Of human bondage - Page 4

THE SEX ISSUE: The Bay's wonderful women of BDSM aren't bound by convention
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And their title is not in name only: these ladies (or "sissy boys") actually do wait on Natasha.

For instance, Sissie Sandra's responsibilities include walking Strange's dog and running errands, duties that Sandra faithfully blogs about on a site called "Sandra in Waiting." Who knew moving someone's car to avoid a street- cleaning ticket could be so erotic?

To her ladies-in-waiting, Strange is "the Princessa": a draconian ruler (they wouldn't have it any other way) whose Marie Antoinette-esque whims become the word of law. With her wide blue eyes and long wavy hair, she resembles a cupcake Glinda the Good Witch, and it's not hard to see why her pink-clad sissies have grown attached over the years.

Strange lives a charmed life. Her career began at Fantasy Makers, a fetish house in Oakland, when she was 25. Through her relationships with dedicated clients, her talents as a mistress, and sheer luck, she has fallen into a life many young dominatrices can only dream of.

She doesn't take that luck for granted. "I have been really, really lucky to establish myself with a clientele that is really devoted to me," she says. "I don't have to go out and hustle nearly as much as I did when I started out, even in this economy."

While she isn't taking new clients, Strange hasn't retired as a dominatrix just yet.

"I don't think good dommes really retire. They sort of fade away. They take their favorite clients and they go. That's probably what I'm starting to do. I haven't advertised anywhere in two years. I've taken 90 percent of my website down. But I still have my tight-knit little group of subbies and sissies."

www.kittenwithawhip.com; sandrainwaiting.blogspot.com

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Val Langmuir, photographed by Constance Smith

VAL LANGMUIR, THE ACTIVIST

If you're not living a BDSM lifestyle, it's unlikely that you've heard of the Exiles and the sizable contribution they have made to the San Francisco BDSM scene.

This group, an educational organization (for women) that teaches safe BDSM (between women), had several lives before becoming the organization it is today. Says Val Langmuir, co-coordinator, "The Outcasts was the name of the former group. It originated in 1984 and ceased to exist in 1997. The Exiles was founded in 1997 by former Outcasts and immediately held its first program: Guns, Knives, and Choking, Oh My."

While it appears as if these women enjoy flirting with death, hardcore BDSM is the reason the Exiles exist in the first place: they want to make sure women know how to engage in it and survive. Their classes have included controversial topics like "Brutal Affection: Punching, Kicking, Slapping, and Sex," "The Art of Hazardous Age Play," and a program educating attendees on breath play, or what Langmuir describes as "how not to kill yourself when engaging in erotic asphyxiation." Langmuir moved to San Francisco 12 years ago from London, where she protested the horrifying Spanner Operation in 1990 that saw 16 Manchester gay men arrested and thrown in jail for participating in BDSM. Since then, Langmuir has been dedicated to advocating the right to participate in BDSM.

She has been involved with the Exiles since its inception. "We have meetings in the Women's Building the third Friday of every month. Usually at each meeting, I'll see at least one new face."

www.theexiles.org

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Selina Raven, photographed by Constance Smith

SELINA RAVEN, THE MRS.

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