January in Montreal means many things: frigid weather, atrocious driving, and from a commercial perspective, Valentine’s day prep. There is no clearer demonstration of this than at the annual Salon de l’Amour et de la Seduction.

Sponsored by MyFreeCams.com, it’s held every year towards the end of January and is a massive combination of trade show, educational conference, and performance festival. The rules are that it’s eighteen plus, you must be respectful and mindful of consent, and though you’re welcome to dress to impress, you must keep your genitals covered at all times. Inclusion and open minded-ness are the name of the game, and the Salon does a lot to make sure its disabled attendees are comfortable, with ramps and seating areas for those with visible and invisible illnesses.

As a reporter who’s had the honor of covering the event every year, the differences between this year and last year’s Salon did not go unnoticed. One of the biggest changes was clearly due to Canada’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana.

Though in previous years, vendors of bongs and pipes had one or two tiny booths, this year their presence was much grander. One massive booth offered pipes, vapes, and bongs in a variety of materials and price points. Another booth was devoted to HighonLove.ca, a Canadian company that makes hemp-based massage and bath oils, lubricants, and even chocolate body paint.

Though their products seem sound, their prices are quite high, with a bottle of massage oil going for as much as sixty bucks. The representative I spoke to said that this was because the product contained no fillers, though it is clear that their prices are also driven up by their fancy packaging, which gives it the appearance of a luxury brand.

Among the sex educators present this year was Morgan Thorne, author of A Guide to Classic Discipline, Exploring BDSM: A Workbook for Couples and Medical Aseptic Technique for BDSM. Thorne is not only a sex educator who runs BDSM workshops and offers Couples Education and Coaching both in person and online, but she is also one of the only visibly disabled exhibitors present at the Salon.

Morgan Thorne

She spoke to me in depth from her wheelchair as I leaned on my cane about the difficulties disabled women face getting treatment for pain issues. The impression she gives off is one of empathy and open-mindedness and also has free BDSM educational videos.

Among the many sex toy vendors at the Salon this year was Bliss, which had a second booth for their other company Spank Toys. Of all the vendors at the Salon, their prices for vibrators were some of the most reasonable, with a decent model going for as little as thirty dollars.

Bliss

I noticed upon arrival that there were fewer exhibitors this year. A representative of the company named Jeff told me that this was because the cost of exhibiting at the Montreal show – the Salon also has events in Las Vegas, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Red Deer, and Toronto – was particularly high this year. Despite the high cost, some smaller vendors were also at the Salon to showcase their works.

One such vendor is DicksWithWicks.com, which sells penis-shaped candles. I asked their representative whether her products were modeled on a real penis and she told an amazing story. She was on social media one day when a man sent her an unsolicited dick pic. Her horror and sense of violation quickly turned to empowerment.

She asked him for more photos of his junk from different angles, which he freely and willingly provided. The photos were then used to make the mold for the candles. When the man in question saw the products, he demanded a share of profits, to which she rightfully replied that he sent the images freely and with no presumption of privacy and she therefore owed him nothing. In the era of #MeToo, we need stories like hers more than ever, and it is companies like these that we need to support.

Another small vendor present was Exotique Spa Candles, a company that makes blacklight sensitive candles for sex play. Designed to not burn you when the wax is poured on your skin, the proceeds of their products go to the Alberta sex positive education and community center, a sex ed group that gives courses and workshops on consent and sexual health.

Their representative spoke to me in depth about how there is still a lot of shame tied to sex and sexuality in Canada and that the shame keeps people from having healthy discussions about it. A lack of discussion and health education has led to such problems as the increasing rates of gonorrhea and syphilis among people over the age of fifty. Information about their non-profit can be found at Aspecc.ca.

In addition to vibrators, dildos, candles, and lingerie, the Salon features the latest sex toy tech. La Marquise Sex Toys had a lifelike sex doll on display. Their rep said the entire doll costs around ten thousand dollars, but they also had lifelike hips with vagina and anus built in for four hundred dollars.

.Another company, Robot Sex Machine, had two machines in operation, demonstrating how their technology could be used to rhythmically move dildos and pocket pussies.

One of the biggest disappointments of the Salon this year was their kink corner. Though in the past the kink section had ambient lighting and tamer displays of kink, this year was a demonstration of mismanagement and a lack of discussion about what should be shown.

When I arrived the kink corner on Saturday around 2 pm, the area was impossibly dark due to a lighting issue that had never been resolved, and the displays of kink were too hardcore even for this crowd.

Many who come to the Salon and check out the kink corner are not kinky themselves, but curious and perhaps tempted to try it. That means that what they see should not be overly shocking, and should certainly represent healthy BDSM relationships to dispel myths resulting from the Jian Ghomeshi trials and the abuse portrayed in Fifty Shades of Grey.

Unfortunately, while one section showed a tame display of rope play, a kinkster in another section was furiously spanking and whipping a sub with few check-ins or after care. It was a display that turned the stomach of my friends, some of whom are kinky themselves.

