An interview with BDSM educator Charley Ferrer

I’m pleased to welcome as my guest Dr. Charley Ferrer, a clinical sexologist, BDSM educator and founder of the BDSM Writers Con.

BDSM Writers Con 2016 promo button 250 x 250Cara Bristol: How/Why did you become a clinical sexologist? Is your role one of public education or do have a private sex therapy practice? Both?

Charley Ferrer: When I was working on my Masters in Psychology to become a therapist I found everyone avoided topics of sexuality unless it was surface stuff like “let’s build a relationships” and the focus always on just communication. I also realized many therapists were hindered by their own hang-ups and avoided sexual issues altogether or imposed their morals & norms onto their patients when they didn’t agree with their patient’s sexual desires. I wanted to learn more about sexuality and so went on to obtain my doctorate in human sexuality and degree in clinical sexology. Though I love educating others and conducting workshops, I also run a private practice which specializes in sexual difficulties and alternative lifestyles such as BDSM.

Cara Bristol: Tell me three things the general public would be surprised to know about BDSM?

Charley Ferrer: Gosh…only three things? Chuckles

The first thing everyone should know is that BDSM is NOT abuse. It is merely a different form of expressing your love and affection for another. It takes only “one word” to stop all interactions when engaging in BDSM activities whereas with inappropriate behavior, it does on regardless of what you say.

Most individuals would be surprised to discover that more than 60% of D/s relationships are not sexual and nor physical in nature but are based on the power exchange between the two individuals and the submissive if there to provide service to the Dominant.

I would dare to say that most of us practice some form of dominance and submission in ALL our relationships; however, we may not realize nor classify it in those terms. For instances, have  you ever given a hickie to a lover or received one? This is a form of marking or being marked by your lover. And just like in the BDSM realm everyone typically loves to how off their marks. Not to mention, it also services as a way of “staking your claim.” Here’s another example: have you ever experience and more importantly enjoyed “angry sex” or “make-up sex”? This is merely a way to tap into your Primal Passion desires and share a part of yourself that isn’t restricted by guilt or shame and allows you to give freedom to your inner darker desires.

Cara Bristol: You developed a Kinky Scale, ranging from “totally vanilla” to “criminal sadist.” What does this scale say about a person’s orientation and how can they use it to enhance their lives?

Charley Ferrer: As with the Kinsey Scale which showed that men and women tend to fluctuation in their sexual desires from being strictly heterosexual to strictly homosexual, my Kinky Scale helps individuals realize that desires are never set. It’s perfectly normal to slide up and down the scale and feel comfortable with exploring and expanding. In the Kinky Scale we discuss the fact that there are those that are “strictly vanilla” which means they have no desires for the power exchange and enjoy their sexuality “clean and simple”—think missionary—prime and proper. Not that that can’t be fun for some. The Kinky Scale also discusses the extreme section of the scale which would be the “criminal sadist” who has no regard for those around them and is acting from a pathology behavior. Most individuals are kink-flexible and fall between 1 & 4 on the scale allowing themselves to instinctively enjoy the various spectrums of their sensuality.

Cara Bristol: What in your opinion makes for a good BDSM romance? What elements need to be there?

Charley Ferrer: There needs to be a realistic portrayal of the power exchange to make me like a D/s book or consider it a BDSM novel. Just because a book has a spanking scene or someone gets tied up, doesn’t make it a BDSM romance. Spankings and bondage are merely activities one performs or a roleplay activity to spice things up. A good BDSM romance must show the power exchange experienced between the characters. Dominance and submission isn’t merely about demanding someone do what you say or throwing yourself at their feet, it’s about offering a part of yourself that you do not share with others. It’s deciding to lead and create a safe haven for your partner or surrendering and trusting your vulnerability to another. It’s working together to allow you to reach heights of emotional and physical bliss through service or sensation play. A good BDSM romance will show the respect the characters have for one another; a great BDSM romance will inspire you to explore and expect more of yourself and your relationships.

