Love Me Harder
This year, office has decided to celebrate V-Day with friends, partners and members of the kink community, Lua Saturni and Dem0nette. Together, they reminisce about the first time they met, and talk about everything from love languages to BDSM as a learning tool. If we got anything from the conversation and accompanying images by LA photogragher Alexandra Kacha, it's that there's nothing hotter than communication—that, and we got a little turned on.
Peep the conversation and photos, below.
Lua Saturni: Starting with how we met—my memory is a little bit hazy but I know that we briefly went to high school together until I got kicked out for cussing out the principal, because he sucked. But after that—and during that a little bit—we were definitely part of the same party scene for awhile.
Dem0nette: My first memory of you, actually, was at a Starbucks.
Lua Saturni: That’s my first memory of you, too.
Dem0nette: So, that’s a good starting place, because everything before that, we were pretty much headless chickens, or focused on other things. But regarding how we met, it was at a Starbucks through a mutual friend at the time.
Lua Saturni: Acquaintance is the word I will use. He was a colorful character who really enjoyed, I guess, flexing socially, specifically by name-dropping and show-ponying his friends to other friends to somehow lift himself up in quality a little bit. But luckily, not all of the connections I made through him were bad. In fact, most of them I would say were good as a result of his show-ponying all of us quality people around. But we met at Starbucks and talked about I guess whatever teenagers talk about at the time—you know stuff we liked to listen to, ways you enjoyed bonding and relaxing with people, or getting intimate with them—not necessarily physically, but you know, through drugs. We talked about drugs a lot.
Dem0nette: But one of the most striking things about you was, and still to this day, your appearance—I feel like that’s always been a very important quality, as shallow as that sounds. But mostly because, not for me selfishly to be attracted to you by chance or by any means, but more so because a lot of your professions were very focused on how you look. And also—I don’t know if you had your tattoos—but your 'trust issues' tattoo back then.
Lua Saturni: I don’t think I had any tattoos at that point yet. I waited like a person is supposed to, and got my first one when I was 18. God, I remember meeting you and thinking, ‘I fucking hate that dude, but she is really cool.’ I wanted to hang out with you more, for sure.
Dem0nette: That was the first time we physically met. But as far as when we started interacting, it took a much longer time for us to get the wheels turning, I think because our lives were in different places, although we were moving around similar circles. Especially with being involved in different communities and having different hobbies, there was a lot of overlap in the giant umbrella of hobbies, such as fire performance and performance in general, and kink.
Lua Saturni: Our mutual interests definitely overlapped. But it felt like we would always just barely miss each other. We met again, briefly, through work, funny enough. But only by location. And then another time at a kink event. It was like a play party performance. One of the girls dancing was like ‘Hey, want to come do this thing with us?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah sure, that sounds great!’
Dem0nette: I know you were there to perform in a dancing capacity, and I was there to perform on a rope. But my rope top at the time really enjoyed the attention being good at rope brought him. We went in and performed together, and then he fucked off and did other shit because there was a lot of focus on everybody else. But that gave us a good opportunity to finally make out on the floor. I remember you tasting like cigarettes that night.
Lua Saturni: You kissed really nice.
Dem0nette: Thanks, you too! Then we kind of disappeared out of each other’s lives for a hot minute before meeting up through the same party scene and entering a more dedicated, long term relationship with each other. Our lives just finally just crashed together and we decided like, you want to get kinky? Cool! You want to set stuff on fire? Also cool!
Lua Saturni: You want to sit on the couch and do nothing but whippits? Great! But then we started hanging out more intimately, like visiting each other’s homes and such. But that went out for a really long time—almost ten years.
Lua Saturni: This is kind of awkward to ask, but what’s your favorite thing about me?
Dem0nette: My favorite thing about you would be—it’s hard to limit it to just one! But one of them, at least, would be your level of insight and ability to keep your objective and level-headed point of view in situations or [talking about] topics that would be very easy to get really emotionally charged about. And your ability to navigate fine lines very well. I think you’re good at nuance, in general, like how much distance to keep between you and another person based on how little you do or don’t know about them—your ability to feel things out as you go without being too quick to knee-jerk react to something based on someone else’s experience or emotionally-charged account of something.
Another thing I really admire about you and really look up to you for is your ability to stay productive and manage yourself. I feel like especially outside of the context or environment of school or external forces holding people accountable, for example people finding meaning in their jobs or finding comfort in routine and they kind of mindlessly go about the shit that they do, but with your lifestyle and your profession, as well, how closely they blend and how you don’t really have a set schedule—you make your own because literally the world is your oyster, there’s always events going on, there’s always really anyone you choose to connect with. I admire your decision-making skills, because a lot of people might find it overwhelming or immobilizing. You see it with people having too many options all the time—they don’t know which one to choose so they end up not choosing anything. But somehow you make it all work and it’s really cool to watch.
