Sex and Two Cities

doa_stabbedsoul, replying to leleth_faery on tricstmr‘s journal:

I am in total agreement with faery! Sex the friends on the dance floor! More sexing of the friends on the dance floor! it’s like…puppies! It’s cute it’s good it’s fun! it’s so GOOD! it’s so fun! it’s so aye-okay! I HATE THE LACK OF SEXING ON THE DANCEFLOOR HERE. IT SUCKS!

And with that, she points out one of the biggest differences I’ve observed between the Madison and Baltimore scene cultures. Granted, I’m still a relative newbie to the Baltimore scene, and I’ve only visited Madison once. But if you follow enough journals and talk to enough people a coherent picture tends to emerge.

As a rule, at the clubs I’ve been to everyone dances alone. Occasionally a couple of girls will dance together or a couple will sort of dance at each other for a few minutes. There seem to be a few more exceptions to this rule at Elektroschock, but I think they take place primarily among the venue’s regular clientelle. By and large people dance alone.

Generally speaking I like this. Dancing, for me, is all about me and the music. I think I’d be uncomfortable at one of those booty clubs where everyone is grinding and angling to get laid. I’ve always appreciated the fact that the goth clubs, or the Baltimore ones at least, were not meat-markets.

Which is why it’s so surprising that I enjoyed my one visit to the Inferno in Madison so much. Now, I realize that as a fetish event it isn’t necessarily representative of the goth scene per se. But from reading people’s journals I gather that what I saw there didn’t deviate too far from the norm. People danced together a lot more. And when I found myself dancing with friends, I found I liked it. It was sensual and sexy to be sure, but it didn’t feel sexual, if that makes any sense. I was too far gone into the music to pay more than partial attention to my dance partner(s), but I felt a comfortable togetherness in the music, I felt love, i felt like we were sharing the experience. I think it would have become confusing and distracting over an extended period of time, but it was very cool while it lasted.

Every now and then I have a moment when I want to experience that again. When I’m wrapped up in the music and I want to reach out and draw friends close to me, share the energy between us and feel it build, move as one, revel in our strength and beauty. I love that big dance scene in Matrix: Reloaded; I wish I could go to a party like that.

The difference in cultures goes beyond just dancing at clubs. Reading my Madison friends’ journals, it seems like while not everyone’s polyamorous, everyone knows people who are and it’s accepted. (Of course, this could easily be biased by the particularl crowd I happen to know). On the other hand, I was at a party the other night with a bunch of Renn Faire people, SCAers, goths, and assorted freaks, and someone brought up a neighbor they didn’t particularly trust. “He’s one of those polyamorous people” he said, by way of explanation; and everyone in the room rolled their eyes and went “oooohhh”. Some reacted like they’d heard a dirty word.

It’s interesting, the contrast between the cultures. All in all, it seems like people here are a little more conservative – or perhaps too many times burned – when it comes to sex, touching, and relationships.


EDIT:  Another difference just occurred to me – afterbars, which seem to be the site of a lot of the cuddling, play, etc. that I read about, don’t seem nearly as common in Baltimore.  I don’t know if this is true, or just my perception.

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  1. As a rule, at the clubs I’ve been to everyone dances alone.

    That is the same here in the Northeast. I’ve been hitting the clubs since I was a teenager, and only 3 weeks ago, did someone actually ask me to dance, for the first time ever (it was a business associate of mine, but still…it was very flattering!)

    What you’d find interesting here, is that the SCA peeps and the poly crowd in Boston tend to be one in the same.

    1. the SCA peeps and the poly crowd in Boston tend to be one in the same

      See, that’s exactly what I’d come to expect, which is why I was so surprised when I witnessed that conversation the other day.

      1. I don’t know alot about the SCA, but those involved in it here always go to this thing called Pennsic; polyBoston crowd always go to this, Arisia, and Fetish Flea, in that order…the two crowds are one in the same.