It was the kind of display that would scare some off and give others the impression that abuse is acceptable if you call it BDSM. That said, I know the kink community can do better, and here’s hoping they do so next year.

The Salon de l’Amour is a lot of fun. Not only can you get quality sex toys and lingerie at discount prices, but you’ll also see great shows, see innovations in sex toy tech, and learn about sexual techniques, identities, and kinks. Your ticket also has the benefit of helping small businesses and educational groups that in the era of #Metoo need our support more than ever.

Check it out, have a blast, and leave your judgments and biases at the door.

Photos by Kerry Ann Cannon

People tell me things they would not tell anyone else, not their mom, not even their therapist or childhood best friend. I get bro status instantly when most girls would not. Guys hear that I like girls too (I like all humans) and assume that I want to hear about all the dirties of their sex life instantly. I’m not mad, always looking for artistic inspiration.

This is what brings us to the topic of erotic asphyxiation. A guy was telling me how he was fucking a girl half his age and she liked to be choked.

Another guy told me about the first girl that ever asked him to choke her and how it felt powerful. One time they were in the act and he was choking her and her eyes rolled back into her head. Her body went limp. He then slapped her awake. She said “Thank you for bringing me back,” then he continued fucking her.

What the fuck? This disturbed me. Who would want that? Choke out a young girl, thats not making love, thats some carnal strange right there. She asked for it, he said. She wanted it. She was looking for a little pain, a little pause in time and oxygen deprivation.

I bruise easily so I never really wanted to try it. But one time I was hooking up with someone and they were definitely dominant, and knew what they were doing. Their expert hands knew the exact pressure point to hit to cut off oxygen without hurting me. It felt like a whip. I needed to tap out, it was too intense, and not in a sexual way.

Erotic asphyxiation or breath play is when you intentionally restrict the flow of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal. The term autoerotic asphyxiation is used when the act is done by a person to themselves.

Gasper is used to describe a person participating in this fetish. Author George Shuman describes the effect as such, “When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it induces a lucid, semi-hallucinogenic state called hypoxia. Combined with orgasm, the rush is said to be no less powerful than cocaine, and highly addictive.”

When death occurs during auto-erotic asphyxiation often the families will “clean up” the scene and make it not seem sexual, but like suicide. If a partner is involved it can be classified as murder even if there was consent. Thats crazy!

Back to my conversation with the dirt ball. He also added “of course the girls are always younger” as if it would be gross to sleep with a woman his age or older. The other guy stated that he liked older women. I wonder if it was because he wanted to sleep with me.

Daddy complex- so many older men fetishize young girls, like the only creatures capable of sex are young fertile girls. It is absolutely disgusting how children are sexualized by the media for consumption by the scummy old men who rule the world. Goes the other way too when younger people are looking for sexual “guidance” perhaps to make up for a lack of actual parents in their life. A whole generation is being raised by the internet and are incapable of healthy relationships because of this.

Mommy complex- while most men seek out younger women they also take advantage of older women to do things like their cooking and laundry. For the most part they want to be treated like babies and also fuck babies.

Some people also put themselves into the mom role. I definitely do this. This is still problem, but a little less creepy. I will never have children pop out of my body but I will have an influence on younger people. I will help others grow with my wisdom and resources.

I love to feed people, I love having people in my home and cooking them a vegan feast. I will go without to fill someone else’s belly. I care about others in that ever loving maternal way.

For me, I feel funny if someone is much younger than me. When on dating sites/apps I usually swipe away from even 21-22 year olds because I know they are in a much different place than my 30 year old ass.

Do I fuck them to feel young? Is it like Elizabeth Báthory bathing in their blood? Ageism is rampant in porn and the sex industry. Age is a fetish too: nubile lolita vs dried up spinster, youth vs experience, it’s all what you are looking for.

Burlesque is so appealing because there no age restrictions. All bodies are beautiful and inspiring vessels. Everyone is fucking sexy! Old and fuckable are not oxymorons!

I love that people like to tell me the gory details, knowing that not many other people would be as impressed by their filth. I love being the one who knows the thing you can’t tell anyone else. I don’t get grossed out. I do disgusting shit everyday. We all do.

How do you react when you know dirt about someone your friend is thinking of dating though… like they start describing a random tinder hookup that they are falling in love with… same physical description, kinda average, kinda whatever… same job… wait he started what?… awww fuck that’s the guy that ____ to my friend when she was _____ and you think that maybe he _____ to you but you want to justify what happened.

Like staying with a phone company that sucks just to get an angry but loyal customer discount. You asked me if I ever stole anything from anyone.

We ate brunch, vegan tofu hash with a pita, strong coffee with almond milk, you had a bloody mary, we both hate olives. You very loudly told me about all of your sexplotations and adventures spanning the course of continents.

A man sat in earshot pretending to read. I forgot his name but we definitely knew each other. I did not make eye contact.

