Review: “Anatomy of a Play Scene” by Eric Pride

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Review of presentation: “Anatomy of a Play Scene” by Eric Pride (DomSubFriends at Paddles NYC, 21 Feb 2013).

I had always believed that playing with a brilliantly competent stranger couldn’t be as good as playing with a loved one. But Friday’s class shook that belief.

You see, I thought it would be impossible to go from “Wow, you’re nice but I don’t know if I can do this” to “Your laughter shifts my world”. But if there was one theme of this class, it was taking the sub from point X to point Y so gently and unerringly that the sub doesn’t know she’s moved. (Male dom and female sub pronouns in this review, as in the presentation.)

I was also struck by the 2-in-1-ness of his technique. Getting the sub to relax and be invaded at the same time. Praise and humiliation in the same breath. The reassurance of the question “How are you feeling?” paired with dead neutral intonation.

That goes with the other theme of the evening: contrast. Tiny things like stopping the sensation for just long enough to intensify its return, creating emptiness to be filled by longing for connection, control, dependence. Or the most shocking moment of the night, when we were caught up in the stream of masterly seduction, and out of nowhere he knocked her sideways, and the BAM! of kneecaps hitting the floor hard was followed by endless seconds of grappling before the surrender.

Eric Pride used the words ‘dialectical forces’ to describe this manoeuvre. He made the point very clearly that there is power in flipping over suddenly to a side of your personality that people don’t usually see.

Something he mentioned, but didn’t really explain, was how you read the sub’s reactions so you know whether to push, knock down, or pull back. I guess that’s a topic for another day. But people did ask how to recognise negative signals and what to do, and his answers weren’t really answers. Instead, he talked about the importance of pre-scene fact-finding. Either prevention and instinct works so well for him that he’s never had to figure this out – or, more likely, his mindset is so purely practical that it’s hard for him not to think in terms of preventing the problem in the first place.

All in all, amazing class. It was clearly aimed at doms, but it’s nice for subs to know what is possible. If you want to keep an eye on talks in New York City, the following will be useful:

Edit: I left out the most important thing Eric Pride said: “I never forget that I’m playing with a person.” He constantly returned to the sub to re-establish connection, especially when transitioning between activities. He made it impossible to feel like an alienated body. That alone probably goes a long way towards preventing bad scenes.

What do you think?