Playing with Desire: UNH students push sexual boundaries

By Amanda Beland
On November 13, 2009

  • For all fans of comedy in Durham and anyone considering going to the Burnham show you should also attend the We Have Beards Unshaven and Uncensored Comedy Tour which hits Durham the same week. The show is Tuesday December 8th at 7 PM in the Strafford room in the MUB and features some of New Englands Best up and coming comics. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for non students and all the proceeds go to the Alternative Break Challenge Student Org.

    Both these shows will be great and help the UNH community feed their love of stand up comedy

    Good work Scope and ABC. Your name #comment 2

Courtney Jane and Regina Mae have asked that their real names and majors not be published with this article, as to avoid unnecessary scrutiny by professors, peers and google searches.

Courtney Jane always liked kidnapping movies as a kid. She was drawn to ropes and being tied up, but never really thought twice about it, until years later when she and an ex-boyfriend had a rough sexual experience. But it was a good kind of rough.

Since then, she's become enthralled with ropes, trying to learn all that she could about them and other fetish toys.

Courtney Jane, or CJ, is the creator and coordinator of UNH's BDSM group; an unrecognized organization that looks to give people an outlet for fulfilling their kinky sexual fantasies in a safe environment.

"Everything is pretty much kink," said CJ in an interview last Monday. "Anything that isn't normal is kink. It's just to what level."

When dissected, BDSM stands for bondage-discipline, dominant-submission, and sadist-masochism. CJ, a grad student at UNH, began exploring BDSM last January on her own, before starting the group and putting up advertisements for members a couple months later.

Regina Mae, a sophomore at UNH, was the first student to respond to one of the ads.

"I've always been a sexual person," said Mae, in the same interview on Monday. "I think it was a matter of me realizing that I could go out and do these things with other people and have it not be this stupid secret desire."

CJ and Mae are two of at least 10 regular UNH members of the 15-plus-member club that meets once a month for a "munch" at a local restaurant.

According to CJ, a "munch" is lunch for kinksters, an open place to meet, chat or even make connections with others. Usually, the munch begins with general chitchat, before moving to conversations about people's experiences "in the scene."

"I'm very comfortable with myself and a lot of that had to do with meeting these people and finding out that I could say these things and it's not that bad or odd," CJ said. "I mean, it's how I am, it's what makes me feel comfortable and it makes me so happy. If people don't like it, well, I guess it sucks for them."

According to CJ, in BDSM, being "in the scene" means that assumed characters do not reflect the actual personalities or tendencies of the people playing them. Individuals enter a scene that may last for variable amounts of time, from hours to days, and exit from the scene with the use of a safe word, a word chosen before the scene that is spoken by anybody involved to stop the scene.

"This summer I was playing with a guy who started going into zones that I wasn't comfortable with," Mae said. "I said the safe word and he just stopped. It was like this little click moment, like I can say stop and it will stop. I can still have control and change the outcome."

According to CJ, when individuals are playing in a scene, there are many different types of play such as rope play, which includes suspensions, impact play, such as whips and floggers (a type of whip), and dominant and subordinate play, where one person in the scene submits to the other.

One of the largely unknown types of play is "little" play. During a little scene, participants take on roles similar to those in dominant-subordinate play, except with more of a parent-child dynamic. For example, CJ and her boyfriend Thomas sometimes take part in little play, where Thomas brushes CJ's hair and takes care of her as if she is his child.

"We're really goofy about it, and that's the fun thing about this, you can totally be goofy and playful with it," said CJ.

Another aspect of little play, according to CJ, fools around with the idea of giving up control. Some individuals prefer to dress up in diapers and act like children, giving up almost all control of themselves, including their bowels, to the other person in the scene.

"Being in a scene is about figuring out what that other person really wants and getting them to admit it," CJ said. "Let's say someone is really into little play. It's probably really hard for them to say, ‘I like to s*** in a diaper,' and admit that. It's a huge confidence booster."

Though CJ admits she personally isn't into that sort of thing, her and Mae both stress that one of the best parts of playing is that it's up to the individual to choose whatever makes them happy, which allows them to have the most fun and connect with others in their scene.

"A lot of people are too insecure to admit what they really want because there is so much judgment going on from outside influences, that it makes them think that they have to hide," CJ said. "When there are just so many of us who want similar things."

Although some scenes do lead to sex, both CJ and Mae said, that playing isn't necessarily all about sex, but rather about the mental or emotional connection between yourself and others in the scene.

"The best thing is, you can play with someone and it doesn't have to be about sex," said CJ. "It can be so much more about stimulating the mind."

Along with finding a niche within the BDSM community, safety and awareness are the two most important aspects of the club and the community.

According to CJ, giving people knowledge about community practices is crucial for safety. If someone is involved in play with suspension for example – a practice in which an individual is perched above the ground through ropes or harnesses – and the person's body weight isn't balanced, the experience could be extremely painful and could hurt that person, which would erase the point of the scene in the first place.

"I know a lot of people who are scared to start playing because they don't know anything and don't want to f*** it up," CJ said. "Many people would prefer that if they play, they have some experience."

To help people gain that experience, CJ has designed a BDSM for beginner's conference this Saturday at the Portsmouth Holiday Inn. The conference costs $20 per person and features classes and discussions about different aspects of the BDSM culture, specially designed for people who are new to the community.

CJ hopes that through the conference, which is the first of its kind in New Hampshire, people who are looking to get involved in the community learn safety, but also gain sense of confidence and acceptance.

"The main thing I want to convey with my group is that you're not alone," CJ said. "That there are a number of people who have these weird thoughts or fantasies that they thought they couldn't let out. It's just so relieving when you get out of a scene, and you just feel so good. I know a number of cutters that are in the scene and no longer cut. It can be very therapeutic."

To view a schedule of the conference or purchase tickets, please visit the following website:

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