Lua Saturni: I’d have to say my favorite thing about you—or one of my favorite things for sure, because there are several and it’s difficult to narrow people you love and care about into a couple characteristics—but the way that you adapt to things. Like, the things you’ve told me about within your life and your environments and the people around you, it’s very interesting and really fucking cool to just see how over the years you’ve adapted to become more and more your ideal version of yourself, if that makes sense. While coming from environments that might have been almost hostile to your desires to be more independent with your modifications and things like that. A lot of people do not take the time to really sit down and analyze that and they don’t really have the courage to go through with it either, because it’s easier to just go with what you know and what has already been taught to you. So, I think that’s something I really admire about you—that you know who you want to be. You sit down and write about it, and really analyze the steps you want to take to do the things you want to do in your life. Most people turn that into school or finance or marriage, but you take those opportunities and make it something more about what you want to do for yourself.
Dem0nette: Another thing I really like about you is that you’re really nurturing but without being empathic—not that empathy is a bad quality but it can, depending on what type of mix the quality of empathy is thrown into, it can cause a lot of pain or codependence for the factors or parties involved. And I find that you have a really good balance of firm and nurturing. They’re almost like motherly qualities. You’re definitely not motherly, but—
Lua Saturni: I appreciate that because I’ve never considered motherhood an option, either, so that’s refreshing to hear. Not that I think that being me, or being a woman, is based on motherhood, obviously, because it’s never been something I considered or wanted for myself.
Dem0nette: What attracts you to someone? Not speaking purely physically, but that’s also something to consider.
Lua Saturni: For me, what attracts me to somebody is usually—I mean, outside appearance definitely helps—but I found that striving to find someone with an appearance that I feel like matches my aesthetic or that is closer in line with mine, they tend to be assholes, really. So, I don’t do it often—physicality or physical beauty are not really something that I am too keen on looking for. It helps but it’s not integral to my attraction to somebody.
Dem0nette: I feel like it speaks to someone’s similar taste, though. Just not necessarily their personality.
Lua Saturni: At the end of the day, though, similar tastes don’t carry a relationship. And that’s something I definitely had to learn the hard way. For sure. Especially with dudes and men—alternative men are the worst! That’s a generalization, I’m sorry, but it’s kind of true. How about you?
Dem0nette: For me, personally, I’m kind of in the same boat where physical appearance is, of course, the first thing you might notice about someone.
Lua Saturni: Right. That’s what draws you to someone initially.
Dem0nette: Exactly—that’s the attention grabbing aspect of it. You see something shiny from across the room and now you’re fixated on it—what’s it going to do next? But here’s the thing—some people are pretty, but very forgettable. So, I think it sounds real ‘woo-woo,’ but mostly an energy and especially watching their interactions, and how they treat other people and things, is really important to me, and will either increase or decrease my attraction level to them. It’s important that someone I’m interested in gives a fuck about something. There’s got to be some type of—maybe drive is too strong of a word—but ambition, for sure. Intentions are also very important to me. Not just intentions towards me, but intentions towards things they do, which is where the attention comes in. And consideration, as well—it’s very telling of who they are as a person and how they’re going to treat people in the future and how they’re going to treat you. Also, confidence, without any big headedness, or cockiness, or an over-inflated ego is helpful, too.
Lua Saturni: Definitely. Also, confidence without being self-deprecating, as well. People have confidence in things they know they can do well, but they require validation—that’s something that I don’t find attractive. I understand validation and I agree that people should have it, but if you seek it from me too often for something that we both know you’re obviously good at, it seems a little contrived. I can understand everyone’s ego needing stroking every now and then, but your ego is a defense mechanism, so you don’t just crumble and fall into a pit of despair.
Dem0nette: What about consistency?
Lua Saturni: Yeah! And something that definitely attracts me is talent.
Dem0nette: Talent? What about laziness?
Lua Saturni: Laziness, no. Well, it depends on what you’re trying to do with that talent. I don’t feel like talent needs to become financially viable or needs to become monetized or a source of income for you to be good at it.
Dem0nette: Right, because that’s validation seeking too.
Lua Saturni: Yeah, it’s a validation system that you need to survive sometimes, but if you start needing something emotionally from it, then that dependence sucks. But talent really is a big one for me—I would definitely date someone that has more talent than looks. And sex—or sexual chemistry—is definitely important.