Cara Bristol: What’s the background behind the Golden Flogger Awards? How are books nominated? What are the criteria?

Charley Ferrer: The Golden Flogger Award was created to acknowledge authors who provide an accurate and realistic portrayal of dominance and submission (D/s) relationships. Despite the recent popularity of BDSM in the media, it is still a taboo subject and often those that embrace the power exchange and build their relationships within its boundaries are discriminated against.

Over the past few decades I’ve read many books which claimed to be BDSM but weren’t. In some cases the authors didn’t do their research or portrayed their characters in an unrealistic and at times even derogatory manner. As someone who embraces the BDSM lifestyle, I found this very offensive as do many within the community. The Golden Flogger Award was specifically created to acknowledge those authors who portray a realistic view of the power exchange and those that embrace it and novels which provide respectful and insightful characters. Books are judged on the BDSM content as well as the story itself.  In the case of non-fiction BDSM books, we address their scope of knowledge and their impact to the D/s community.

Anyone can nominate a book for the Golden Flogger Award. There are two requirements:  (a) the book must have a BDSM storyline (b) be published in the year designated for consideration. (For the 2016 Award, all books nominated must have been published in 2015.)  Last year, we had 188 book nominated; 33 of those were disqualified as they didn’t meet our criteria; 155 were reviewed and 10 books were awarded the Golden Flogger Award.  We host the Golden Flogger Awards during our annual BDSM Writers Con in New York City. Join us and cheer for your favorite—or soon to be favorite—author.

Cara Bristol: Tell me about the BDSM Writers Con. How did it get started, what can attendees expect?

Charley Ferrer: BDSM Writers Con started as a 3-Day Intensive Workshop in 2012 dedicated to educating authors about dominance and submission. It was my way of helping to decrease the discrimination faced by those that embrace this unique lifestyle and help to education others helping them to understand what D/s is and isn’t. I knew if I could educate the authors, I could reach the readers as well through their fabulous stories. From the beginning, we’ve always included readers in the program. In the past four years, BDSM Writers Con grew into a 4-day conference that provides educations to writers, readers and anyone interested in writing about or exploring the world of dominance and submission.

We include 30 hours of BDSM workshops, live demonstrations, and even a trip to a local BDSM club. There are workshops specifically geared towards authors marketing and writing needs in this genre and we encourage readers to attend those as well. All our workshops are open to all participants and are full of BDSM information. BDSM Writers Con is the only conference dedicated to readers and writers of dominance and submission. It is where fantasy and reality come together! And yes, you will explore various aspects of the BDSM lifestyle—even have a chance to experience it yourself in our interactive workshops, through our SM Exploratorium and other workshops.

Did I mention we also host various Mix & Mingles for authors and readers to party together; a Book Fair, and Fetish Vending? Our Book Fair & Fetish Vending is open to the public on Sunday.

As of 2016, we will be hosting our first west coast conference in Everett Washington, March 31 – April 3 along with our first BDSM Writers BALL which is open to the public.  I invite you to join us in New York City or Everett and discover for yourself why our participants return year after year.

♥  ♥  ♥

Dr Charley Ferrer Press PictureDr. Charley Ferrer is a world renowned Clinical Sexologist and BDSM educator. She has lectured throughout the US, Latin America and Asia. She is the award winning author of BDSM The Naked Truth and many other book on self-empowerment and sexuality. She provides private Mentorships on sexuality, BDSM and sex therapy. She also conducts private retreats taking participants to various resorts & countries throughout the world. To learn more about Dr. Charley visit her website.

 

 

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21 Responses to An interview with BDSM educator Charley Ferrer

  1. Thank you again, Cara for hosting me on your website.

    As a thank you to your fans, I’ll give away one of two ebooks for those that ask any questions.

