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Notes for a
'talk-shop' hosted by Jim Stewart



Public discussion of erotic preferences depends on
who is there, and what questions are asked.

At events like the annual LIVING IN LEATHER weekend, men and women talk about leather. At DRESSING FOR PLEASURE a wider range of fetish alternatives feed the fantasies.
Heterosexual couples at EULENSPEIGEL monthly meetings
focus on issues different from those raised by SMGAYs in London and the Gay Men's SM Association (GMSMA) in New York.

On each occasion when I have hosted a session about
getting fantasies into sharper focus,
the following notes were used to prompt the questions.



Advance publicity has been the same for each event:

How to make your wildest erotic fantasies more potent in the privacy of your imagination?
Would you really want to turn a favourite dream into a 'reality'?
Explore practical ideas for getting fantasies into sharper focus?
Get better at communicating your specific preferences to other people.
Compare notes on your successes, failures, frustrations and dreams with other dreamers/players.

Open up new horizons for yourself and other people
in a lively brainstorming discussion session.

Opening remarks emphasise that this will be a discussion and not a lecture.

It will be steered in directions you, the audience, take it by asking questions.

Essential first point to make is the distinction between a fantasy and an objective.
= limitless flights of fancy uninhibited by practicalities ... whereas
Objectives are dreams which you might turn into some sort of 'reality'?


A quick run-down of a possible agenda ...
Introduce a list of basic topics to explore and expand on:

  1. When fantasising - how broad is your spectrum of alternatives?
    Too broad a canvas in a fantasy = diffused imagery = lack of focus.
  2. Are you thinking solo or shared pleasures? If shared, what practical options are open to you?
  3. Precise terminology and levels of communication skills - will be a main discussion point.
  4. Icons - clichés - stereotypes = how we use them, how we view them.
  5. Audio-video support of private or shared fantasies?
    Explore possibilities offered by photos, video (home made or bought in), storyboards & game-plans -
    Desk-top produced visual support + internet + future interactive technologies.
    Promise discussion of various alternatives
  6. Role playing - scene playing - simulation.
    All degrees of 'theatre' = plan to discuss different levels of intensity.

  7. Knowing your own mind = what preferred ingredients = specifics. Above all - focus.
  8. Get closer to = make more tangible = make more potent whether imagined or as simulated reality.

Any of the above topics can contribute to making a fantasy more rewarding.
According to the balance of the group in terms of sexual preference and experience, the order in which items on this list are discussed (and for how long) will depend on response to the first few questions.

Extended Session Notes resulting from running similar sessions on three separate occasions might at some point be published. But, for the moment, because each session develops according to who is present, here is more information on different 'headings':

Any group of people who get together to discuss their sexual preferences is already identified to some extent. The circumstances of the meeting are known to all present, so the general expectations of the group should be easy to define further.
A quick 'one line' answer invited from individual participants, one by one around the room = favourite turn-on and your biggest turn-off? If individuals take this risk and answer, the ice is usually broken and the general balance of the group has become clearer.

The next point to make is that putting ideas into words can be valuable to speaker as well as listeners. Freedom to express a perhaps outlandish opinion or desire without fear of instant challenge is something the group should be asked to encourage.
The next quick round-the-group question = Individual expectations of the 'meeting'?
Expressed these responses (encouraged to be brief and succinct) will probably decide where most time should be spent.
Another quick-answer challenge to selected individuals = Your sexual orientation or preference?

Then invite a show of hands from entire group in answer to rapidly asked series of four pairs of questions.

Do you currently have partner? ... or are you unconnected?
Exclusively 'straight'? ... or exclusively 'Gay' at present?
Bi or mixed group activities imagined ... Bi or mixed group activities experienced?
Who is open to sexual experiment if circumstances were right?

Each is now recapped, one by one.
This usually allows for a quick expansion on the potential of each category.
The order in which they're introduced depends on responses so far.

This distinction is the first essential - so explore pure fantasy first.
Enjoying the impossible without risk or responsibility is good - but ...
Is there a danger in getting turned-on by dangerous or non-consensual fantasies?
Keep discussion on fantasy rather than objective for the moment.
Allow time to explore different topics under this heading - build a list to aid future sessions.
Promise to discuss ways of strengthening focus later = after ...

Solo or shared fantasy?
Solo = privacy - safety - lack of conflict or compromise
If shared - by what means in what medium?
Is mutal agreement necessary - or are exchanges of opinion about alternatives stimulating?
Is talking an alternative to doing - or preparation before shared action?
Is talking in same space or separated? = chat-room/e-message/web cam/phone/face-to-face
utual masturbation = ditto same space or long distance
Writing rather than talking?
Group talk?
Whether one-to-one or group, talking or writing - this leads to the all-important topic of ...