Dem0nette: Yeah, same.
Lua Saturni: It could be long distance—the quantity does not override the quality for me.
Dem0nette: Yeah. Another quality that really attracts me to a person would be patience. Not just in the obvious things that require patience, like dealing with someone who’s an asshole, but patience in being at ease and confident in that you’ll get to where you’re going, and you know where that is. Confidence in personal growth and taking your time.
Lua Saturni: That’s a much better way of putting what I was saying that I really love about you. I really, really admire your confidence in your personal and self-growth. I guess one of the easiest examples of this confidence and patience I’m talking about is with sex in general. Sometime you’ll have people who are really impatient to put it in. Like, ‘Are you gonna cum yet?’ Calm down!
Dem0nette: And not if you’re going to ask!
Lua Saturni: Yeah, now I’m thinking about something different and now I’m frustrated.
Dem0nette: And now there’s pressure—just let it happen naturally.
Lua Saturni: Okay, so let’s talk likes and dislikes within the confines of BDSM. I don’t like people to think they are incapable of learning from other people. Maybe you didn’t necessarily have the outcome you expected with a person, but I feel that’s still a learning opportunity. But some people don’t see it that way. And I don’t think that’s a very good quality within BDSM. What about you?
Dem0nette: What I like are the different aspects of myself I explore in BDSM, and I find that the labels are more so a tool for you to explore different roles for yourself. That’s not to say I don’t believe someone is truly a domme, or truly a sub—I truly believe those people exist or maybe they’re comfortable there—but I enjoy pushing myself a little bit more. So, I like BDSM as a way for me to do that in a safe and preferably sane and consensual way. Even as a sub I like the freedom to explore new things and my complete control, because all you have to do in an ideal situation is say ‘no’ to opt out. Know your safe word and set up all the checks-and-balances for yourself, to know how it’s working out for you. But it’s a testament to the trust that exists between myself and whoever happens to be topping me to be a receptacle for experience. It gives me an opportunity to still be in process.
I find that I treat subbing especially, very similarly to mediation—I feel like a conduit of sorts. And it’s a good opportunity to practice communication skills, depending on what you’re bottoming for, especially. At the same time, being lazy because you’re just experiencing, depending on what type of scene it is—I very much enjoy originality and creativity from tops.
Lua Saturni: There’s a lot of responsibility there.
Dem0nette: Yeah, there’s lots of responsibility in that, and we’ve seen a lot of things. There’s not a whole lot that’s like ‘Oh, that’s new!’ So, when somebody finally does pull out something that’s new, it’s usually pretty good—or really terrible. But that doesn’t happen to me very much. I always like seeing these reframed in a new perspective or context for myself. But domming for sure requires more responsibility. How do you feel about high protocol?
Lua Saturni: I enjoy it within the confines of the scene itself, or at an event. A lot of people probably engage in it privately, but I enjoy using it to get off in social situations.
Dem0nette: I don’t have too much personal experience but I would consider it a fantasy of mine to explore more high-protocol dinner parties. Especially as a way to learn etiquette. Again, you see I’m turning it into a learning opportunity of sorts. Learning is boring through a textbook, so let me make it physical and fun. For me, BDSM becomes very autodidactic, which is nice and the easiest way to learn stuff—through yourself and your experiences, and through the experiences of the people you love and trust around you.
Another like of mine is that BDSM is a release of sorts—it gives you a reason to cry, for example. You have your buttons pushed just the right way during a humiliation scene, or you are hit so hard you can’t handle it. It’s the right combination of things, and a good release, and a great way to get to know somebody. As far as dislikes go, especially when you’re getting to know somebody through BDSM, the parts of you they see during a scene, while to you might be exclusively your version of yourself in that scene, they may misconstrue it for something else. And it may carry on into more places in your life. But that depends on all parties to communicate and ask the right questions without making assumptions.
Lua Saturni: I feel like that’s also on the other person’s shoulders to compartmentalize that better.
Dem0nette: But what happens in a scene often, unless you’re in a 24/7 dynamic which I don’t engage in and I know you don’t either, it can muddy the waters and cause issues. That’s been my experience, anyway
Lua Saturni: I agree, I’m definitely too multifaceted to be stuck in one position or dynamic all the time. What do you not like about BDSM? I don’t like how much it’s being co-opted into mainstream fashion right now. But that’s more of a mild annoyance—tourists, I guess. But more dysfunctional tourists.
