If you’re curious about getting tied up, being paddled, or any other ways to express your sexuality beyond what’s considered vanilla, even in this day and age there are limited resources available to learn. There are some great books out there, but that’s quite a time commitment and deep dive to satisfy an initial interest. You can certainly watch relevant pornography, but that may feed something other than a desire to learn how-to.
What sort of resources exist out there for a quick fix in learning the basics about kink?
Enter Pup Bolt and Pup Amp, also known as Cass Bolton and Tyler Rush, Seattle-area kinksters, go-go dancers, porn stars, and hot, cosplaying nerds, with their YouTube show Watts the Safeword. They started their kink-positive education show in May of this year and now have over 3,000 subscribers tuning in to learn, laugh at their antics, and gaze at their good looks (which makes the education part go down easier).
You can learn more about Pup Amp here, but, for this piece, I chatted with Pup Bolt about his life, work, and his efforts in educating the future kinksters of the world.
Bolt’s initial kink education, unsurprisingly, came from pornography.
“Although porn may seem like the opposite of a teacher,” he explained, “I actually find a lot of inspiration in watching kinky videos. I find it more true to form, as opposed to vanilla porn, which generally has a bunch of grunts and groans with positions unobtainable to the average human.”
Of course, there’s nothing like learning by doing.
“Within the community,” Bolt agreed, “there are a lot of resources in people, and I feel that is maybe one of the best way to learn and get involved, other than Watts the Safeword, of course. If someone literally walks you through the ropes, that is the best way to learn a kink. A bunch of illustrations in a book and a video on a two-dimensional screen can only illustrate a point so far. Tactile feedback and human interaction is the way to go.”
While porn may have helped Bolt find himself in the kink community, he can trace his interest in kink all the way back to his time in the Boy Scouts.
“As far back as I can remember,” he admitted, “I was pretty obsessed with rope and, well, large things. I was in the Boy Scouts and rope was always a fun thing to play around with, and to best my troop mates with a fancier knot than what they had tied. It only really made an impression sexually on me when I stumbled across an old Kink.com video with some guy getting tied up and having such terrible things done to him. My Boy Scout ropes had clicked, but in a completely different direction than intended.”
Having had a bit of a non-traditional kink education, I asked what inspired Bolt to create Watts the Safeword.
“Amp and I were watching some YouTube,” he explained, “enjoying the personalities and banter that most stars on the site seem to have. The conversation naturally flowed into: We have that kind of chemistry, right? We’re funny, right?”
That initially turned into a gaming channel, tying into Bolt and Amp’s nerdy interests.
“We did things like getting completely sloshed while playing Games like Super Meat Boy to the sound of a bottle of super Sweet Tea Vodka. Obviously, we weren’t going to make it anywhere while getting incoherently drunk playing games, so we let a crippled creature die gracefully.”
“Now,” he added, “a year or so later, when we’re both more involved in kink culture and the Seattle leather scene, we schemed up the idea of putting our wit back into YouTube in the form of educational kink content, and thus formed Watts!”
I wondered what their specific goals with Watts the Safeword were.
“I think the goal we had in mind was to really push the idea of who can be interested in kink and fetish,” he explained. “50 Shades of Grey, although a poor example of kink, made that type of play accessible to a wider audience. We wanted to do the same, and find that same appeal.”
“I think kink is something that, no matter how weird and afraid you may be of it, is worth giving a shot to play around with, to investigate,” he added. “It has a very colorful history and I don’t think it’s talked about enough. We want to bring that to a wider and attentive audience in the most interesting way possible. Usually involving bad puns.”
Speaking of bad puns, I wanted to ask about the natural chemistry between Bolt and Amp. Bolt always seems to have a goofy one-liner, while Amp tends to play the “straight man” in their comedy.
“That is pretty much how we are,” Bolt confirmed. “Amp can still play up a joke with a straight face better than anyone I know, and I love him for that. The dynamic we put on when the camera is rolling is us 100%. We vibe off each other in pretty weird ways sometimes.”
“For example, Amp knows me well enough that he can write a joke about my eternal hunger,” he explained, “and it will play off exactly how we want. He will just naturally play off my awkwardness and make it work. I guess you could say that is intentional because we know our strengths. It works well when presenting education in a comedic way, and to play with it and play it up helps makes us interesting to watch!”
