Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

BDSM is an acronym for a connected set of consensual erotic activities: Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism. This term is used instead of the better-known term S&M, for two reasons: firstly, because BDSM covers the whole spectrum of kinky activities; and secondly, because the term S&M has negative connotations. Read about BDSM on Wikipedia >> 

A lot of BDSM is ecstatic – in fact, it’s one of the main reasons we do it! Many people practice ecstatic BDSM without naming it as such. However Capital-E Ecstatic BDSM is a specific approach developed by London Faerie and Claire Black: a unique infusion of BDSM, shamanism, Tantra and personal development.

In Ecstatic BDSM our focus is on bliss: not just experiencing it in the session, but also helping you to experience more of it in your life. This often involves removing anything that is stopping you from being joyful in all areas of your life. Often these barriers are caused by childhood trauma, sexual assault and self-limiting beliefs. In this way Ecstatic BDSM is both an advanced form of sexuality and a route to healing and personal transformation.

Ecstatic BDSM is similar to, and in line with, other forms of conscious kink emerging around the world: Shamanic BDSM practiced by Seani Love; Conscious Kink taught and practised by Ruby May, Artemisia de Vine and others; Sacred Kink practiced and written about by Lee Harrington; Radical Ecstasy / Tantric BDSM developed by Dossie Easton, Janet Hardy and Barbara Carrellas; and Pagan BDSM pioneered by Raven Kaldera.

Claire and Newman are currently the only practitioners using the term Ecstatic BDSM to describe their work. However we recognise that others may be practicing very similar things, and do not feel that the term ‘belongs’ to us. We just like it, and think it describes what we do very well.

The answer is ‘It depends’. Sessions are tailored to your needs and desires, and there are many aspects of Ecstatic BDSM that don’t involve any pain at all – for example, dominance & submission, bondage, sexual surrender.

For those who want to explore more intense sensations, it is often not ‘pain’ we are looking for. Rather, we are seeking that “exquisite edge” between pleasure and pain, the place where it feels like ‘ahhhhhhh’, not like ‘ouch ouch ouch’. (This is a lot easier to imagine when you hear the noises, but hopefully you get the idea!) This exquisite edge is a quick way to go into an ecstatic trance and experience blissful altered states of consciousness.

Some people simply love pain: it gives them a buzz and the more they receive, the higher they get. If this is you, then the answer is a resounding “yes”. Newman loves to dish out pain and can give it as hard as you can receive it.

And if you’re not one of those people, don’t worry – the point of a session with Faerie is to experience bliss, not misery. Ecstatic BDSM is not an endurance test.

A safeword is a code word used to pause or stop a scene when things aren’t feeling good for either party. It’s usually a word that wouldn’t be used in another context, such as “red” or “bananas”. (By contrast, “stop” is not a good safe word.)

The reason for having a safeword is so that the submissive/bottom can express things that might otherwise make the Dominant/top stop the scene. For example, the submissive might say “no, please don’t do that, I’m afraid, I’m afraid”, because they enjoy going into this feeling of fear and saying those things. In fact what they are saying is “carry on, take me further, scare me more!” With a safeword in place the Dominant knows that (s)he can carry on safely, because if the submissive genuinely wants things to stop they’ll say the safeword.

Often when the safeword is said the scene is paused, things are discussed and then we resume. It doesn’t mean the scene is over and there’s no ‘failure’ in saying the safeword. It just means things need recalibrating and adjusting for them to feel good.

Safewords are particularly important in certain types of session: non-consent play (eg acting out a rape fantasy), resistance play (fighting and struggling) and Shadow Healing sessions. In other types of session it isn’t always necessary to use a safeword – sometimes the submissive can simply say “that doesn’t feel too good” and the Dominant can adjust ‘in scene’. This is particularly true for sessions where the focus is on sensation and pleasure, and communication is straightforward rather than coded.

Newman will never do anything to you in a session that you haven’t given your explicit consent to beforehand. Faerie is a firm believer in the importance of Informed Consent and this is a guiding principle in his practice.

The purpose of an Ecstatic BDSM session is to experience pleasure, and hopefully to taste bliss. So if there’s something you don’t like and you don’t want to do it, you don’t have to! To really have an ecstatic experience you have to be able to let go, and to let go you have to know your boundaries will be respected. This is a paradox and it seems confusing, but it’s at the heart of all consensual BDSM practice and is a key element in Faerie’s work.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t try things that are a bit scary in your session with Newman – in fact, this is the best place to experience those things! Because Newman is skilled at negotiation and respects your boundaries, he’s a great person to take you into darker, scarier territory.

In BDSM, Informed Consent means consent given when you are in your right mind – ie not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and not turned-on or high from playing. This is why Newman always negotiates everything beforehand and not ‘in scene’. In the middle of a scene you might feel like genital contact is just what you want, but if you said ‘no’ during the initial conversation, it’s not a decision made in Informed Consent. As a guide, a ‘yes’ can become a ‘no’ in scene, but a ‘no’ can’t become a ‘yes’.

If you say ‘no’ to something in one session and then decide you want to try it, you can always give your consent to do so in the next session. This is way in which Faerie respects your boundaries and keeps you safe.

One of the biggest myths about sex is that it should all be spontaneous and happen in a flow, without any prior discussion about our needs and wants. This is often a mask for the embarrassment or shame we feel when forced to speak about it in the cold light of day.

Negotiation is particularly important in BDSM, because BDSM is an invitation to let go of control and enter a space of surrender. Paradoxically, almost no-one feels safe enough to let go if their boundaries haven’t been heard or if they feel they won’t be respected. The process of negotiation is a way to establish the ‘outer limits’ – what is OK, what is edgy and scary and what is simply off-limits. It enables the Dominant/top to move freely within the agreed limits, and allows the submissive/bottom to surrender.

There are many styles of BDSM, and often what one person has in their head is not at all what the other person has in theirs. So as well as negotiating boundaries, Faerie often talks about styles of play, so that he can create a scene that really feels good for you.

If you recently realised that you have an interest in BDSM, we are delighted to welcome you into a brave new world inhabited by fabulously sexy, interesting, kinky people. You’ll discover that there are millions of people around the world who share your passion and interests – try a few Google searches on BDSM scenes in different cities if you’re not sure.

It’s very common for people to worry, when they first discover an interest in BDSM, that this means there’s something ‘wrong’ with them. In general, this is untrue – most people’s interest in kinky pleasure is perfectly healthy and is simply how you’re wired. It is also common to feel some discomfort, even shame, around this. The good news is, you’re not the only one – we’ve all been through this process of opening up to kink and discovering what we like and what we don’t. It’s an exciting voyage of discovery and the fact that you’re reading this means you’re brave enough to take the first step. Welcome!

In some cases, people crave BDSM from a place of low self-esteem or self-loathing: for example, women who find it difficult to embrace their desire and crave a Dom who’ll ‘force’ them to enjoy themselves. In these cases it doesn’t mean that you should avoid BDSM, but it does mean that you’d benefit from some Personal Transformation work around your shame. Often healthy desire and unhealthy need are tangled up together, and Shadow Healing is a great way to untangle them so you can enjoy BDSM in a healthy, conscious way.

Newman is happy to respond to questions, particularly if it helps you decide whether you’d like to explore BDSM with him or someone else. Please email him (hello @ newmanalexander . com) to begin the conversation.

If you have more complex questions and would like to talk in depth about BDSM, you can explore this interesting theme in a coaching session (in person or over Skype).

On 1st July 2017 I changed my name to Newman Alexander. Here’s a blog post explaining why.

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