Students who have ever fantasized about being strapped down, forced into a leather gimp mask and flogged by someone in ass-less chaps will find themselves in leather-bound heaven tonight.
Starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Resource Building, the campus organization Kink University: a Fetish Fellowship will host a free seminar on safe BDSM practices. Free pizza and sex toys will also be on hand at the seminar.
BDSM — short for Bondage, Discipline, Dominance-Submission and Sado-Masochism — is an overarching category that describes a variety of activities, which may or may not be sexual in nature. What these activities do have in common is a universal goal of deriving pleasure from pain and/or the taking or relinquishing of power.
KUFF President Shaun Ballou, a fourth-year chemical engineering major, said the seminar and the group aim to convince students BDSM is a normal leisure pursuit that can be practiced in a healthy manner.
“It’s our goal to teach people that [if they] think getting spanked in the bedroom is fun then that is okay,” Ballou said. “And [we also want to teach] how to go about that in a safe, sane and consensual manner.”
Ballou said he hopes the seminar will clear up myths and misconceptions surrounding BDSM and show the practice is not confined to “freaks.”
Ryan Yoshinaga, a UCSB alumni and vice president of KUFF, said science can be used to explain why BDSM feels good to some people.
“Enduring pain provides endorphins to be released into the body,” Yoshinaga said. “Just like when an athlete has an intense practice session or a body building has a rigorous workout session, they will receive this ‘endorphin rush.'”
Corrine Tritz, a graduate student in the Theater Dept., said KUFF’s programs are beneficial to college students just beginning to explore their sexualities.
“Personally, I find a lot of the stuff that goes on at parties in [Isla Vista] much more dangerous and disturbing than the BDSM activities I practice,” Tritz said.
The seminar will also focus on what is referred to in the BDSM community as “impact play,” an activity that involves various techniques for striking the body.
Rene Rutan, a nonstudent associate of KUFF, said she will demonstrate the usage of floggers — a tool which has multiple leather strips used for whipping.
Tritz said she will also present a portion titled “The Empty Hand,” which will demonstrate techniques for BDSM that do not require the use of any tools.
“I wanted to offset some of the more spectacular-looking segments of the club’s presentation with something low-tech,” Tritz said. “I think my section really highlights the fact that BDSM is, at its core, a way of relating between people and doesn’t necessarily require expensive tools or high theatrics – although those can definitely be fun.”
KUFF holds regular meetings every Wednesday night in the Research Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity at the SRB as part of their program to provide education and promote awareness of fetishism.
“If anything, the lesson that KUFF strives to teach [is] that you can’t assume anything about another person’s sexuality,” Tritz said. “You have to ask, listen and absorb other people’s diverse and messy truths about themselves. Then you can break out the whips and chains.”