I wondered how much of their comedy was scripted and how much was off-the-cuff.
“My reactions are almost always improvised,” he admitted. “The safe word is always improvised and whatever comes out there, we live with it. There are a couple of jokes that Amp may point to, but I do feel we know each other well enough to not just say the other’s joke, but put our own spin on it. It honestly depends on the content. We have to get our history right, but past that, a lot of it is just quick notes and cues. We aren’t historians or professionals. We are just good at being ridiculous.”
Porn was a way for me to live out some kinky fantasies, and to push myself past what I had already experience in, in some cases so much farther than I was comfortable with at the time.”
Despite their ridiculous chemistry, Bolt and Amp are not boyfriends. Many people assume they are, though, because they are so closely associated and such good friends. People’s assumptions became so prevalent that they actually had to do a special Watts the Safeword just to set the record straight.
“We actually met on Grindr,” he explained, “through Amp’s ex, who I had been messaging for a while. Through him, I was introduced to his boyfriend Amp, who was like a six-pack abs, nerd god. Of course he’d hate me if I didn’t say he still was. I swooned a little. I got Amp’s number as fast as I could and we just kind of hit it off.”
“Our first date,” he continues, “was watching the movie Butter, some garbage Jennifer Garner movie. I won’t say the rest is history because we honestly had different ideals of a relationship and of sex. We defaulted to fast friends because of how much nerd and geek culture we had in common.”
One thing I found impressive about Watts the Safeword is that they actively respond to comments. I found very few comments that went unanswered. Don’t Read The Comments can be a mantra for those looking to avoid negativity on social media, so I asked about their responsiveness.
“We want to build a community and have people feel like they have their voices heard within our content,” Bolt indicated. “So actively responding is important. Being as transparent about our lives as we are, I hope that we make others have a more comfortable space to talk about what gets their blood moving.”
“The reaction that we are getting is a slow build right now,” he added. “Our channel is still small. The fans that are consistently there are active and make themselves known, and we love it. And when a fan adds to the conversation, I always feel that it’s merited and an extension of the channel’s vision. We can’t always have all the information and I think we make it pretty obvious that we don’t. We take that as a learning opportunity. We’ll take a comment on not being specific enough and run with it, and a month or so later, we have a new episode on said topic.”
What about the flamers and trolls, though?
“I honestly don’t remember a ton of negative feedback,” he claimed, “other than me being too soft-spoken, enough so the camera couldn’t hear me in one of our videos. So now before every episodes, I practice by screaming maniacally at the camera, swearing off the comment that said I was too quiet. It helps. Thank you, commenter.”
I asked him about his history as a kink-porn performer.
“Porn was a way for me to live out some kinky fantasies,” Bolt explained, “and to push myself past what I had already experience in, in some cases so much farther than I was comfortable with at the time. My curiosity into the leather community led to the curiosity of wanting to do porn. It was a direct extension of getting involved in the community in the first place. I learned a lot about how the porn world works and it strangely helped me be a better, more mindful person. I stepped warily into kink and then kind of dived into the deep end for porn.”
“I don’t regret it,” he admits. “At least when it comes to future job interviews and when someone asks what my skills are, I won’t be afraid to say I’m good at very deep dives!”
He’s got quite the array of kinks.
“My big main kinks are bondage and fisting,” he indicated. “I have experimented pretty widely, and I like a heck of a lot of things. I love pup play, but it tends to be a more private play thing for me. Electricity has a lot of buttons on me, which is no surprise having the name Pup Bolt. More recently, I have fallen for CBT and water sports. I can go on and on, but I feel like we may be here for a while!”
As a well-known pup and kinkster in the community, I wondered if Bolt planned to run for any titles.
“Even with the amount of board games I like playing, I am just not a competitive person,” he stated. “I enjoy just playing them, and I don’t think I could take a competition seriously enough to actually run in a manner that would represent a community as a whole. I mean I could represent myself well, because I very much enjoy being my humbly little weird being.”
“However,” he added, “if the title is the most awkward nerd, I think I am your man!”
If you enjoyed this interview, make sure you check out Watts the Safeword on YouTube!