Tao of Kink

1.0.10

Conversations with soul, dressed up in holy fetishes

Tao of Kink

Since I named this blog "Tao of Kink", I’ll spend some time writing about my own exploration in the BDSM realm, full of conspicuous opposites, obvious paradoxes and sexy contrasts.

I have never had to "learn" Taoism. I have discovered its essence (Tao) on my own – and just later on read about it in books. Even then, I resonated the most with hidden jokes and secret winks of Laozi’: "Real Tao cannot be learned or known." "Tao that can be described is not a Tao." Since then I don’t see it as a religion with rules or prohibitions - I grasp it as a nickname for infinite and continuous empirical experience of nature of life/universe/everything. I have distilled its essence from my own life full of paradoxes – and on the way (Te) found appreciation for contradictions.

BDSM, hot topic in seemingly sharp opposition to regular, "normal", common, accepted, moral(ist) mainstream middle class life, contains also number of inherent contradictions in itself. Power and helplessness, control and obedience, intensity and release, tears and joy, reminder of real violence with a touch of mocking farce. I’d like to root out a notion that BDSM is just what people are doing. I’d like to resist stubbornly the notion that too much philosophy kills the mood. As even Marquise de Sade proved, BDSM can be source of quite progressive and refreshing thought. It’s just a set of images, that bring provocative – and useful – perspective on life.



Kinky or/and romantic

The beauty and the kink is in the eye of beholder. Visual meditation on the fuzzy borders and gray zone between sweet and dirty.

Tao of Kink - opening

My vague memory suggests, that I have been attracted towards kink earlier than I have recognized a sexual life: Playing with feared situations, immobilization, desire for pain, appreciation of unusual smells, ritual body-painting. While later I have flown into my homo-sexuality so naturally, that I did not even have to pass internal coming-out, the real "outing" occurred around named & labeled BDSM. Bondage, beatings and tears appeared in my early fantasies and writings – well wrapped in stories revolving around a need for weird catharsis. With the discovery of porn imagery, this whole shady realm got somehow contained in standardized scenes. Well described, but unreachable at that time. Nonetheless, these "scenes" were not fitting into anxiously perfected romantic stories that I had ready for my life to enact: "The First Guy", "The First Sex", "The First Eternal Relationship". Just as these romantic dramas proved to be unreachable and somewhat artificial - I started to ask, if the dark sexuality could be enjoyed, to some extent, maybe before, after or perhaps in between those romances.

Tao of Kink - Part 1: vanilla and kink

While not many may be attracted towards brown shades of sex, word "dirty" covers almost all the other (much more popular) colors of the handkerchief code. But, for some reason, said in laundry metaphor: "Whites do not mix with colored." Being kinky, or being kinkster, is often assumed as a lifestyle at the other edge of "normality" range. You are either supposed to be "into kink" and don’t "do vanilla" (ever), or you count yourself among "normal", "regular", "decent", "clean", or "romantic" people (never failing their pure ideal).

Though, who said kink can’t be romantic? Why should one engage in kink all the time, full speed – and not have just a moderate interest? Returning to metaphor: who said colored laundry can’t be washed and clean as well?

Often, after short inquiry, I find myself being labeled: "Oh, so you like it kinky!" There you are. Categorized, on that side. Dark side. "Sorry, I am totally vanilla, we would not understand each other, bye." As if I have been denied any romantic moods, gentle feelings, need of intimacy. As if I had no rights to interact with the vanilla folks. As if I had no ability of tenderness. As if I had no response to plain kiss or wish to cuddle once a while. Human mind is not a computer – it’s not "either/or", human being is not a football match – it’s not "A versus B". We are navigating in between. We are blend of bizarre ingredients. I can’t imagine a person, who eats only chicken breasts all his life, nothing else. Being mono-taste is like being monotheist.

Alluding to religion, often I sense that "clean" tickles our obsession with purity and virginity, that can be sniffed in many cultural traces: ancient male obsession with being the "first and only" inseminators, in Christian rapture around immaculate  conception, in snow-white laundry ads and around rubber-gloved (pun indented) house-wives tidying their nest. "Vanilla" has more of a social status baggage attached to it, than genuine personal preference. Confirmation of being one of those "decent", "orderly", "proper", "good", "normal" people. Being appraised and approved. All this perhaps based on ancient fear of rejection from the tribe (which are nowadays our peers, neighbors, society, community, people who talk about us).

In kitchen philosophy: The two seemingly opposing ways of life co-define each-other. Without conceiving term "vanilla", everyone engaging in sex would be "kinky" perhaps. Not describing kink as "dirty", all the possible human activities would be "clean". At the end, such distinctions would make no sense at all. After all, we might call "vanilla" just a sort of kink. In kitchen terms - even vanilla is a flavor. As much as someone gets off on leather chaps, latex shirts or dirty jockstraps, someone else can’t have sex without white bed linen, candles (pun intended) and romantic jazz. I often tend to see those shopping "just for" t-shirts, shoes and handbags (in order to be attractive, in order to find mates) as just another sort of fetishists. Mainstream ones. Normalized ones. Approved ones. At the end, vanilla or chocolate, you lick it anyways. Be it ice-cream or a cock/pussy or an asshole.

Tao of Kink - open end

A large portion of stories, or at least scenes, flooded my mind through porn imagery. Some of the fantasies were to some extent genuinely my own. More than a decade passed between discovery of my kinky needs and my active effort to live them. Appreciating my own progress, the obstacle is not inside anymore. Now I struggle to find equally curious human beings with many-sided multi-flavored sexuality, not just "kink robots" or "romantic robots". Someone to cuddle with, someone to slap me, or someone to do both. I wonder if that liberation is yet to come.



Control or/and submission

Master, through release of his dominant energy, serves his slave to live his fantasies. Slave leads his master among the desires and limits, through his self-controlled will to submit. Visual meditation on fuzziness of power exchange.

Tao of Kink - Part 2: dominance and submission

Whether one accepts himself as full-scale kinkster, or dances on the border with vanilla, once he decides to dive in the dark waters of kink and search for a mate, he’s almost immediately inquired: Are you dominant or submissive? Are you sadist or masochist? Are you master or slave? Choose, categorize, for the sake of search engines. Thanks Goddess, in the domain of "common sex" the fake dilemma – "Are you Top or Bottom?" – was already complemented by term Versatile. Though BDSM community still seems to be quite uneasy around the idea of switching.

