Women » Features

Get Your Kink Education with Sexpert Madam Cassie

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Tuesday Jul 1, 2014

Make your own fireworks this holiday at the 2nd Annual Touch of Flavor kink conference, July 4-7 in Baltimore. Headed by kink instructor and sexpert Madam Cassie, the conference offers more than 55 educational seminars and courses, live demonstrations and interactive play events like the Dungeon Gala. Whether you're dabbling into "Shades of Grey" scenarios or are a hard-core S/M enthusiast, this conference has something for every level.

"I had worked within the BDSM community, which is very tight knit, and spread education amongst small groups, but with the push of 'Pink' and "50 Shades' and Rihanna's new S/M song, we felt that trying to get this education to the mainstream was very important," said Madam Cassie in a recent interview. "It's important to be fun and exciting, but we want to make sure it's safe. So we decided to market it to the mainstream so that people would be able to get this education."

The conference features a wide array of 101 classes to introduce people to basic safety issues, plus interactive classes on topics ranging from kink, female ejaculation, strap-on play, piercing, flogging, electrical play, tantric sex, polyamory and basic dominance/submission.

Madam Cassie is no ingenue; she is a professional who has been teaching kink education and sexual techniques since 2008. She currently leads a non-profit social group for kinksters in the Mid-Atlantic region, and is a prominent voice in other organizations throughout the area. She will lead many workshops, and has tapped other seasoned educators to share their expertise.

"We have a lot of starter classes and introductions to things," said Cassie. "They’re not necessarily ’vanilla,’ but we make sure that they’re a good place for people to start, so that someone with no knowledge could leave here feeling like they learned something, and not like they’re in over their head."

She recommends that newcomers take the Kink 101 class, the only one which runs multiple times over the course of the weekend. It covers basic safety stuff, the terminology and protocols, what you should do at a BDSM party and basic negotiations with a partner.

"People are really bad negotiators, so we go over how to negotiate a scene with a partner to make sure everyone’s desire and safety is negotiated correctly," said Cassie. "We teach terminology so that you know the words, for example, dominant and submissive are not the same as top verses bottom."

In the vein of negotiating your best match is the course "Dating Your Species," in which you will learn how to get started finding a person who meets your desire and is a good match for you, because as Cassie notes, "dogs and cats shouldn’t be dating."

Other highlights include a class about African Americans within the BDSM community, an introduction to polyamory for those thinking of opening up their relationships, flogging and caning for beginners, five different classes just on rope, and Tantric sex for the pragmatic, which Cassie explains as being "about the connection during sex, without the spirituality behind it. It’s a good starter class for anyone interested in the Kama Sutra."

A class which Cassie is especially fond of is her "Keeping it Kinky After Kids" workshop, which is great for people who are kinky, have kids, and want to navigate that.

"For example, how do you deal with it if your kid finds a dog leash in your nightstand, and you don’t own a dog," said Cassie. "How do you deal with these moments, how do you keep the sound down, of if you take your play outside of the bedroom in a power exchange, how do you do that in a way that the kids don’t know about, but still allows you to fulfill your desire with your partner."

Four-day passes for the event are $120, and cover everything. There are also passes available for Friday and Saturday for $80, or Sunday and Monday for $60, as there are fewer activities. On Saturday night, there is a Dungeon Gala play party, tickets for which are available. There is also a formal sit-down dinner on Sunday night.

"We have a formal, three-course dinner that we do at cost," said Cassie. "We do it on Sunday, when most of the events are over, and dress up like it’s the prom. We have some ballroom dancers and a belly dancer performing. I like it because I get to dress up."

Cassie said that a lot of local members of the BDSM community come to the events, or to meet up with instructors from across the country whom they admire. Some volunteer to work the events to attend events for free, which Cassie said is invaluable. Some local volunteers teach basic workshops, and some educators are paid to be there, or their hotel and expenses are covered.

And because this community values charitable giving, the event will feature a silent auction to raise money for the Mid-Atlantic Great Dane Society, a rescue that handles dogs from Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Maryland.

Whether you’re a seasoned kinkster or someone who just wants to spice things up in the bedroom, Touch of Flavor has something for everyone.

"What I tell new people is that it really is up to you what you walk away with," said Cassie. "Because there are so many different classes, you can pick and choose what you go to. If you’re not into something, there are so many other things you can go to, plus vendors and activities, that there’s a little something for everybody."

Touch of Flavor runs from July 4-7 at the Hunt Valley Inn in Baltimore, MD. Tickets run from $25-120. For information, visit www.atouchofflavor.com/

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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