  2. Well, dear Avdi, the fetish scene, while ostensibly a goth offshoot, IS its own entity. I kinda prefer just sitting at clubs conversing with friends to much else these days. My knees being badly fucked up has something to do with that. But I don’t see a problem with “sexing” on the dance floor if said “sexing” is consensual/mutual.As for polyamory, it’s a topic/practice/whatever you choose to call it that everyone has a different opinion on. I personally think whatever works for someone works, I am not fit to judge based on anyone’s beliefs or practices. Lord knows I have quirks of my own which seem odd to everyone!
    We should discuss more often 🙂

    1. Yeah… I just wondered if anyone else had noticed the same overall vibe… or if it’s all in my head…

  3. Every now and then I have a moment when I want to experience that again. When I’m wrapped up in the music and I want to reach out and draw friends close to me, share the energy between us and feel it build, move as one, revel in our strength and beauty.

    And then you try doing just that with your wife and rediscover why you don’t do that very often when you and I start bumping heads, or losing balance or … any number of dancefloor foibles.

    1. hey… it’s not my fault you’re tall and… uh… wobbly 😛

      1. LOL!

        Yeah, and it’s not your fauly, I guess, that you do the “herky-jerky” dance.

    2. Oh Piffle…

      I danced with you and we didn’t knock heads once.. and then Avdi cut in and it was all good… 😉

      1. Re: Oh Piffle…

        Isolated incident.

  4. ARG!
    you are trying to flush me out of my LJ silence aren’t you?

    frustrated and can’t reply properly cause breaktime is over….

  5. I’m a big fan of dancing, whether other people are into it or not.

    I don’t dance well, but man I love it.

    1. Yay for dancies!

      I get twitchy if I don’t get to dance periodically…

  6. It is an interesting scene particularly here in Madison…

    I say this because the few times I’ve been to Chicago, it gave me very much of the impression that you are describing in Baltimore… And for that matter, even in “oh-we-are-so-decadent-and-pretentious-that-we-will-not-even-talk-to-you” Los Angeles, when we visited two separate clubs, no one danced together except for and I.. and we got looks from everyone else…

    Perhaps it is more of a big city thing… And that at these places too many people spend too much time trying to be the blase elite cool-ass goth urbanites rather than just having fun…

    A second thought.. you are seeing a bit of a biased sample here in madison.. the people you know.. namely , , me, , and a few of the others here are definitely a subset of the population here.. and we just happen to be the more physically open subset… Believe me, in the past, there were a couple of really nasty flame wars on this topic on a local listserv called “madgoth”… and there is a definite group here that was quite in a tizzy about “all the dry-humping” going on on the dance floor about how that was totally inappropriate in public…blah blah blah…
    but we outlasted them.. (they hardly ever danced anyway…)

    In any case.. I would say that such things–if it is clear what it is really all about–should just be classified as “adult play”… Kids get to play rough.. why can’t we too? 😉

    1. Re: It is an interesting scene particularly here in Madison…

      Yeah, I figured there was a certain amount of sample bias.

      One thing that amuses me is that at this same party I quoted above, a little while later there was a girl lying facedown on the floor, sounding for all the world like she was having mind-blowing sex, while two guys (one after the other) worked on her naked back with blades, tongue, and other things – all while her boyfriend looked on.

      Now I’m the first to realize that BDSM play is very different from fucking and/or having an ongoing relationship with multiple partners; but I just find it funny the things people are comfortable with versus the things they are skeeved out by…

      1. funny…

        I love such odd juxtapositions… Like the fact that a lot of my grad student compatriots are super liberal, consider themselves very open-minded and progressive (and generally are for intellectual topics..), but when it comes to sex–they are quite the prudes.. (not all of them, mind you.. but a significant chunk…)

  7. i am glad i left before the point in the party u described. *has no patience for stupidity and hypocracy*

    i have noticed that the people in the “goth” scene around here don’t dance together. it’s kinda sad, i really like dancing with people. while grinding can be fun, just dancing close with people, specially those i care about, rocks. a few of my female friends are the only ones that seem to have the guts to dance with me. wish more people would.

    1. I’ve love to, sweetie, but I’d bump into you too often. Just ask Rosa, she knows what it’s like to attempt to dance with or at me. heh!

  8. I think most folks are simply trying to avoid the meat market, and in trying to avoid the typical frat penis rubbing and annoying drunkard escapades, they throw the baby out with the bathwater.
    You have to know who it is OK to dance that way with, not just jump in uninvited, you have to know when enough is enough…*play* must be kept light and fun, not constraining and oppressive (unless they want it to be…).