Hopefully our explicit conversation inspires him to make art. Us talking dirty on the patio of a cafe on a fall morning makes Buffalo that much more sexy. That kind of girl lives there, artists having conversations about art, sex, traveling, ridding ourselves of negative energy, and bonding over coffee and early morning alcohol that’s ok because it’s in tomato juice like a meal.

Talking about choking, fucking outside, and so much more. Things were said that would make anyone gasp. I know he had to read those pages over. We acknowledged each other as he left, he said he didn’t want to interrupt our conversation. You are welcome sir.

Why do people always think I’m a fucking Dominatrix?

Not saying it’s a bad thing, I know a few people who are in the scene and make a living dominating people of all classes, ages, genders and kinks. They are very passionate and professional, I am in no way discrediting or mocking this lifestyle, I know it is real and beautiful to so many people.

I recently found out that a very close friend of mine is a dominatrix and she told me in detail about her giving her first golden shower, and that’s not even the strangest thing she’s done. There are a lot people out there who can not get off from traditional sex and explore the kink scene as a way of further stimulation and release.

It is a scene that happily lies beneath the radar, and so many people hide their kinks due to work or family. I am not NOT into it, just not sure where my place is. I think BDSM is a beautiful and fascinating subculture that has and will forever exist, I am just not a current card carrying member of the lifestyle is all.

cat dom 6

I am definitely not a believer that all women are submissive and should bow down to men and be slaves to the kitchen and child rearing. Women historically have had to struggle through male dominance in all parts of life.

I enjoy when there is a power shift in the stereotypical sexual paradigm. The thigh high leather boot is on the other foot. I have been on the giving side of pegging and have watched a lot of cuckhold porn, but I have never identified as a dominatrix.

A steady stream of people have always reached out to me through dating websites, social media, and in real life about dominating them. So many, in fact, that it makes me think, huh, are they seeing something in me that I do not? Is there are a part of me I need to explore here? Do I have dom denial? Is this what I want?

Things like “ever want to have full control over a man, having him obey your every command?” Or a guy who messaged me on every dating site regularly for the last few years with this: “kneels and says hello beautiful mistress, may I kiss your boots?” Then every once in a while I will get the “please be my mistress, I will do literally anything!”

I have never once responded, and this has been YEARS. I wonder if by not responding I am giving him what he wants? Does he feel like my lack of interest is degrading him?

I just received this message on OKcupid and it astounded me: ” I’m a 21 year old international student and I am looking for a mistress who would love to dominate me. If you like the idea to dominate, degrade, humiliate, and make your slave, who would literally do anything, I am the best guy to do it. You can make me massage you with oil all over your body, or apply Nutella on all the parts of your body and make me lick it, or spank me, or anything else in the world. I really enjoy being a slave and am extremely passionate about it. I hope to get the opportunity to serve you beauty goddess. If you feel you are not the type of person to do this then I highly recommend trying it. From my experience girls with no experience really enjoy it and get addicted to it since its not necessarily about being dominant but more about getting exactly what you want and something like a tailor made option.” All I can imagine is a vagina full of Nutella.

Is it because I am self assured? Confident? An Amazon woman? Do I look mean? Maybe it’s the costumes?

I could not imagine degrading someone, making them lick the dirt from my shoe and piss on their face. I don’t know if I would laugh or want to give them a hug. My nature is to be sweet and gentle, but what if my lover wants me to inflict pain and say horrible shit? Do I go there?

Being a dominatrix can’t be easy. Its scary when a person puts their full trust in you, their life is in your hands, you have control, and that’s a big fucking responsibility. You have to fulfill someone’s deepest darkest sexual fantasy with safety, kindness, and compassion.

cat dom 2Even though the name of the game is degradation, you are doing it to ultimately give the other person pleasure. When I think about the best sexual experiences of my life, some of them have been initiated by me, but I don’t think that’s being dominant in the same fetishized way.

I often wonder what makes me seem like someone who would do the dominating and not the other way around. I honestly have always felt a little bit more submissive. I want someone to throw me up against the wall and tell me who’s boss, but it just doesn’t seem to happen for me.

This is especially true with all of the women I have ever been with. I was the one to initiate. I feel like with a women, especially a femme, I must be the protector, I must be the big spoon, the “top” in the relationship. It could just be because I am physically larger than most women.

Getting everything you want does sound mighty nice though. It’s better than never getting what you want. Sitting aside and watching someone else take away the person you want time and time again. Not knowing what to do or how to be more attractive or appealing.

I have always struggled with my own confidence, especially sexually. I feel like I find a person that I want, fuck them immediately, and never talk to them ever again OR I become friends and never anything more. There is no in between.

Fuck this life, time to break that cycle. I’m not even looking for a relationship. I want someone to care about me differently than they care about others. I won’t go as far as wanting to be worshipped but of course I want to be respected. Tell them what I want and get it.

I do look sexy in leather.