It appears, that ambiguity might make the communication between would-be partners complicated. They cannot initiate it with easiness of clear roles – who is master and who is slave – and thus have to face each-other as two human beings. Voluntarily, without stylization, without acting. Assertive dominant tone and serene obedience cannot be employed yet – and this also somewhat disrupts the fantasy that compelled us to search for the partner-in-game in the first place. Being out of role in the beginning - is a bit like "explaining joke" or "rationalizing spiritual mystery". Though, I find this "obstacle" the most important and potent moment of the whole encounter. Before power exchange, before losing control, before receiving pain – one gets a chance to see more genuine image of who that person, in whom we vest our trust, really is. What sort of crazy, what kind of twisted, what type of extraordinary…

If the inquirers were too obnoxious, I responded: "I’m the third person. I’m the voyeur." Not that I seclude myself to eternal observation, not that I don’t wish to participate. In my own kinky quest, I just haven’t discovered my submissiveness or dominant nature. I’ve been turned on by the whole D/S or S/M polarity, the split, the tension, the dynamics of it, the willing participation in unequal roles. I like to receive pain, under certain conditions (within sexual context, horny, as a bonus to intense personal exchange) as much as I like to give it. I find the idea of submitting (or having to submit) teasing, as much as I can be quite non-compromising in real life. People who try to impose on me their views of "how to do things right" do not survive around me for long. I have equal tendencies to follow and lead. With an eye on fair exchange.

I started searching for submission experience, because I did not feel bold enough for the other role. I felt it as a matter of experience: I did not want to inflict something upon the other body, if I have not tried it out myself. Be it needle in the nipple or just ass slap, I want to know what the sensation the other one will be exposed to. Aside of physical aspect, it seems, that being a master (unless one is arrogant and brutish naturally) requires a lot of acting. Often, slaves just lay down and expect master to "do things with them", perform the show, while the slave plays role of audience and judge. Or, the "lazy" role would be the precise expression. He does not play, he just waits to be entertained. Though - slave awaiting master’s orders - isn’t that expected at the end? Or, could BDSM be reinvented as more co-created, participative activity, on both sides?

I might offend some BDSM purists, though the discussion on "evil of dominating from the bottom" was very discouraging in my beginnings. Artificial as well. Despite the "established norms" of BDSM (irony intended) I had to dive into the essence of power exchange. If we speak of sexual play, not real violence, an agreement is preceding any scene. A slave approaches master with his wishes (what to experience) as much as limits. Even in case of very limited limits. Whether we like it or not, in that perspective, slave controls his master to some extent and master is serving his slave by allowing him to experience his (slave’s) fantasies and needs carnally. As in Tao, each element contains traces (embryo) of its opposite.

I find this paradox present in every power exchange situation as much as inside every singular kinky mind. Every submission fantasy contains an idea/image of domination on the other side. Every dominance fantasy works with certain imagination as of how the slave will obey. That insight, ability to see from the other side, presupposes an empathy, without which any sane and safe play would not be possible. No extreme can exist without its opposite – inside the person who carries it. Every dominant, once he decides to accept his fantasy, submits to the idea of his need to control the other. And every submissive - when he resists average standard of what is "normal", finding courage to admit it to at least few people, actively searching for a mate - takes charge of his life, body and sexuality.



Can and/or must

Freedom to dream about loosing freedom. Choosing not to choose, be told what to do, obey and serve. Giving control and giving worries - taking ownership and taking responsibility. Being owned by the one we (lovingly) own. Visual meditation on paradoxes of wishing to fulfill wishes.

Tao of Kink - Part 3: freedom and ownership

Average (predominantly straight) society lives by concept of essentialist complements: Man/woman, rational/emotional, initiative/submissive, in-charge/obeying, active/passive, competition/cooperation, cruel/mild, war/love, adventure/home, innovative/conservative. In some cultures, couple of these dichotomies are thought inappropriate, others seen as curious coffee-conversation matters. Elsewhere they are taken (too) seriously. In any case, at first glance these splits may look even as a sort of harmony. Traditional forms of unions (marriage) were built upon it. Less know feature (though with huge impact) is the topic of subject-object relationships*.

* First named by Harry Hay from the family of Radical Faeries (non-conformist non-mainstream non-movement in queer community, a pariah minority within pariah minority, that explores inter-dependency of sexuality, spirituality and environmentalism). He offered an alternative of new type of (queer) relationship not based on complementing each other (having to live together to balance each other’s strong and weak points), not employing mutual control and abuse, but being a voluntary (temporary) genuine unions of equals. A relationship between subject and SUBJECT.

Subject-object describes an interaction, where we have our partners in order to… to have two salaries, to get mortgage, to afford suburban house, to be economically well off, to fix the plumbing, to rely on, to make us happy, to take care of us when we are sick or old, to raise our social status, to be approved by family and neighbors, to understand us, to listen to us, to fulfill our wishes, to protect us, to satisfy us, to make us proud. It does not matter if this is between husbands and wives, children and parents, or employers and employees. We lay expectations on each other and we engage in relationships because we benefit from them. Materially, socially, emotionally – selfishly. We use the other person to achieve a goal. While this may feel quite natural at first glance – note that we have been educated in this scheme all our lives, alternative concepts and thinking are barely known, often it is justified through evolution – this perspective definitely scratches off the gilding from some romantic fairy-tales.

How does that tickle the objectification and control fantasies of kinky minds? The verb we used - "have husband, have lover, have partner" - suggests possessive relationship, an act of owning, that is betrayed especially in situations of jealousy and break-ups – in feelings of loss and deceit and robbery - the terms associated with losing a property. Ownership is something that we know from BDSM pretty well! But in the suggested perspective we own each other quite a lot even in vanilla life. We negotiate decisions and comply, take charge and follow, take active or passive stance in various matters – even if we do not admit it.

It’s very contemporary topic to discuss how much Freedom we are willing to give up for a feeling of Security. Though less we talk about the relationship between Freedom and Responsibility. Citizens of totalitarian or feudal state are not free, but have the comfort of not having to (even if not being able to) bear the heaviness of any decisions. Whatever they do, they cannot choose to do it (or not), so they are not guilty of the results. That is twisted convenience and attraction of this kind of establishment. The same is valid for parents and kids or some rural household arrangements between patriarchs and their kitchen/laundry servant wives. Likewise the slave seemingly suppressing his will enjoys the comfort of no responsibility for a moment. And the master has not only reigns of control, but is bearing that responsibility as well. How amazing opportunity to witness this dynamic in sexy and voluntary way!

While some post-modernists view "recreational" drug (ab)use as an individual choice and as such a matter of personal freedom, doctors see it as a dubious escape shortcut or painkiller for boredom or other form of unhappiness. I’d add a mythopoetic image: Society of individualist obsessed with their wished/required idol of Independence – with sickly symptoms of Dependence=Addiction surfacing from subconscious: be it cocaine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar, porn, shopping, or even work. An irony worth of Hitchhiker’s Guide to Galaxy. BDSM, without necessarily labeling it as ill, might provide some hints here as well. So many beings raised in liberal cultures dream secretly of discipline. So many free-thinkers and free-lovers enjoy being bound. Contradiction upon contradiction.

