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“That” Question

“So, what did you say you do for a living?”

That question, no matter how many times I’ve heard it, always makes my heart skip a beat. It is not a simple question to answer and only opens up a torrent of other questions inside my head, which causes me to pause. And the pause rarely goes unnoticed. Who doesn’t know how to explain what they do for a living?

My answer depends a lot on those other internal questions: How long have I known this person? What is the context in which they know me? Do they appear open minded? Is an honest answer going to change the way they interact with me? Is this going to out-right freak them out?

My experience of sharing honestly has varied considerably. I have certainly had positive experiences, but I have frequently been surprised by those that I thought would take it in stride but instead become offended, even disgusted. All too often I have felt sad at how the declaration of my career choice has derailed a conversation or friendship that otherwise began very well.

My having moved much more into the education realm has admittedly made my response more palatable to others. Hearing “sexuality educator” is very different than “professional dominatrix.” The individual might not really know what I mean by either phrase, but the former is certainly less intimidating than the latter. Regardless, deciding how to respond to this innocuous – but oh so bothersome! – question remains a difficult decision for me every time.

Frankly, either way I answer feels like I’m going to get screwed (and not in the fun way). If I lie, then I’m not being true to myself; I am not presenting the proud professional pervert that I actually am. I am proud of my life, my accomplishments, and the incredibly intimate and amazing experiences I’ve shared with so many in the kink community. But, on the other hand, if I tell the truth, then I have to see that “look.” The same look that everyone gets, whether they accept/approve of what I do or not. The look that says: “What the F*ck?! Really? YOU?!” The look that illustrates the shocking incongruity: this nice “normal” person does, um, illicit things for a living.

I have lied, many times actually. My usual answer is that I do “website and new media development,” which is both sufficiently vague yet accurate. If they probe deeper, then I say that I own my own business; that I have a tech person that handles the actual building of the sites, and I serve as the PR person and general manager of the business. Um, yeah.

Every time I say that half-truth, my heart hurts for a moment. But sometimes an honest response is just not appropriate given the time constraints (if I’m on an airplane and don’t want to spend the flight giving a kink 101 class). Other times I know that I’m going to be interacting with the person out in the “real” world, and it’s just not worth disturbing their image of me. But when the opportunity presents itself, and I sense that the person who asked the question – the inquiry that has become “THAT” question in my life – might be open to the real answer; then I take the plunge. I say it. And though my heart skips yet another beat, and I can’t help but (still) be a bit anxious about their response, I feel proud that I have stood up and spoken my truth.

Categories
Interviews

SPECTRA Interview with Kali Williams

1. Can you explain what type of coaching you offer?

My focus is on relationships with a Dominant/submissive dynamic as well as those who like to explore “kinky play” at any level. I help couples and individuals discover what they’re really looking for out of these experiences and provide them with concrete suggestions on how to make them happen. Focusing on “real life” solutions to bringing kink into a relationship, I use a playful approach to keep things sexy and fun.

2. How did you come into that style of coaching?

After being a professional dominatrix for almost a decade I’ve learned a lot about how to make play happen! Many kinky ideas come naturally to me, but that’s not usually the case for my clients. I started coaching so that I could help couples feel inspired about their kinky desires and to broaden their experience of trust, intimacy, joy and connection all through their kinky playtime.

3. Are you looking for a certain type of client?

I coach people at all levels, whether one partner is trying to introduce kink into the relationship for the first time or both partners have been playing for a long time and need a refreasher or some new inspiration. Regardless all of my clients walk away with an actionable plan to reach their sexy, kinky goals.
4. Please list any individuals that have influenced you in your practice?

All of my learning is self-motivated. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a strong mentoring process in the kink world, either for pro-domming or this type of coaching. I read a lot about psychology and relationships, communication and avoiding procrastination. Then I take those ideas and extrapolate them into a kinky experience.
5. What is one piece of advice you could give to professionals just starting in the field of sexuality?

Read, observe, ask questions, make notes and realize that the sexuality world has a lot of moving parts. Find the niche that suits you the best and focus on it. I’m a big believer in being a master of one subject rather than a jack (or jill J) of all trades. You can also use some of the great online learning opportunities such as Fetlife.com (although take a lot of that writing with a grain of salt, there are many people on there claiming to be experts that are anything but). I also run two websites that are great resources for sexuality professionals, KinkAcademy.com and PassionateU.com where you can watch videos featuring techniques and concepts by many of the most respected names in sex/kink education.

6. If you could recommend only one book for our readers, what would it be?

I have to pick just one?! For those looking to get into kink specifically, Dr. Gloria Brame’s “Different Loving” gives a good overview of the most frequently pursued kink experiences. Through anecdotes it’s a great introduction into the kink experience. You can check out her website here http://www.gloriabrame.com/

 

Originally posted on SPECTRA written by Lucy Lemons

Categories
Videos

Kali Williams – SXSW Proposal Video

Whips, chains, & floggers, oh my! Fifty Shades might not make good literature, but it is one hell of a catalyst for conversation. The astounding popularity of the Fifty Shades trilogy has brought kink out into the sunlight, but now what? What happens when poorly researched fanfic is used as a mainstream cultural reference point? These books could fade as a fad or they could be leveraged as a new way of being open about sexual desires & normalizing kinky fantasies. Couples have been furtively bought feathered riding crops & fur-lined handcuffs for decades, only now it’s becoming socially acceptable to admit it. Learning the difference between fantasy, reality & abuse is a key element to healthy kinky expression but on this point Fifty Shades fails miserably. The books start as sexy inspiration but ends up promoting unrealistic expectations & false stereotypes. Yet when the books are used to arouse a social sexual awakening & get people talking, they hit the mark perfectly.