    My guess is that most dance places feature folks that don’t bother to be polite or considerate in choosing folks to dance dirty with, so the easy way out is to simply avoid it at all costs.

    Side note, I was amused that during Mark’s trip to Vegas, the girls they played with (mostly dancing) assumed that they were *far* more interested in them than what they really were, and Mark had to explain that where we come from, we *play* rather freely, and don’t attach much importance to it.

    1. You mean…

      that us conservative midwesterners were more decadent than Vegas girls???
      how’d that happen… 😉

      on a more serious note… I agree with you completely.. I just find it funny that people cannot seem to figure this whole thing out.. I mean.. it’s quite easy to just ask someone if you can dance with them… basic common courtesy…

      1. Re: You mean…

        basic common courtsey…that still exists??? people seem to have utterly forgotten about it.

    2. Actually, I guess they really didn’t “play” at all. Mark was far more flirtateous than they were used to … but he spend the entire weekend without playing at all! (poor Mark)

      1. Maybe I should have hung out with Steve and the strippers more; they would probably have understood “play” to be exactly that. But the locals had better personalities. Damn me for not being shallow; then I could chase the hot, playful types without expecting them to hold down a good conversation over cheese omelets. Damn me doubly for not chasing young girls; then I could chase the cute girls with mohawks and when they claim to be 18, I’ll shut my mouth and pretend to believe in order to keep my conscience clear by not knowing she’s really only 16.

        What’s in Vegas can stay in Vegas for all I care. I like what’s in Madison, better.

  9. having been the Chicago (and suburbs) scenester since i got into it, for us, it’s always been about the music. my particular club experience while still in high school and until “that fateful” twenty-first birthday was rather unique, because we were a bunch of kids “all about the music” who could only get our taste for it at one club out in nowhere… which is why i think we’re the best dancers in Chicago 😉
    but my observation is that there’s generally 3 types of dancers at Chicago clubs:
    1) those trying to lose themselves in the music
    2) those who sort of feel like they should dance, but are really uncomfortable/don’t know how
    3) people who’ve never been to a goth/industrial club before and dance like they’re at a meatmarket 😉

    but couples dancing has never really been “off-limits” here. it’s just hard to do! because we’re trying to dance according to our own style, getting into the music, *with* another person, and it’s hard. and if we resort to booty-style, then we’re obviously not into the music.
    so i’ve danced with others much like another has described, dancing sort of at eachother. and i’ve danced with others much more complimentarily, holding hands and being a bit closer. and others can get away with intimate couples dancing while still being true to their style, but it’s never worked for me. :p

    and about the polyamory, i think it varies from person to person. i’ve got a friend or five with histories of polyamory, and i’ve accepted that in them. but also because of it, i don’t have any positive attitude toward polyamory. and while among the scene, i’ll express my issues with it plainly and straightforwardly, while if i’m with another group of friends i may well roll my eyes when it’s brought up. O:)

    1. “it’s just hard to do! because we’re trying to dance according to our own style, getting into the music, *with* another person, and it’s hard.”

      I tend not to dance dirty for very long, partly because i can’t keep a beat on my own, let alone with another person. I usually wind up losing my balance or getting kneed in the nuts by tall women (glares at Jai). But a big part of it is self-expression….I touch and go, but don’t glom on for that reason.

      “polyamory….i may well roll my eyes when it’s brought up. O:)”

      rolls eyes in Jonathan’s direction :>P

      1. Ah! a teaching lesson…

        plainly and straightforwardly:

        see? 😉
        miss ya *checks* why the heck aren’t you on my friendlist!?
        reciprocate only as you see fit 🙂

  10. I noticed Madison was far more “sexual” than Milwaukee when I first started coming here. Sometimes it bothered me; I liked being able to be pretentious and dance by myself. And sometimes I liked the freedom of being able to be more sexual. I’ve found that I can do both here. If I want to dance alone, I simply let everyone know that, and generally, they can tell whether or not I’m inviting play anyway. And if I want to get down and dirty, I can find plenty of people willing. I don’t like “meat markets” and I hate unwanted advances. However, dancing with my friends on the dance floor can be a lot of fun. The Inferno is far less goth and far less pretentious than most “goth clubs”. Because of that, we’ve lost some of the goth population. I’ve found it very free though… I can dress in dark flowy clothes and be pretentious, or dress in pvc and be sexual, or I can go all graver and play with my lighty toys and it’s all accepted.