Is the whole BDSM just a mirror or shadow of our suppressed fantasies? I might not get an answer to that question anytime soon. Though even if I abstain from direct psychoanalytical interpretation - I see kink as a wonderful playground for adults – to observe their "real-life" actions and roles from unusual (and quite informative) perspective. The sexual fantasies are bountiful source of observations. Students and teachers, bosses and employees, politicians and their modern fiefs, infallible Führers of the nations and admiring Volk, dads and sons – so many dominant/submissive relationships that we get involved in without ever considering ourselves kinky.



Props and/or story

What’s more attractive - nude body or sexy dress? Are we fascinated by costumes or actors? Do empty sets turn us on without anything happening there? Why can’t we stop collecting items of fetishes? Visual meditation on tension between things and fantasies.

Tao of Kink - Part 4: fetish and story

Genuinely, it was difficult to name this topics, since the split is quite tricky to grasp. I can’t think of a person, who is not a fetishist in some sense. There’s little difference between those who buy leather or latex to have something sexy for the night out in the club – and those who buy trendy T-shirts, hand-bags, shoes or anything that will make them beautiful, socially appreciated or just plainly attractive. Even Karl Marx already used the term "commodity fetishism": Our repressed non-material needs are transformed into hunger for items (somehow associated with those needs) that we buy in repetitive compulsive way. Inducing the desire is considered standard and expected feature of economy, there is a whole industry dedicated to this task. But how come, that despite knowing it, so little we resist? How come that it still affects us? Did you ever ask - how does the fetish actually work?

If you own two hundred pairs of sneakers, or a dungeon full of different sizes and styles of whips and other tools, or a collection of sounds or chastity belts or rubber items… you already have a hint. If you’ve submitted to not-so-pleasant 9-to-5 job in order to pay for it all, you might have a clue how the fetish works. You are so close, though still not there.

Once I have read a post from a gay guy, who could not understand the whole jock(strap) obsession. For him, there was just a school-years memory of bad smelling classmates, occasional hazing and humiliation, together with complete dislike for the violent sport. Though, so many of us dream exactly along those lines: Using that piece of cloth to touch the unreachable men in half-forbidden way (who hasn’t sniffed someone else’s underwear or socks or T-shirt?), transforming the fear of the bullies into sexual attraction, replacing the embarrassment on the pitch with different kind of game and skills. Through these items, we infiltrate the environment we were excluded from. Too much of an explanation for the kinky pleasure, that needs just to be enjoyed?

And so you buy your first jockstrap. You have it. It is clean. Smells of nothing particular. You wear it. You look into the mirror. And it’s just you and some jockstrap. Not much has happened. You take selfies. Post them. Couple of cute responses. Thank you. Still nothing happens. You seek the other guys "into jockstraps". You get in touch, you  wear jockstraps, take them off and then have sex. Just a regular sex – for better or for worse. Maybe it was not the right one. Guy or jockstrap. You buy another one. And another one. You have become collector. With every item, you feel that you are getting tantalizingly closer to what you want. But still unable to reach it. Whatever it is. It’s frustrating. And you sooth the frustration with pursuing more items. As if it helped before… It is not even possible to recognize, if the items treat or cause that frustration.

It feels a bit like a donkey, who follows a carrot tied to a string, tied to a stick, tied to his back. He walks after it and the carrot walks away, since it walks with him. Though fetish is not just Fata Morgana that seduces us and tires us to exhaustion. Every problem contains a hint of solution (as in Tao). Fetish contains the essential explanation of itself. If you are interested at all. That is, you can enjoy your donkey walk, but you may also stop and think: "I might be just hungry – more accessible food may be just under my nose – independent of that vicious runaway carrot." The fetish, as it appears in popular imagery, contains the answers. Those answers are just not the items, they are around those items.

My favorite image comes from movies: A film looks much better, if the tricks are well made, if the sets are breathtaking, props look appropriate, if the masks are stunning, if the costumes are artful. But you cannot make a movie out of sets, props, masks and costumes. Otherwise anyone who’d shoot himself with camera in Hawaii, wearing palm-leaf skirt, would be getting Oscars. You need talented (and in some adequate way attractive) actors. You need good script, moving moments, emotions, intellectual messages perhaps – and of course: a story. Buying jockstraps will not supply you with kinky stories in the locker rooms. Having sliced and sewn tanned cow will not automatically involve you in raunchy BDSM scene. Wearing fashionable smart outfit or using newest gadget seen in movies can make you look cool for a season, but will not pull you in any romantic, dramatic or thrilling sequence of events that you subconsciously enjoyed while watching "the actors".

And that is the definition of  fetish: being tantalizing close to the objects of desire, without the ability to grasp them really, to reach out to the essence that they connect with.



Weapons and/or cocks

Why do we like to play at/with the roughest boys? Why do the spaces we otherwise avoid attract us so irresistibly? What’s so sexy about the uniforms? Can tenderness be found in the most improbable places? Does adventure smell of sweat and gunpowder? And what is true about metaphor of firing guns and dicks shooting?

Tao of Kink - Part 5: guns and kisses

Quite a lot of guys have military fetish. Boots, uniforms, camouflage. Discipline, drill, iron-men. Guns, cockiness, muscles. We fantasize about the dormitories where men share sleep, often (half?) nude, perhaps with bubbling sexual needs (long time away from home). However cheezy it sounds, that’s often the first thought that appears in our queer heads. Communal showers, all naked, teasing each other. Tough training, playful exercise, physicality having a purpose – which the office crowd of dreamers often lack – and especially the skills it brings with it, not just muscular fluff. Marching through the jungle, climbing, swimming, running, shooting – everything that makes Spartan race more attractive than the sterile weight-lifting in a gym. Camping outdoors, sharing the tents, an air of adventure. There is something of a masculine archetype accessible in this fantasy, something that is usually remote in modern everyday life.

Porn imagery of guys in uniforms involves certain amount of something ridiculous. So opposite to the real-life insights into military life. Genuine pictures of soldiers, where they are not (porn)acting, but are caught in the course of events, not posing, not trying to look in certain way, just being, doing their thing – can be immensely erotic. Real exercise, real sweat, real situations. Just a little extra hint – guys resting half-naked, mock sexual gestures, holding each-other around the arms, signs of friendship or support – can launch tremendous fantasies about what might be happening off the record. We imagine stories. And there the fetish begins. Model posing for the camera has never a fraction of that attraction hidden in real-life glimpse. I’d bet that our instinct here is stronger than even a mythical gaydar. Recognizing beauty that is not aware of itself.

