The 101: Tough Love

The 101: Tough Love

Bill Thomas, A&E Editor

Every issue, the weirdos behind The Beacon’s Arts & Entertainment section indulge their vanity and give a thoroughly biased crash-course in whatever madness happens to be dwelling in their warped minds. Their views do not reflect those of The Beacon, its staff or Wilkes University.

Blah blah blah. This week, Bill Thomas is breaking out the chips, dips, chains and whips for some…

Tough Love

Call her Daphne. Just Daphne.

She knows better than to let her last name wind up splashed across the printed page. She knows that not everyone is comfortable, or accepting, of what she does.

Daphne, y’see, is into BDSM. That’s “Bondage, Discipline, Sadism and Masochism,” for all you squares. Think handcuffs, ball gags and lots of leather. You know the kind of thing, don’t you?

Maybe. Or maybe you just think you know.

“You’d be surprised. There are a lot of people in this valley that are into it,” Daphne says.

Unlike you, she actually does know. More than just an 11-year veteran of BDSM herself, Daphne is the founder and organizer of the NEPA Kinksters Munch, a group of like-minded fetishists that, up until a recent hiatus, got together on a more or less monthly basis to share drinks, conversation and fantasies.

The group’s membership is far from the raincoat brigade of libertines and deviants some of you may be picturing in your heads, though.

“It’s usually the most unsuspecting people,” Daphne remarks. “There a lot of respectable people who are into it but who are afraid, even to this day, that if they’re quote-unquote ‘discovered’ they’ll suffer repercussions at their job or something like that.

The reason for many of the misconceptions the mainstream has about the kink scene? Daphne points to the media, especially lurid pieces of mass-market entertainment more interested in ruffling feathers and titillating housewives than accurately portraying their own subject matter. All eyes on you, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

“A lot of what’s in that book misrepresents what we do,” she says. “Everything we do is based on the saying ‘safe, sane, consensual.’  Everything’s safe, everything’s sane and most importantly everything’s consensual. A lot of people think it’s all just whips and chains and hurting, but it’s really not. It can be such a deep connection between two people that when they get into this lifestyle together, it’s an even deeper connection than marriage.”

Revealing that the bondage which the B in BDSM stands for is more than just a matter of ropes ‘round wrists, Daphne explains how the very nature of this kind of kinky sex contributes to stronger, more fulfilling romances.

“In BDSM relationships, you really have to keep a lot of open communication between each other, whereas I think in a lot of – I hate to use this word – ‘normal’ relationships, communication is lacking. There’s so much trust involved with what we do. It can be dangerous but it can also be wonderful. I know people who have done some really crazy things. I could tell you stories that would make your eyes bulge out of your head, but their relationship and the trust they have for each other is so awesome and they’re closer than any other couple I’ve ever met.”

For those who may be intriguged by BDSM but are unsure how to go about satisfying their curiosity, Daphne recommends research and experimentation, but also caution.

“Get your feelers out there, but always be careful. If you’re going to meet someone, do it in a group setting, meet in a public place, bring someone with you,” she says. “That’s how I started. I started looking up stuff online, finding information about what I liked or what I thought I liked. Then I started the group, instead of looking for one, because there wasn’t really anything in this area back then. That was six or seven years ago.”

So what did Daphne find out about herself in her research? What kink is it that lights her fire?

“I consider myself a submissive. I like making people happy. Even in my normal everyday life, I work with the public and I’m a people-pleaser. It’s not always about getting tied up and getting spanked. While that is a lot of fun, it’s about just giving that other person what they want. That in turn makes me happy, so it all comes full circle.”


Think bondage is kinky? That’s nothing compared to the wide array of sexual fetishes in the world. They may seem bizarre or even sick to you boring, vanilla, missionary sex-havin’ suburbanites out there, but, remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and even Haddaway had to ask “What is love?” As long as it’s “sane, safe and consensual,” who cares?


A sexual attraction to amputees.


A sexual attraction to statues, mannequins and immobility.


A sexual attraction to dressing like and/or being treated like a baby or infant.


A sexual attraction to feces.


A sexual attraction to trees.


A sexual attraction to vomit.


A sexual attraction to human flatulence.


A sexual attraction to the idea of being covered in insects.


A sexual attraction to the idea of turning a human being into a piece of living furniture.


A sexual attraction to elderly people.


A sexual attraction to holy or sacred religious objects.


A sexual attraction to machines.


A sexual attraction to mucus.


A sexual attraction to dirt, filth and decay.


A sexual attraction to stuffed toy animals.


A sexual attraction cold temperatures and objects, or watching others freeze.


A sexual attraction to sleeping or unconscious people.


A sexual attraction to witnessing disasters, such as house fires or traffic accidents.


A sexual attraction to physical deformities.


A sexual attraction to the idea of eating or being eaten by others, sometimes swallowed whole.