  11. Usually I really like dancing by myself, just me an’ the music. I really don’t get the meatmarket dancing. I’m not into strangers rubbing their penis on me. I like that I can go to a goth club almost anywhere and rarely have to worry about being “accosted” on the dance floor. I have limited experience, but I’ve been to a goth club in Austin, here in Madison, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and one in Edinburough. In all cases it was not unusual to dance alone. I think in all cases I’ve seen people dancing together, too. It is far more beautiful when it is about connection than when it is just random bump-and-grind. Bump and grind with connection and flow can be beautiful, but most people doing that aren’t aiming at music and energy; they only have one thing on their mind.

    That said, there are some songs that really make me crave partnership and sharing or contact. When you find someone that you can share the energy of a song with, that you can flow with, whether or not it is/becomes sexual/sexy, is so powerful… The hits are well worth losing a song or two on occasion to misses. Silly can be good as well. Who would we be if we couldn’t laugh at ourselves? Partnership for a song is a fantastic experience. I need to gather my courage and save it up for when I need it to ask and get more of those dances…

    the the SCA/goth/poly crowds: there is much overlap, methinks, because all groups are “ousiders” who tend to be accepting, since they know what it feels like to be rejected. We’re the weird people who live life and explore the options.

  12. ::faintly evil smile::

    Now… oddly enough, since my man was one of the ones with the knives, even I would have rolled my eyes and gone “oooh” whilst acknowledging how *oogy* Poly can sometimes be. Llama and I aren’t poly. BDSM scenes are a seperate entity to us. But I was burned, hardcore, by being poly in the past. So I have my own opinions about it. While they might not seem to mesh with both of us working on thers with knives – it makes sense to me, and to him.

    1. As I acknowledged above, they are different scenes, without any necessary overlap. I realize that BDSM play is an entirely different animal than poly. And your comment confirms my sense at the time: that the reaction was more a result of bad experiences than of thinking it *wierd*.

      Nonetheless… I think I felt a teeny bit like the recently self-admitted gay guy at a party when someone brings up “those gays” and everyone rolls their eyes knowingly. I felt painted with a broad brush, and discouraged from being open about it, and maybe even a little ashamed of being something these cool people obviously found distasteful.

      Personally, I think if a guy’s a sleeze he should be called a sleeze. Polyamorists are no more necessarily philandering cheats than homosexuals are necessarily pedophiles (or dom/mes are necessarily abusive).

      I don’t mean to demean your history with poly. Clearly you have more experience with it than me, and I’m very sorry you were hurt by it.

      I just feel a little disheartened to find that something I identify with has such negative associations in the only crowd that I had hoped might be accepting of it.

  13. Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control~Playful Dance in a 3rd City

    For anyone scrolling down still to the, is it 31st comment here ? I know of a club night, where, as far as I can remember in my experience, definitely has a dance ‘mood’ which is friendlier for those who like to ‘dance friendly’ . . . although, it does require stepping slightly out of the usual music taste of many who are posting on this comment as far as I can estimate. The music does include some goth, but it is not primarily goth, it is more good old fashioned sleazy rock & roll; their website describes the music as ‘rock & roll, punk, & glam’ . . . I go there rarely because it is in Philly and I dislike the 75 minute drive to Philly and I love the 75 minute drive to Baltimore. Also, it is on Sunday night, and I do like Sunday night at Sonar in Baltimore. But just for the common knowledge of anyone possibly interested, Fast, Cheap, & Out of Control is a definitely fun night and worth the long drive once in a while in my opinion, it is at club Fluid at 613 S. 4th street in Philly, 1/2 block south of South Street. And it is fast, cheap, and does get out of control now and then, in a friendly way. I also like their self~descriptive blurb, which has been true in my visits: ‘Fast Cheap and Out of Control is a family of freaks and perverts like yourself. We work hard to provide kick-ass music, scandalous entertainment, and an outlet for all of your pent up desires! We are committed to making Fast Cheap a loyal family of ner-do-wells bound by a love for alcohol, an acceptance of others, and the need to be dirty’ . . . and lastly, at this weekly event some nudity both among staff and attendees does happen, so don’t make the long trip and say you weren’t warned 😉

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