While we're all whispering -- okay, more like shouting from the rooftops at this point -- about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and heatedly debating what sexy scenes should definitely be featured in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie, real women and men are living out the dominant/submissive fantasies many Fifty fans have only dreamed about.
Yesterday, we featured Pamela Madsen, a real-life submissive mom from suburbia. Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Will Fredericks, a real-life dominant from Seattle, Washington. As a sex and intimacy coach, Will not only personally enjoys but also educates others in the art of power exchange in the bedroom. A totally accessible, sweet, and yes, married man, Will didn't mind showing us "the ropes" of his world and offering tips for women who want their men to fulfill their Fifty fantasies ...
How were you introduced to the BDSM scene?
It was something that has been part of my fantasies for a long time. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest, and it wasn't until I was able to reach out online -- via a great website created a while ago called sexuality.org -- that I realized not only did people have the same fantasies, but they were acting them out and doing it in an organized and considerate way. Now, I'm fortunate to live in Seattle, one of the places that's very sex-positive.
How did you know you were a Dom?
I've tried different things out, and I think that's the key to the whole thing ... [You see what] the charge is from whatever you're doing. For instance, there are people who find receiving a spanking is an erotically intense experience. Their bodies process it with a lot of pleasure. It's an interesting sensation to me, but it's not particularly compelling from an erotic standpoint, whereas giving a spanking or tying someone up with rope is. Also for me, there was the sort of psychological, initial thing I enjoyed about being in control, being the person directing what's going on, creating a scenario something I enjoy. All of those things combined, it made sense.
You're married. How does that work?
My wife teaches, too. We're in this together, we teach together sometimes, we teach individually. And we also enjoy this as part of relationship. We met doing BDSM. We were at a play party and that was our first time together, so it's been a part of our relationship from the beginning, one of the foundational pillars of our relationship. We want to play this way, be related this way.
What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions about BDSM play?
I have run into very few people in my life whose relationship and whose love and sex lives are as intentional and empowered as people who are consciously practicing BDSM. Because of the ability to consent and revoke consent, if something's not going the way I want it to, I can say, "This isn't what I want." That is one of the major fundamental differences between abuse and BDSM.
Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey books? Would you say the BDSM community is portrayed accurately?
I haven't, but I've heard about them. I hear there's a bit of question of whether the male character [Christian] has done work on himself, around his former abuse and [how that affects his relationship with Anastasia]. For the most part, the people I interact with are much more mindful of how their own behavior works within the context of the scene and within their partnerships. There's less room for peoples idiosyncrasies to really take over and when that happens, because of how people play -- safe words and things like that -- those kinds of situations get diffused more quickly. Ultimately what is going on is pretty thought out and planned and negotiated and consented to by all the people involved. People are being more intentional and conscientious about how they're doing those things [than the book seems to portray].
What do you recommend to women who want to their men to be more dominant in bed?
I teach a basic sensation class for people who want to start playing around, and usually the biggest piece of advice is go slowly and take your time. There's no rush. You don't need to climb Mt. Everest. Also remember, trust goes both ways, and there are men who are afraid to step into places of power in their relationships sexually. Role play is one of the easiest ways to create safety, to give them permission to step into that place of power. Think of Halloween. You put on costumes and behave in ways you might not normally do. One of the first ways I used to experience BDSM was by playing Cops and Robbers as a kid. I was a cop and had to handcuff someone to a tree and then interrogate them. Access to that kind of role through role play becomes a good way to encourage that kind of behavior -- and it introduces the play aspect of it, as well! Far too many people take it too seriously, and it freezes them in their tracks. No one has to do this 24/7. Make it a fun game, and it becomes more approachable. Just make sure you have an extra key somewhere!
Image via Will Fredericks, namingdesire.com