And then you buy the uniform and boots and paint your face with camouflage colors… and look into the mirror… and feel nothing. Then you invite another guy with "similar interests" and nothing exciting happens either. Endless evenings observing desirable mates in showers are not there. The story of "a pinch more tenderness than usual" evolving into the requited affection and perhaps into secret love story from the barracks – does not happen. Not even the physical activity, the skills or the adventure, that would make a counterpoint to the juicy sexual climax. Think of porn – how awfully fake the "acting" part usually is. Click, click, fast forward to the dick. Then think of real well-acted movies from the same environment, how exciting even slightly erotic moments can be. What’s the difference?

While we know men mostly from competing, fighting, macho teasing, bullying situations … tough drill paradoxically evokes cooperation, aftercare, closeness. Army environment separated from the regular world creates demand to cover certain human needs that get covered by the other gender elsewhere. Be it sharing or caring, from intimate conversations to sexual release. While for those straight men in military it is just a workaround within circumstances, for the gay men outside it is quite teasing to see (or think of) straight men being sensitive and available to each other. Unlike what they know from civil life – coldness, detachment, machismo. There is something exciting about contrasts – uncovering tender side in rough men. Sexualizing the guns – the tools of violence and oppression, things bringing death – in context of ultimate expression of life – the sex.



Roughness and/or violence

How to spice up action and not overdo it? How dark one can afford to be? What is too little and what is too much? When does the "use" of person becomes abuse? Where is the border at which "torture" loses quotes? Which are the symbols one would not make fetish of? Gazing into pitch black through disturbing imagination.

Tao of Kink - Part 6: acting and real violence

I remember how shocked I was when I first discovered Greasetank’s 3D fantasies. Shocked especially by my sexual response to them. It was off the scale of mainstream BDSM – rape, torture and death were not exception. Machismo brought to the absurd levels. Situations and types (bullies, skinheads) that we usually avoid in real life were carriers of intense eroticism here, the more uncompromising and brutal - the better. I started to ask: Is our sensitivity overstimulated? Do we want more and more and more, because the excitement of yesterday is already dull? Is it beyond the border of approved-kinky and already sick? Though, I still resisted to judge it prematurely and slam that door since my hard cock does not lie - I was genuinely turned on. As much as I had to reconcile with my kinky part and incorporate it into my shiny vanilla self-image, I knew that just ignoring the dark chamber will not make it vanish.

A frenzy of  "totally depraved pigs", scat porn, prolapses, castrations, bloody fights, merciless banging, fag humiliations, PnP slamming, but also disturbing imagery of guys fucking in Nazi uniforms with swastika flags all around them, over-utilization of double eSes and double 8s in blog names – prove we have hit the well. Something, yet unknown, is surfacing. Mere "ridiculing the neo-nazis" is not sufficient explanation for it. The usual formula "homophobic bully is a repressed homosexual" could be applied here mechanically – yes, there is something subconsciously homoerotic in consciously homophobic behavior - but still it is not enough. I’m more intrigued by the presence of fetish. Though, in this case we don’t want more and more items to own, but more and more intensity and daring in our experience. Are we still missing the stories, or is it something else that we cannot reach towards?

An interview with the artist himself brought more insight. He suggests that we should not hide the fact that observation of the suffering of the others can be erotic. His imagery comes from deep within – and as such is an uncensored (so far) report on what is lurking in there. Instead of closing our eyes he encourages us to face it. Even if we cannot "figure it out" immediately, we can be with it (in safety of fantasy), we can admit it, we can learn from it for the better. As such, it resonated with me strongly – BDSM is an unusual perspective on real life’s happenings. Getting involved in it sanely can be healing for us, for our partners and believe it or not maybe it can teach us to be more humane, compassionate, loving. Understanding the channel where the violence comes from and how does it operate.

Assimilationist mainstream of  LGBT movement, "good boys" imitating the heteronormative lifestyle together with middle-class suburban sensibilities - all are now proclaiming: "does everything have to be only about sex?" "we are not just sexual beings, we have more dimensions." However, we did not exploit or even explore sexuality enough yet. Despite PR image that some are trying to build, large portion of "gay life" is still happening in dark-rooms, woods and dungeons. Something attracts us there, something lies there undiscovered. I keep being amazed how magically our sexuality transforms everything we have been afraid in the past. All the homophobic environments, all the bullying jocks, aggressive sportsmen, militant soldiers, cocky skinheads, macho bikers – appearance of all those has become part of gay fetish standard, even for folks that consider themselves vanilla. I sense an immense power of sex to turn death into life, violence into pleasure, torment into joy. It may be a reaction, a way to cope with it, a way to overcome it, a way to ridicule it, a way to swallow it (pun intended) – the same way as we’ve reclaimed labels: gay, queer, faerie, faggot – and now pig or pervert.

You can’t beat the bullies, but you can imitate them. The same way that many animals mimic their more dangerous relatives. You can’t get away with danger, but you can seek it. You can’t avoid the pain, but you can voluntarily explore it. There’s nothing more subversive to offenders than showing them that their abuse of violence does not work, does not have the expected effect on us, that we may even perversely enjoy it. I’m still quite uncomfortable with Nazi symbolics and satanist porn. I recognize fear of possibility that it could be harvested by religious bigots, Putinists and other real fascists. A conspiracy theorist in me would even see this depraved porn being produced directly in those ideological clubs and propaganda offices, purposefully. But on the other hand, just for a moment imagine neo-Nazis seeing their victim-targets – gays – engaging in bold swastika decorated fuck. Straight in their straight (?) face.

Sanity check: Scenes of real violence. Brutality on the news, awful mafia executions, machos beating their wives, gay guys being hazed by Russian neo-Nazis, chauvinist oriental rape-games, guys burned in the street by superstitious mob, Islamic fundamentalist beheading random victims. Not sexy. Absolutely horrifying. Anger raising, revenge inducing, mind blinding. Unacceptable. On the other side of spectrum, there is artificial poorly-acted BDSM porn: "Yes daddy, I have been a bad bad boy, punish me!" Not sexy either. Absolutely awful in another way. Not serving its declared purpose, not satisfying sexuality. The genuine BDSM stands somewhere in between. It is believable enough and in the same time consensual and enjoyable. It lovingly holds our hand while allowing us to face our fears (of pain, roughness, loss of control) and transform them. My acceptability red line runs exactly through there.