Communication skills.
Precise terminology, vocabulary for subtle distinctions re preferences.
Clarity for others comes from clarity re own preferences - or knowing areas to explore.
All the avove are essential to exchanges which lead to turning fantasy into shared experience.
Being specific in your own mind is essential before you can share a fantasies or even
discuss possibilities for turning a fantasy into some sort of achievement
Avoiding generalisation words such as bondage, sadist, masochist, top, bottom, slave, punishment.
Suggest and ask for sub-categories for each of the above.

This topic covers a lot of ground, and group discussion usually stays with the difficulties in finding compatible play-partners. Emphasise - Know what you want; be able to describe it precisely; be willing to compromise to achieve mutual satisfaction rather than expecting someone to fit in with your fantasy when it may not be theirs.
Reciprocation does not necessarily mean return like-with-like = repay to same value.
"You scratch my back - I'll whip yours".
Learning to like doing what turns somebody else on - widens horizons.

Icons - clichés - stereotypes.
Conventional visual image categories can be useful as a starting point, but ...
Can be limiting - devoid of personality = the gear rather than the wearer as turn-on.
Developing the imagination - careful focus on activity or outcome helps to support for your own ...
"Theatre of the Mind's Eye"
Getting closer to this enjoying this to the full demands something only briefly touched on so far ...

Knowing your own mind
No need to limit your fantasies - but determinedly clear thinking produces sharper images.
Having a wide range of interests is good - recognise your own likes/dislikes AND maybe's.
Limit per session the range of alternative pleasures/enthusiasm/iconography you include.
Too much mental diversity at one time = blurred imagery / grey areas rather than clear scenarios.
Blanket categories such as leather/latex/prisoner are dangerously abstract.
Well defined details are what bring any mental picture alive. Describing it can be a turn-on in itself.
Choose ingredients = choose support mechanisms.

Audio-video & techno support.
Text and pictures offer a vast range of alternatives whether in private or shared fantasies.
Video clips and web-cams, chat rooms and e-mails ... phone-calls ... web sites =
Vast range of stimulating alternatives - danger of mental overload?
Open the meeting to start this discussion - focus on points raised rather than offer too many opinions.
Bring discussion back to a tricky topic ...

Role play
A misunderstood term - means being who you want to be - mentally at least.
Pretending for the benefit of somebody else - easier if no meeting is planned.
Discuss difference between intentional deception via Internet include false photo ... and
Supporting someone else's fantasy long distance
Personality-readjustment rather than "play-acting".
Dangerous to think of fetish/iconic gear as costume. Wear it rather than let it wear you.
Shedding a personality rather than assuming one helps =
Very liberating to escape from yourself temporarily can rewarding rather.
Lot's more to add about shared scene playing - chose your own level of intensity.

cenario building
This connects with the Role Play discussion - and can also generate lengthy debate.
Theatre of the Mind's Eye and personal story/situation building is such a broad topic +
Recommend exploring it separately on the Houdini-connections web site.
Give a brief run-down of various related pages (listed below) before moving on to

Mentally generating and sustaining a personal jerk-off sequence is the main focus of this discussion - particularly using the technology discussed under Audio-video support.
Quick round-up of different ways photos, videos, scanners, PCs and other media can be used.
Much depends on mind-set, resources and needs of the individual.
Refer to 'Visualisation' workshop notes on this site - and combine them.

Simulated 'reality'?
Whether solo or shared, this choice usually means that compromises must be made.
Generating a mental fantasy can provide hours of comfortable stimulation via wishful-thinking, one-handed reading or at the computer. Turning it into any sort of simulation of reality can be time-consuming, frustrating and prone to disappointment.

However, hours of focussed thinking, fantasising and choosing from available alternatives can be enjoyed even before starting the actual process of planning towards making something happen.
Many game-planning themes and Role play alternatives are discussed in texts I have written which describe fantasies achieved. Objectives must be realistic - and getting even close to achieving them may be beyond the capabilities of most people with busy lives, family obligations and limited budget.

End by leaving the door open to this topic - but reassure that many hours of highly stimulating enjoyment can be gained from making mental fantasies more strongly focused in your own mind - and then concentrating effort on finding somebody to share them with at a distance if not closer at hand.

Expanded notes taken during different 'GET CLOSER TO YOUR FANTASIES 'talk-shops'
would fill a book. Until I get around to it -
site visitor's feedback to the notes
above will be welcomed - and responded to.


List related Houdini-connections web pages
Story Building
Scenario for a Leather Fantasy

Storyboards and Storylines

Confessions from Suburbia

ADD MORE (May 2008)

Compare with VISUALISATION workshop notes