So me and my BFF Jill are hosting a play party in a few months.

We’re not quite the best people in the world to be doing this.  Neither of us has ever been to a play party.  (We’re not really into the “BDSM community,” we’re young, play parties are not exactly common where I’m from, etc.)  Hell, I’ve only ever really done very light BDSM.  We have almost no equipment.  And, well, Caecius College is a pretty sexually repressed place, where people don’t openly talk about BDSM.  Like, our invite list is mostly people we’re guessing are kinky based on other personality traits.  

So why am I (are we) so dead-set on doing this?  Besides just wanting to have some fun, there’s the whole we’re-badasses-who-totally-pulled-this-off factor.  For me, though, it’s just as much about striking back at this place.  Caecius has an über-radical reputation that possibly no school could live up to.  In the few years I’ve been here, and (I think especially) in the couple years immediately before I was here, there’s been a striking backlash against its radical past–a backlash that virtually nobody will admit to being a part of.  Compare the alcohol policy, the availability and vitality of student-run space, the political and sexual attitudes of students, the general willingness to question authority, or whatever else you want to–this place has moved dramatically away from what it was.  

And yet, in theory and in certain trappings, Caecius is as liberal as it ever was, and in many ways still pretends to be the school it was 5 or 10 years ago.  Last week, our president sent an email not just to all employees and students, but also to students’ parents, to talk about how great Obama’s election was.  Tour guides still talk about the Big All-Campus Drag Party that hasn’t happened for the last six years (and sometimes about the campus-wide orgies that used to go on a decade or two ago), the student demonstrations in support of crisis counseling from about a decade back, and so forth.  This creates a pretty bizarre environment, where we constantly hear about what a liberal environment we’re in, while being warned that, due to (nonexistent or unavoidable) legal-liability issues or “discomfort” or “concern” that’s nobody will admit to being the source of, we can’t do any of those fun things anymore.  

So yeah.  Sexuality is complicated and sometimes people get hurt.  And that goes double for BDSM and double again for anything thta takes place in a public, group setting.  Of course, we’ll do what we can to minimize that risk.  But, more to the point, there’s something hurtful–somethin repressive–about spending 3+ years here and finding ourselves clueless about basic aspects of the sexuality of friends, people we’ve seen on a daily basis 8 months a year since we were 18.  And, betrayed as I sometimes feel by this school, I think there’s something cool about Caecius, something I want to keep going in however limited a way.  I spent most of last year trying to actually change administrative policy here, and haven’t come up with much for it but some nice resume items and a lot of enemies.  But I can at least do this.