Pain and/or pleasure

How intense, how painful, how unbearable? How much torment is sexy? Can master give pain with love? Can slave receive pain with joy? Can we hurt without wounding? Could destruction of body be also reclaiming of self? Visual mediation on how scars from play supplement scars from life.

Tao of Kink - Part 7: sadism and masochism

My favorite psychologist – Thomas Moore – would probably say: Don’t bring light to darkness. That is not its point. Darkness must be dark. The role of kink is not to be explained, but explored. Darkness can’t be illuminated. …  Kinky mind can’t be treated or healed if its role itself is to heal. Darkness can’t be suppressed. Sometimes the only way to get insight into it is to submerge in it. Talk to it through its own language – i.e. being dark and non-transparent to the eyes. Admitting it, indulging in it with some control (consciously, present, aware), getting to know it - we can find a key how to incorporate it in a way that it will enhance our life, instead of acting destructively.

Sometimes you have to indulge and go with the flow, to get in touch with the subject matter. Touch the hot iron to understand its damaging potential. Fall on the ground hundred times to learn the judo trick. But it does not mean being thrown on the ground mindlessly till we are unable to move. Not like shoe-fetishist spending fortune on thousands of sneakers without ever wondering what is it that he actually needs. Stay with the fetish but keep the perspective. As much as collecting items, as much as searching for more and more daring imagery, as much as going deeper into depravity – even pain could be intensified beyond bearable. But what for?

I find myself equally (almost indifferently) balanced between liking to receive and to give pain. The same excitement I feel when I submit to someone who torments me can be easily translated into the mind of tormentor. I’m in my body and in the same time in his mind. Because – it is not the pain that turns me on. It is the observation of myself withstanding that pain, that is quite alike the observation of the tormentor enjoying control over his  voluntary victim. These observations are quite exchangeable. It is the willing participation in that play that excites me.

Being subjected to pain, I know there’s too little and too much for me. With quite a narrow transition between those areas. First time seeing ball skewering, or whipping of bloody ass, or bodies twisting through electro-torture - I was excited. After some time they have become boring. "What else?!" The stimulation could be magnified almost endlessly and quickly become dull. Thanks to all the pain pigs – for numbing my visual sensitivities – for bringing me to the edge of boredom and the end of dead-end street.

From there, I could start exploring what is it that really turns me on.  In real life, I’ve tried less intense things and they were more than enough for me. I realized that this paradox in perception is not just question of personal thresholds. More than anything it is a matter of context. Those exciting first-timers represented "wow, what is he willing to submit to". But the turn on was not in that "what" (or "how much"), but in willing.

I quite enjoyed dropping shoes tied to my balls. At wrong time and wrong place, even gentle unfriendly ball squeeze could be too much. With a wrong person and within sterile scene: I could not bust my partner’s balls strong enough. He was bored, I was bored. On the other hand, playful spontaneous pull of another mate’s sack causing "that look" was far the best moment of the night we had. Similar act done, completely different experience. The keyword here is context. I became aware, that it is not the pain for pain that I am looking for, but the interaction. The exchange of looks, words, touches, the exchange of power, the way he gets me into the mood when I almost beg him to do "evil things" to me. I can enjoy intensity, but when it becomes real pain, the pain is just a pain, it is simply painful. But if he finds a way how to turn me on so much, to get me into the flow of play, to heckle me, so that I am willing to withstand the pain which would be normally unbearable – I’m actually enjoying that game, that exchange, that mind-blowing state of consciousness … that probably some quirky yogis demonstrate with their jaw-dropping stunts.



Sensitive and/or brutal

Caring by hurting. Torment as a loving attention. Unleashing wild manliness and staying sane. Enjoying a bit of rough sex without forgetting to be tender. Becoming a piece of meat without losing soul. Visual mediation on keeping the human dimension in BDSM scenes.

Tao of Kink - Part 8: tenderness and roughness

While finally accepting a place for both my vanilla and kinky fantasies, for quite some time I could not imagine connecting those two parts of me. They could coexist, though not combine. At best, I would have to live two lives – one with romantic lover, one with kinky co-explorer – but the mixing of the elements was not something I even desired. As much as pain would taint the romantic ideas, even the kiss would spoil the excitement of the kinky scene. Luckily, at that time I have realized, that it is not the things I wish for, but the associated stories … and that it is not plain pain I enjoy, but the intense interaction with the other being… Thanks to all the Bound Gods I have been exposed to the images where elements of tenderness, love and romance were incorporated into the BDSM scene. And they did not feel out of place at all.

They were not ruining the scene, they were enhancing it, if not creating it actually. I realized, that the perspective could be even reversed – it was not love incorporated into the S&M scene, it was that scene happening in the framework of care, gentleness and love. However paradoxical it may sound. Understanding the whole kink as a dance of the opposites, tenderness was that missing piece of puzzle that complemented roughness. In some sense, that is the element that differentiates a BDSM scene from a real violence that I find repulsive (even if those brutal acts may sometimes raise erotic curiosity). I could not submit to control, pain and rough treatment from a guy, who would not feel at least basic human interest, care and default love for the fellow.

As I have described earlier, I enjoy intense interaction, not just mechanical execution of the torture acts. That connection happens in the look and in the mode of talking – I find it almost unbearably mind blowing, if the guy looks at me with: "I love you, I hurt you, I enjoy it, I enjoy that you enjoy it, I love that you receive that pain for me with love." It’s a presence of mutual exchange – there and back and forth and back and there again. It’s perverse, it is ultimately twisted, it is shared and intimate. That  exchange happens in the physical expression – be it movie cliché of passionate "slap and kiss" or just holding of the body, tormenting and soothing, holding again to keep the connection and sharing of the perceptible experience. Those moments actually make the scene juicy, kinky and sexy.

The porn production I have hailed contains beautiful moments before and after the scene, with the actors out of master/slave context, holding each other or showing almost imperceptible gestures of connection, smiling, describing expectations, helping each other to fulfill them, at the end sharing experience and allowing to learn a lesson – perhaps. Of course, that might be rather a wish, seeing of possibility and my own interpretation in some cases, but it still serves as a good mirror to real-life happenings. All the participants enter the scene voluntarily to help each-other to explore their fantasy. It’s a mutual service, regardless of role in the play. As such, it is an act of care and love.