    Live with passion,

    Dr Charley Ferrer

  2. Fantastic interview, ladies!
    Thank you.

  3. Lise says:

    No matter how long I’ve known Dr. Charley, or how many times I’ve attended BDSM Writers Conference, I always learn something new, and valuable, from her. Just as I did here with this interview! Looking forward to more insight on the BDSM lifestyle, and the conference, and opportunities to share these interviews and spread the knowledge and the good word! Thanks for hosting Dr. Charley!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      It does sound like an awesome conference.

      • Hi Lise,

        Thank you for your comment. I’m pleased I can provide as much knowledge as you wish. And of course, all our fabulous presenters share their wealth of information as well. As you’ve heard me say, there’s so much to discover about this vast lifestyle that one, two even three conferences isn’t enough. After 20 years, I”m still learning a few new things myself. smiles. I look forward to seeing you again, Lise in New York City August 18-21 and I hope to see all the rest of you as well.
        Remember, starting March 31 we’ll also be in Everett Washington. I can’t wait.

        Live with passion,
        Dr. Charley Ferrer

  4. Jaye Peaches says:

    Fascinating interview. Charley’s book – BDSM for Writers – remains one of my most useful guides and something I recommend to first time BDSM writers.
    I would love to see a workshop in the UK – hint 🙂

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thanks for the tip!

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Dr. Charley tried to respond to you, but her answer evaporated in cyberspace. So she emailed it to me. Here it is:

      Hi Jaye,

      Darn…I had this great answer and pressed send and it disappeared. So here it is again.

      Please search your guides list with us, it’s always wonderful to have more books and reputable websites to send people to. As for having a conference in the UK , I have been thinking of hosting a mini-BDSM Writers Con there for 2017. Although, since I’ve never been there, I’d need the help of as many volunteers as I can get to help with planning and getting the word out. Hint Hint. smiles. If you’re interested, please contact me at DoctorCharley@DoctorCharley.com

      Thanks for coming be and reading my interview.

      Live with passion,
      Dr. Charley Ferrer

  5. Anna Marie says:

    Thank you so much for this interview. I was particularly delighted with your answer about writing about BDSM realistically. Having started to write a novel featuring BDSM, nearly two years ago, I managed the backstory but hit a complete block when it came to my ‘heroine’s’ transition into BDSM following years of abuse and fear from childhood. Your answer to that question proved to be a revelation to me! I had started in this lifestyle about three years ago. It was approximately after 12 months attending my local munch and getting to know everyone socially that way, that I decided I was ready to start swimming, so to speak. I began as a rope bunny for a rigger, then the same rigger invited me to my first local kink party, and I experienced spanking, paddling and flogging for the first time. I loved it. In the following 18 months or so, I have experienced much more, thanks to the same Top. For the first time today, I had the sudden realisation that all I need to do is use those experiences for my own book character! I am now writing them all down, ready to use as chapters for my book, some as in the third person as an observer, and others as her own experiences as she too begins to find her own happiness both in her life, and in the BDSM lifestyle, bringing her full circle. I attended the last Writers Con in NY and also will be at Everett next year, which I am looking forward to immensely. Perhaps I wasn’t ready for this revelation then, but now that I am, I am sure it won’t be too much longer before I can type those magic words: The End. Thank you again.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Hi Anna Marie,

        Have you met Jaye…points up…she’s from the UK as well. Maybe you two can get together and help plan the UK version of BDSM Writers Con. smiles.

        I’m so pleased all the dots are getting connected for you, Anna Marie. Sometimes it just takes that one “ah-ha” moment to come full circle.

        I look forward to seeing you in Everett. Did you hear we have even more Mix & Mingles planned, and we’re getting our own signature drink called “Spank Me” created by Blue Water Distilling who’s one of our sponsors. Their organically made vodka is so smooth, just two of those drinks and yep you’ll feel “spanked”. LoL I’m so excited and thrilled you’ll be celebrating our first west coast conference with us.

