Kiss of Leather, Tongues of Fire, page 3

In “Tie Me Up!” Jack, an experienced Dominant, trusts me to help him stretch his boundaries.  As I write, “Brushing up against a boundary and expanding someone’s limits is often positive… While we play safely, we don’t play it safe.”

AFF: What do you feel are your strongest skills — both psychological and technical — in BDSM play?

DUBOIS: Being really present when I play and my ability to ground and flow with the scene. It’s being able to see the forest AND the trees, if you get my meaning. Paying attention to every detail, how my partner is breathing, their body language, my turn on, their turn on, my emotion, their emotions, subtle shifts of energy in the room, knowing when to push a boundary or not, knowing my own boundaries, those are my strongest skills. As for play techniques, I’ve hadmany years to refine them! And I am still learning.

AFF: Aesthetics aside, what are some of the practical things to shoot for in order to have good bondage play?

DUBOIS: Know what the bondage is for: symbolic, sensual, inescapable, predicaments? Rope is a very variable toy: it can be sexy and it can be dangerous. Some excellent resources are books by Jay Wiseman and the Two Knotty Boys detailing the various knots and safety considerations. Of course, check out my bondage video, “Tie Me Up!” too.

I tend to use short ropes and very simple quick release knots and cinches. For many who love to be tied up, bondage is liberating. It’s all about letting go. “When the ropes on my body tighten, the bonds inside loosen,” as my friend Kaye Buckley said. Knowing that you are taken care of, and the illusion

The beauty of SM is embodies in this example of play piercing artistry by Cleo Dubois

of having NO CHOICE is a big turn on for a lot of people and allow them to accept more pleasure or pain.

“I want to be spread eagle and used for your pleasure” (whose pleasure really?) is in the top 5 of the all time fantasy list of men and women. So you want to provide bondage that is comfortable enough for the body, yet tight enough to be an enclosure. Do not leave your tied up partner alone, especially if s/he is gagged.

AFF: In “Tie Me Up!” you dominate a Dominant guy who didn’t feel completely at ease, but he had volunteer for the experience to sort of stretch himself or his limits. What are the benefits and challenges of stretching boundaries in this way?

DUBOIS: The heat of the scenes is also very palpable in the video. I am also proud of the message it contains, because a man who identifies as a Master does bottom to me. He states that he, too, needs to be taken down sometimes. I could not agree more. Brushing up against a boundary and expanding someone’s limits is often positive. It can make you a better Top.

While we play safely, we don’t play it safe. There’s a big difference here. We’re trying to raise that awesome erotic energy and to do that you have to stretch and be willing to go further. Make sure you connect with your partner as you are expanding their limits a little; look in their eyes and encourage them to let go and surrender for you. Of course trust is a big part of it!

AFF: What issues are you personally exploring these days in your BDSM work?

DUBOIS: My main focus these days is learning more about how we can use our erotic energies to connect with the big love we all seek from the universe. It’s opened my heart to see the spirits of so many people all over the country soar at the Spirit+Flesh Rituals, and the magic of that dynamic among each class of people who attend an Erotic Dominance Intensive. I am also valuing more and more my long term committed relationship and my very close friends with whom I play on both sides of the whip.

Cleo Dubois and her life partner, Fakir, leading hook pull Spirit+Flesh ritual - like the ritual, bdsm can also bring states of ecstasy

AFF: With your twenty-plus years of experience, and your years of instructional work, are there still things that your workshop attendees can surprise you with?

DUBOIS: Each teaching experience is also a learning experience and there are always surprises. Usually they are amusing or exciting.  Personally I am always a little surprised to find that people imagine me to be very serious when, in fact, I love humor and spontaneity.

Sometimes, though, they are not. Although all of the educators giving classes out there say the same thing, sometimes people forget to tell you that they have some kind of medical problem: knees, shoulders, necks. You’d be surprised how not finding those things out beforehand can wreck havoc on a scene.

AFF: You used to be a professional dominatrix and now you are an educator. Could you talk about the two different types of work? How has the career shift enriched (or not) your personal BDSM?

DUBOIS: When I first discovered my sadistic Dominant side, I was very raw. My enthusiasm probably scared a number of male submissives. Many years later, when I got on the Internet, several of these old clients wrote to tell me just that. “You scared me, but now I am ready for your intensity.”

While I am still an intense player, I have also become more nurturing, more intuitive and more understanding of people’s needs. Since I began this journey, I have grown and embraced all of the various facets of who I am. As the Top in Scene, I am the anchor. I keep things from getting out of control and dangerous, physically or psychologically. Of course, I still value my private bottoming experiences, as they allow me to balance my erotic energies and remember how sacred the gift of surrender is.

Perhaps my most important on-going lesson is to come from a place of integrity and compassion, regardless of whether I’m the Domina with a long-term client, a Private Coach with couples or the Kink Educator at a Leather Conference. After all, when the energy flows, it is hot!

Page 1  |  2  |  3


To learn more about my private coaching work with couples, please visit my personal website,


This post was written by
A ritualist, BDSM educator & kinky coach, I founded the Academy of SM Arts in 1995 to share with others what I had learned since beginning my journey into BDSM in the 80's - that negotiated sadomasochism is a valid path to self-discovery, intimacy and healing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.