With all that psychology described so far, BDSM scene is not just voluntary sex-violence, intensity-contest, or fetish indulgence. It is a first-hand experience of life archetypes, an exploration into roles we play every day, an encounter with fears, a healing of the subconscious wounds, a physical channel to release emotions. Helplessness, injustice or paralysis is something that we often face out of kink. Within BDSM play we have at least some control over it – by deciding to indulge in it – and we can scrutinize it. This is an amateur (and maybe more functional) form of therapy. The partner, whether dominating or submitting, is our spiritual guide. Often I find it appropriate to demand more mature, capable and trustful companion, than is my usual  criteria in romantic relationships. Since that person that torments me is my priest, my doctor, my teacher, my guru, my lover – in one person.



negotiation and/or surprise

How to let go without free fall? How to play safe without missing fun? Can one plan the session and still not make it boring? Can one enact all his fantasies and still leave enough room to enjoy the moments of surprise?

Tao of Kink - Part 9: scenarios and spontaneity

One of the immediate problems I find both in porn scenes and the real-life experience is the fragile balance between making the interaction "real", "juicy", "believable" enough – without it becoming real violence. Making it "safe", "enjoyable", "sexual" – without it feeling too artificial or even vanilla. Besides wearing costumes and using props, if we focus on the story of the encounter, we will probably come up with some act of what should happen, what the partner should do to us. BDSM fantasies tends to focus on hyper-masculine imagery of masters, the manliness unfortunately involving also usual "manly" downfalls – inability to communicate or to speak in full sentences. Finding a partner to talk to beforehand, discuss at least the limits and safety keywords, is already a challenging task. But - if we manage to find one at last - while talking about our fantasy & fears, how to give him a space to surprise us, without crossing into the forbidden zone?

I have experienced couple of scenes that felt like teleshopping presentation of the devices, one by one, in tedious unstopping sequence. In others, the acts were executed – usual "kinky words" were used, standard "torture techniques" were applied, in the same boring enumerative manner. I did not enjoy myself at all. The word "enjoyment" is quite tricky within S&M context – sometimes the point of the game seems to be exactly the slave enduring pain or not-so-pleasant treatment. Still, despite power exchange, loss of control, sensory deprivation, torment, humiliation, or nasty mind fuck – the slave is seeking this situation voluntarily. He searches and finds something in it – and Satisfaction could be the term to cover this added value.

One does not have to write up the script, to experience satisfaction, in whatever role he finds himself. First obvious way to avoid prescribing what will happen is to talk about what will not happen. Good old limits. Because even quite comprehensive list of actions and tools may result in an experience completely different from what was intended. The actions and tools might not have been chosen incorrectly, just have been applied in terribly wrong way. And that suggest the real topic of The Talk. Not so much what props should be used, but what do you want to experience? What do you want to feel? What way would you like to be treated? In what direction would you like to be surprised? What were your experience that you have enjoyed? What scenes you have not been satisfied with at all? And if you lack experience: What triggers you, what stimulates you – in terms of kink?

Many guys instantly say "I don’t want to talk too much, I want to do stuff." Oh those chronic "doers"! What a beautiful phrase to mask inability to communicate. That should be the first warning. They don’t know what they do. They are not interested in you at all. They have no experience in empathy or self-questioning: "What is that piece of meat going through?" While you may fantasize about being treated as a piece of shit, you still want that experience, you still need him to know that you are willing to submit to that situation for your own satisfaction. Even if you dream of being objectified, you are human being willing to be treated as an object. Simply put, you need some respect first to be treated without respect. One of the misunderstood paradoxes of BDSM.



dreaming and/or living (it)

Is one sick imagining the most extreme interactions - without ever wanting to go there? Should all the fantasies be enacted and embodied? Can we be satisfied just thinking of something? How much of my sexual self is in my body and how much in my head? Visual meditation on daring to do as much as honoring of daring to dream.

Tao of Kink - Part 10: fantasies and reality

My cock responds to almost everything. Even the situations that I sometimes think it "should not" respond to. But that’s the beauty of Sexuality. It is beyond reasoning, beyond control. Only this way it can serve as an emergency brake – when facing various ideologies "how things should be", "how people should behave", "what is normal". Whatever turn on I may discover as sadistic or dominant observer, I do not need (have courage, skills, will to take responsibility) to enact in real life. I’m not a foolish visionary, nor the Olympic athlete - so I don’t think that all the borders have to be crossed. With some boundaries I like to play, some I gladly keep where they are. My incentive to dare the limits is directly related to all the previous posts – the ability to communicate, the possibility to trust, the quality of interaction, the connection, the context, the complexity and intensity of shared story.

Imagination:

1st stage:

Exploring the other’s body. Can I stand his personal smell? Exploring the other’s personality. Can I trust him? Is he annoying? Do I feel safe playing dangerous with him?

Communication, interaction, chemistry. Is it there? Does submission/dominance work? Are we able to get to the level where we can start playing with pain?

Light CBT, TT, bondage, belt lashing, caning, foot/armpit-licking, spit and piss play. Those are just acts to explore mutual exchange. No permanent damage, no change of public outlook.

2nd stage:

The excitement of the new is gone. Let’s play with semi-permanence, long-term tease, mind-fuck. Each of the challenges can be enjoyed while it is still stimulating and relevant.

Chastity belt, frustration play, keeping the slave horny, milking.

Public visibility: (almost) total body shave, collars/chains, temporary tattoos, slave labeled clothing.

Shared living, domestic duties, expecting Sir prepared. Certain level of ownership, temporary slave contracts, mind-fuck.

Serious whipping, needle play (piercing, sewing), using catheters, breath play (noose, bagging), complex or prolonged bondage, living in a cage or cellar. The tasks are unimportant – they just demonstrate devotion, willingness, submission, control.

3rd stage (how far would I dare?):

Pre-negotiation of what will be negotiated and what will be given up by slave for master’s consideration. Transfer of ownership of body parts.

Permanent depilation. Tattooes – bar-code, slave registration number, other slave insignia. Branding perhaps. Other body decoration according to master’s taste.

Circumcision – for the piercing visibility and accessibility, cleaning in chastity. Cock sensitivity reduction expected.

Piercings – PA/PW, nipples, septum – good old slave standard. Perhaps: urethral reroute, subincision, penectomy, castration.

Long-term chastity, cock shrinking, body-attached chastity.

Whippings and serious CBT with permanent marks. Play with fire, cigarette-burning, needles, blades.

Risk-involving play: Scat, blood-play, bareback.

Objectification, becoming animal, giving up to a serious ownership.

What a turn on to fantasize of those thousand options of slowly losing options. With some partners, I would not even think of anything from the last stage. But it is exciting to imagine there would be someone, who I’d get in tune with so much that these ideas would be impossible to resist. That we would both dare going there. On the other hand, there’s thousand ways how to perform even a simple face-slap. Searching for the one with whom it would work could be a task sufficient for life-time.



pain and/or scars

The phrase of fear and sanity: "No permanent marks." Tease of getting them. Fantasy of losing control over the shape of our bodies. Does pain in BDSM leave any traces? Should mental wounds project on physical level? Are we getting any scars through indulging in kinky experience? How passing and superficial it is? How deep it penetrates? What remains from our darker adventures?