        And of course, I look forward to reading your book soon. You could always debut it in August…..hint…hint.

        Live with passion,

        Dr. Charley Ferrer

  6. S.J. Maylee says:

    What a great interview! Thank you to both Cara and Dr. Charley Ferrer. 😀
    I so want to attend your Writers Con!! I’m in love with D/s and making my stories feel real. I’ve often imagined the conversations a Dom and sub partake in before play begins including things like hard and soft limits, safe words … I was wondering what you’ve found to be some of the most important things a Dom and or a sub can discuss or do before play begins.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Good question for Dr. Charley!

      • Hi S.J. Maylee

        Pre-play negotiations is like foreplay…without it, the experience won’t be as great as it could have been. Allena, the president of the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle, is actually conducting a “BDSM Negotiations & Etiquettes” workshop for us covering many of the points why negotiations are so important and what to ask. Here’s the link to find out what other workshops and live-demos we’ll have available in Everett & New York City in 2016. http://bdsmwriterscon.com/workshops-2016

        To address your inquiry, the most important questions to ask are health and emotionally related. Here’s a few examples why health inquiries are so important: You want to ensure you know if your play-partner is diabetic because this will affect circulation; do they have respiratory issues like asthma and if so, where do they keep their inhaler. Nothing ends a scene faster than your partner getting excited and having an asthma attack and you don’t know where that inhaler is. Are there any physical conditions to look out for such as knee or back problems; do they have any STD’s/STI’s which need to be taken into consideration when playing with insertable toys or having sex—including oral sex.

        I always want to know “emotional triggers”. Are there key words you should avoid or certain toys that will elicit the “wrong” response. For instance, if you call them a “slut” will that trigger them to be more adventurous and daring in their response or will it shut them down? Is the use of a cane ok, but a belt unacceptable? And how will they react if you use extreme restraints or sensory dep, will they shut down, become violent, or beg for more? And we haven’t even discussed aftercare yet.

        Just these few questions will provide you with a wealth of information about your play-partner and ensure you have the best experience ever. Ignoring this “foreplay” will set you up for failure or at the very least an experience you’ll regret.

        I do recommend using a BDSM Checklist though it seems so cliché. However, within it you/your play-partner will reveal so much. Because I’m big on connecting the emotional and psychological aspects to D/s play, my BDSM Checklist has a few additional questions such as like and dislike and whether the activity would be acceptable if they were “forced”—this question alone opens the door to consensual non-consent an aspect of BDSM play used by more experienced and edgier players.

        I address these emotional and psychological connections in my book, BDSM The Naked Truth and provide you with a BDSM Checklist I created specifically for you. You can obtain a FREE copy of the checklist when signing up for my Newsletter http://www.BDSMWritersCon.com or you’re welcome to email me and request a copy.

        I look forward to seeing you at BDSM Writers Con, S.J. and congratulations on your nomination for our 2016 Golden Flogger Award for your book, Taking Over.

        Live with passion,

        Dr. Charley Ferrer

        • S.J. Maylee says:

          Thank you for the fabulous reply!! You rock. These are such good things to remember. Yes, triggers can certainly change things. I got the checklist! Important stuff. Aw, after care. Love writing those scenes. 😀

          Thanks again, Dr. Charley Ferrer. I’m so honored to see Taking Over in the list of nominees.

  7. Thanks everyone for sharing your questions and comments with me. And thank you Cara for hosting me. As a special thank you, one of you will receive a copy of my book BDSM The Naked Truth and the rest can receive a copy of my BDSM Checklist. I’ll let Cara select the winner.

    I hope I’ll get to see all of you at our upcoming BDSM Writers Con.

    Live with passion,
    Dr. Charley Ferrer

  8. Cara Bristol says:

    Thank you everyone for visiting and commenting. The winner of Dr. Charley’s book — picked by random drawing — is Lise! Congrats!

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