Dem0nette: As somebody who knows a little bit about rope, being on a good portion of the bondage side of it, elastic lingerie in the bondage-strappy styles that’s really popular right now, it’s not going to look like the photos all the time. The tension is really tight, and if it’s off, it’s going to slip wherever the fuck it wants to slip on the body. And you need space to keep those good, so it’s more partial to people of privileged stance. So, there are really a lot of socioeconomic dynamics that I also attach to my issues with modern, shitty, elastic lingerie.
Lua Saturni: How do you feel about more latex being used in mainstream fashion?
Dem0nette: Well, if you look at how fashion in general is being treated, nothing is made to last more than a year over season. Everything is made in shitty quality and the seams are barely there, under the pretense that it’s boho-hippy-dippy. Just look at Free People. Shit’s falling apart off the racks and yet people pay a lot of money for it because it’s in a mall and that’s the aesthetic.
Lua Saturni: So, talking about power dynamics in everyday relationships and power dynamics in BDSM relationships—there’s definitely a mutual respect and trust that has to cross all of those borders for them to work. But the power dynamics in a relationship depends on if you live with the person or people. I’ve been in relationships with people that the BDSM dynamic overshadowed the vanilla relationship and everyday life aspects of it. I found that to be tedious because I like a partner or a domme, not a parent or a probation officer. It’s important to distinguish between the two and negotiate terms beforehand if that’s what you’re seeking to engage in. Writing things down helps, but I don’t think contracts are necessary, unless that’s part of your bureaucratic kink. Writing helps for accountability.
Dem0nette: I will wholeheartedly confess I prefer not having to separate or compartmentalize too much, in regards to romantic relations or people I’m trusting enough to practice BDSM with. Often there’s a very large overlap. It think it’s a luxury to be able to show all of your facets to someone you like or love, because that gives them a more holistic understanding of you as a person. I think that’s beneficial to any dynamic—understanding and acceptance. I like to really solidify and base all of mine on a healthy foundation of trust and balance between the two dichotomies that are top and bottom, or domme and sub. I think those are two complete opposites, which is why I don’t identify too strongly with any one label—my preference is to be more fluid and adaptable.
Lua Saturni: Personally, I do need BDSM to be at least somewhat of an aspect of my relationship. Do you feel that way? Would you be happy with a partner that was entirely vanilla?
Dem0nette: I guess I would be happy. I wouldn’t impose that need on them, but I would find a platonic play partner or another partner that wants to be kinky instead.
Lua Saturni: That’s one of the cool things about being kinky in BDSM—in having vanilla partners I’ve been met with a lot of understanding for having to go outside of the relationship.
Dem0nette: Sex doesn’t always have to be involved.
Lua Saturni: Yeah, it can be something that you can seek platonically, even if you’re getting off, you’re not really having sex.
Dem0nette: Yeah, it’s a release. As far as needing BDSM, that depends on my appetite in the moment. But the one thing I am is primal. You’ve got your paws, your hands, your claws, your teeth—make use of your body.
Lua Saturni: What about love languages? For people not familiar with the concept, the idea of love language is how you show your affection and care for somebody, and it’s not always physical. You introduced me to the idea of alternative love languages beyond touch and gift-giving. It made me realize one of my love languages is acts of service, like domestic service or food.
Dem0nette: What’s your preferred love language to receive?
Lua Saturni: I’m getting more and more enamored with receiving physical and public displays of affection, because that was not a thing in my life for a really long time. Also speaking in words—communication. 24/7 communication is ridiculous to expect from someone. Also, sharing of knowledge and interest, like you showing me a book or movie you like.
Dem0nette: Having been polyamorous for my entire dating career, something I just realized in the past five years is people have different needs, which seems like a no-brainer but put into practice it’s very different. I’ve had to be flexible in that aspect of my life, so my preference of love languages changes—your needs as a human just changes naturally over time. But currently, my preferred giving and receiving love language would be spending quality time.
Lua Saturni: I think your capacity to do that is very mercurial in nature, malleable and subject to change, which is really cool, and not something I’ve seen any one else handle with as little fall back.
Dem0nette: A lot of times people think getting to know someone, self included, is a one-and-done situation, but it’s not. I think we’re very lucky to be able to communicate like we do—it really sucks to try and communicate when you’re frustrated and don’t have the right words. You also don’t want that unhealthy back and forth of the extremes, where you’re angry in the heat of the moment and sweep it all under the rug later. I don’t think that’s ever sustainable. But yeah, that’s my take on love languages—I think it’s a really cool concept. It’s like taking a quiz online to see what mythical creature you are.
Lua Saturni: To me, the introduction of love languages was revolutionary with how I interact with people and how they interact with me. I think the lightest bit of that could really change some people’s approaches and relationships.