Tao of Kink - Part 11: permanent and temporary

I was always intrigued by body modifications. From the simple tattoos through all the unusual combinations of piercings to removal of bits and parts. Not that all appeal to my sense of aesthetics, but just the idea of irreversibility is exciting beyond bearable. I don’t tend to scream "Awful! Disgusting! Sick!", my acceptance threshold is pretty high. Though the intensity of my fascination equals to the resistance to submit to any of them.

Trapped in between the opposites, I find it impossible to decide for the options that mutually exclude each-other. I really enjoy natural hairy bodies, unshaved crotches, bearded faces, high and tight haircuts, smells (or lack of them) connected with hair – as much as the associated symbolics: naturalness, rewilding, resistance to fashion or dictate of practicality (making bodies just technically "usable"), vintage definitions of maleness. In the same time I enjoy fantasies of ritual or fetishistic shaving. Whether in context of skinhead initiation, enslavement, current athletic norm (there is something repulsive and also sexy in idea of turning body into smooth effective machine), or just personal taste. The same dichotomy applies to slim and natural bodies versus artificial but also iconic/archetypal muscular figures. With all the different ideas of masculinity fluidly moving among them.

Hair will regrow, but tattoos, piercings and chopped-off parts not. Therefore I find this area of self-improvement magnetizing. I love the look of natural uncut penis as nature intended it, it has some perfect beauty in it. I would subscribe to any initiative to stop routine infant circumcisions (that was invented as a rough means of hygiene in desert-cultures, that resonated with Victorian/puritan obsession with "clean" and was popularized with genuine intention to prevent "sick"/"illness-causing" masturbation, to remove pleasure from "dirty" sexuality). Though, in that sense the "correction" is dirty itself and it appeals to kinky fantasies of claiming ownership over someone else’s body, taking control of his pleasure (same as chastity belts or castration in extreme cases). Even the nowadays popular fantasy-threat of enforced circumcisions ("all proper men should be cut") resonates in hidden corners of sexual imagination. Its vicious darkness illuminates something from the essence of rituals and the need for initiation that slowly disappeared from rationalist society. If we ever dared looking beyond plain act, beyond taking symbols verbatim 1:1.

Yes, cut cocks are beautiful in their modified way, carrying the erotic notion of irreversible reduction of sensitivity, becoming uncompromising penetration tools. Same as tattooed and pierced bodies. Both in terms of voluntarily change, or voluntary submission to modifications by someone else.

My mind oscillates between sense of preservation of natural body - tabula rasa – and then a wish for changing. Though there is not always a possibility to return to original pure state.  Inability to be simultaneously modified and intact prevents me to move forward with any corporal upgrades. Searching for the perfect tattoo, that would perfectly describe me and complement my body, moreover such that I will be able to live with all my life – is a tricky desire. But there is a similar concept: Scars. Random life situations modify our body and change its shape every day. Some are just more visible, some more gradual, some expected, some completely out of ordinary. Some clearly remind us of the moments that we have survived, or in better case "experienced". Souvenirs of more or less pleasant situations. In old-school concepts of masculinity, this is even a source of pride. In some tribes, body impact was induced purposefully – in rites of passage – to prepare a person to bear pain in life. To define a community’s desired ideal of manliness – often fearless, resistant, hardened. Whether through circumcision (inflicting harm on the most intimate part, subjecting man’s sexuality to social rules) in the Middle-East or through scarifications, piercings or tattoos in various tribal cultures.

My own resistance to get modified expresses the wish for ritual setting (important as much as context is in BDSM scene or in playing with fetish items) and clear idea what transition, what passage that modification will symbolize. An idea of receiving a piercing or tattoo as a scar/memory/reminder of experiencing something of importance, something literally life-changing – is pleasing. On the contrary, just having tattoo that relates to no story, no internal change - feels like obtaining of souvenir product in tourist resort, where we have consumed just template crowded beach, template all-inclusive food, template guided tours – with no added value of spontaneous surprising personal adventure to it. It’s like buying new clean sneakers, new chastity device or new leather harness – by oneself, for oneself, to play on one’s own.

The idea of submitting to modifications in BDSM scene - while not so dramatic as getting a tattoo after surviving an exhausting training, natural disaster or plague – contains at least trace amount of that missing "story of a scar". The idea of the other person controlling part of someone’s body is as brutish as sexy.

My own fantasies whirl around getting my foreskin sewn and tightened - experiencing the feeling of completely uncut cock, perhaps chastising sensation of phimosis – then getting disowned of this pleasure and having naked desentisized cock, then diverting all the proud manly body fluid streams to the underground through urethral reroute, getting PA, Ampallang, Apadravya, or Magic Cross, then connecting it with sensation of sounding through Princes Wand, later on opening up the insides of the cock for more stimulation with partial subincision, that could be later "held together" by couple of shaft piercings passing though the sides of the split in a sort of Frankensteinish lousy stitching. I still can’t decide between the beauty of pierced nipples and nipple nullification. Not to mention my secret love for blackwork and bodysuit tattoos.



safe word and/or surprise

Should borders be explored, teased or transgressed? Should there be borders at all? Should limits be pushed or respected as they are? Is it a point of BDSM to get one beyond? Can one get something from it - knowing that the borders are there?

Tao of Kink - Part 12: Limits or no limits

The terms like "no limit" slaves, "totally depraved pigs", 365/24/7, dehumanization and objectification, as much as extremes like castration or snuff play – have become contemporary fashion wave in kink, quite the mainstream. As dirty as sterile – multiplied but copycat. The good old fetish is not satisfying anymore - but will the new kinks bring any more stimulus, if executed in the same mindlessly mechanical non-translated way?

I sniff some sort of dissatisfaction with the idea of "limits" – as in verity of the action. That I have already described in splits between committing crime and playing, exploring the fantasy deeply versus acting it up, or genuine devotion and pretending. Finding a mode of making the situation satisfyingly "real" and in the same time "safe and sane and consensual". I doubt this balance can be achieved by more quantity (doing), rejecting all the "mood-killer" talking or even thinking about what’s going to happen. At the end, limits don’t have to be broken or pushed necessarily. We can dance around them, play with them, interpret them. At least, we can learn about our heroic culture’s approach to limits in general.

