with my hand to the one who was alone and most isolated from the crowd, i wanted to make her feel safe and integrated with the rest of the class. I asked her “may I have you” just as I would have said “please do you feel comfortable to do this demonstration with me” which she agreed to, she did not feel offended and played the game willingly. All the attendees can attest that her attitude was cheerful and positive, so let’s face it, she had a great time!
May I point out to your readers that your pseudo “reporter” omitted to mention that i did not do the demonstration with one girl only but two, and that the second one, also cute, did not fit the fashion magazine body type definition. How ironic, maybe its because it is not coherent with the image your journalist wants to give of me?
The Guardian : Zpira spent the workshop cradling her in his lap while stroking her. He asserted that it “feels good to be wrong”, suggesting that punishments for a disobedient little girl could include revoking access to her car or her credit cards. He explained that his dynamic as a daddy is 24/7, and that he expects his little girl to give him full access to her phone and emails.
I never asked her to come sit on my lap but asked her to curl into a foetal position on the floor, with one hand on her shoulder and the other on her head, we took a few minutes this way to connect, giving her time to slip into a comfort zone to make her feel safe before starting the regressive state, which is a very common exercise.
Then i proceeded to explain how to play with the power someone gives you, meanwhile keeping her in her comfort zone, using nice and sweet words, and how this power exchange can be beneficial and pleasurable for BOTH parties involved. It never got further than a few strokes of the hair, but i explained that in private one can take this dynamic much further.
This is the basic mechanic of “Daddy/Baby girl” dynamic.
Once the roles are set, the next step is, as I explained amongst many other things and won’t bother to cover here, is the necessity to set expectations and limits or boundaries for both, to also create a set of behaviours (the baby girl often takes on a rebellious and irresponsible teenage character hence the “Daddy” knows best response!) that will become the pretext of “play”, to establish rewards and punishments that can go from the very simple and soft to the more invasive; yes like revoking a credit card, which is ONE example of punishment amongst many, but that can also be something that is given, “here is the credit card, go shopping and buy yourself something nice!” . All of these elements can be included in a sexual way but the bottom line here is no one is forcing anyone, these rules are set by both partners according to how much they can/want to give and how far they want to go.
One can of course imagine that when someone is willing to give you such power, your duty as a “Daddy” to protect, guide, educate and listen or simply be there for your “Baby girl” becomes a 24/7 responsability. Of course it is possible for someone to wish to be in this submissive role 24/7, but that is for both partner to determine.
Through a constant dialogue (that can take shape in the form of a personal diary for “Daddy” to read, or access to email if the “Baby girl” prefers to communicate that way) the dynamic can evolve and enable both partners to explore their fantasies.
The Guardian : Many of the shell-shocked participants were learning about the daddy/baby girl relationship for the first time, and Zpira’s didactic approach felt reckless. While a healthy BDSM relationship explicitly discusses consent, Zpira explained that he doesn’t use safe words because, he said, “Daddy knows best.”
-“I was horrified when I read that article … I was in the same workshop as the journalist and did not find anything to be disconcerting … the concepts were clearly spelt out and you made it clear that this type of relationship is not for everyone”
-“As “conventionally attractive girl” who was blown away by the profound impact this workshop had on me and my experience at the festival, I finally felt safe to express a part of me that I have been culturally and socially shamed for having”
-“It’s very disappointing for those who I know personally, having attended workshops as part of on going personal work to resolve and better understand their own story surrounding sex, intimacy and relationships.”
-“I was in that workshop. It bore no resemblance whatsoever to what the article described.”
-“Likewise I was in that workshop – and the content of that class is in no way reflected in that ridiculous story.”
-“I’ve no doubt it was an amazing class, I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.”
-“Likewise I was in that workshop – and the content of that class is in no way reflected in that ridiculous story. Classic case of someone who doesn’t understand BDSM, DS or power exchange in any form writing a piece with an ignorant and closed minded perspective on the world.”
… and so on … so, I’m not sure where your reporter saw “the shell-shocked participants” and when my approach became “didactic” & “reckless”…
I never ever recommended not to use safe words, that would be just stupid and dangerous, and would discredit my whole work on Alt Sex to anyone that has a bit of knowledge about how a D/s relationship works. Accusing me of such irresponsible behaviour is purely defamatory. What I said, is , in some cases, when you know each other so well that you can pretty much read each other’s minds and body language, when you have no more doubts that whatever happens you are in a safe zone, safe words become irrelevant, as you know that anywhere you partner will take you is a place you want to go. Even if your limits are pushed, you can always sit down, evaluate the boundaries and set new ones should you wish to do so.
I also explained , and that has obviously been misunderstood, that even if the “Daddy” can be wrong, (like a real parent or a husband or wife) this cannot become a pretext for an argument as it would disrupt the dynamic, but perhaps be put in the communication tool (I recommended a diary) in order to be understood and avoid arguments.
The Guardian : It’s a dynamic that might work for some couples – and I can appreciate a well-timed cry of “Daddy” as much as the next girl – but I can’t get off on financial control, or revoking a woman’s power to stop a sexual act. I caught a cab home after this workshop unsure if the queasy feeling in my stomach was an allergic reaction to the quinoa salad I ate at lunchtime or to Zpira’s workshop.
Everyone is free to get off or not on whatever they want. That’s everyone personal choice and everyone is free to choose their own dynamic and set their own limits. Your journalist may not get turned on by this style of play, but she has no right to be judgemental towards those who do.
the bottom line is the control a submissive gives his/her partner is never forced upon her/him, but the representation of a personal choice .
… I often like to say : a submissive never submits but to her own desires.