My own limits (if they can be called so) are not so focused on what deeds cannot be done or what intensities cannot be reached, but more on circumstances, context, story, interaction, exchange with the partner, genuineness and symbolic value of what is being enacted. This is still an exploring, guided journey - for the benefit of all involved. There’s a difference between game of being abused and being abused abused. BDSM, whatever way I scrutinize it, is still a sexual play – so an amount of playfulness, sexiness, erotic must be involved. E.g.: Me personally, I can’t enjoy kink, not even vanilla sex, if I lack sleep or comfort in sense of health – the basic ability to enjoy sensations and be sexual at all.

Safety must be involved when playing dangerous and risky. Sanity must be around while we are letting out our craziness. Consent must be provided before will is broken. In order to get consent one needs to be conscious. Present. There. That’s also my answer to the use of substances in BDSM. Using support of drugs to eat shit, because it looks cool in pictures… fine, but is it you having that experience, or is it that drug? Getting drunk in order to withstand beating till bleeding… ok, though how much of you is present, enjoying it? Getting hypnotized to remove even basic animal self-preservation instinct… Is it still that you, who wanted to experience it? While it is interesting to see, how much you can bear with aid of something, it gives you information on what that something can do, not what you can do. It does not tell you even how does it feel, because you don’t experience it, you are not there. Makes sure your kinky experience is your fun.

Even if the mind is fucked with in another ways besides chemical substances, there should still be an emergency exit free of obstacles, to get "back to ones senses". To reconnect with point zero, from which one sets out to explore new experience. Even for the 24/7 slave there must be a check-in moment to reflect if this arrangement is still sexually satisfying (even if not pleasant in painful moments). Even for "slave for life", or whatever absolute fantasy, the desire to get involved beforehand is not enough evaluation for the sake of perpetuating that contract. Even total pain pig needs to return to that sane spot where he can observe his depravity and enjoy it in contrast to normal/boring state of mind. Search for an absolute submission might be just expression of need for somewhat genuine experience.



tease and/or torment

How much physical pain will satisfy the mind? How much mental pain will the flesh feel? Does our kinky soul crave to suffer or to submit? Visual meditation on situations, scenarios and scenes that turn us on without a single ass-slap.

Tao of Kink - Part 13: mind-fuck and body-pain

I would encourage anyone to get involved in writing Slave Contract. Regardless of the endless possibilities of the media used, complexity of procedures involved (say 3 times on camera "I give up my rights and become property of Master X") that just extend the duration of pleasure - all these words, the thoughts, the imagination is often enough sexual gratification – without necessarily having to be trapped in that fantasy. Sometimes accepting the option (giving permission) that someone will pierce my balls can be more stimulating, than the physical feeling of him doing it. Pronouncing oneself to be owned, to be a slave, to be an object – is quite an intense impulse for any mind raised in obsessively freedom/independence/liberalism-loving society. Even if that libertine sexuality act contradicts the very idea of freedom. The universe is made of contradictions. Slave-thinking can be quite nice reflection upon freedoms one enjoys (or does not) that is less "philosophical" and more personally honest.

Many guys try to avoid pre-arranging too much of the scene, afraid of losing the spontaneity, surprise, non-mediated genuineness.  Along those lines, they skip the initial conversation, exchange of expectations and limits, often leading to unwanted harm or at least disappointment. How to get to know the partner deep enough, how to taste him, how to establish trust – without hitting the bottom of the boredom? Play with him. Interrogate him without CBT devices – send him inquiries via email. I have uncovered many would-be slaves who approached me without a trace of willingness to submit and to comply with simple request to answer a question. Guys who were not able to compose a sentence of what/how/why they want. How can a person, who is not able to send an image of his headless torso, get into real-life scene involving his nudity?

As much as the chastity belt can provide the excitement of control over the distance, sort of touch without touch, many mail slaves, cam slaves, web slaves demonstrate the potency of this concept. While screen does not mediate physical contact, smell, taste or even immediate presence – this can be also seen as an advantage of acquiring safety counterbalance to playing with risky/dangerous elements. Master has the remote control, slave has to find bravery to inflict pain upon itself, which adds twist to the kink. Besides the obvious, this mediation denudes the nature of d/s interaction – it is not just physical fuck, not just acts and impacts – in the first place it is a mind play, power exchange, control game, interaction, tease – where both parties must be willing to play with the free will.



ready and/or surprised

Can the dangerous games be played somewhat safe? Is the predictable scene fun at all? Is being at mercy of the stranger fun at all? How does the act differ from real violence? How far the play can go? How does our sexual body respond to risk? How does sexuality relate to (fear of) death?

Tao of Kink - Part 14: safety and danger

Not an ultimate paradox, just another of the contrasts involved in BDSM play. Obviously, we want both: To experience ownership while freely deciding to do so. Feeling pain without permanent marks. Do something risky without ending up in ER. Obviously, there is skill aspect to the thing: you need to know what body parts with what tools you can hit - to achieve certain intensity without reaching the point of no-more-sexual-stimulation. You need to know how to play with needles safely. You can’t get hung in the noose without serious knowledge of physiology. But there is also non-technical background to the security - that beats all the years of wearing leather and whipping meat:

Be genuine to yourself and the other one – speaking of health, experience, skills. Ask and say what you feel, not what you wanted/should/could feel.

Find point of comfort & trust. Start there, return there. Begin as human, end as human.

Be you, be there, be present. Feel, think, observe. Know what you do and why you do it, in every second, regardless of the role you act.

Explore, don’t do. Experience, don’t execute.

Communicate. Expectations, fears, feedback – while you are out of d/s context.

Honesty. Presence. Exploration. Experience. Communication - I’d call them, unspoken "safety keyword" standing above all those that are being agreed upon in thousands of dungeons. If one explores, he is there, curious, playful, willing to find out. He wants to see/hear/feel – that means also to notice the other one that he is playing with. That is the foundation of any safety. You are there. He is there. Attitude of exploration is the beginning of any juicy & carnal and also mindful & soul’s adventure I might think of. An ability to witness, participate, perceive, percept, sense and make sense of anything that is happening to oneself. Unlike being an object dragged into situations (doing the things or things being done upon it) you may eventually pull the emergency brakes. That is my dividing line between sex(i-ness) and (s)exercise. The ability to play and work with whatever obstacles/gifts handicaps/talents life brings "in the way". Not following the prescribed scenario, despite the circumstances. Instead, including the circumstances in the fluid script.

Ain’t it bizarre in flood of objectification, submission and even literal sensory deprivation fantasies?

Is it a contradiction?

Does fantasy and reality mutually exclude?

It does not matter if we speak of kink, missionary pose under the duvet or just romantic love and relationships. Most of the time I meet people executing instruction of a computer code. I call them "sex robots" and "relationship robots". If A then B. While C do D. They are following set of rules – if you are in relationship you should 1,2,3,4,5,… and you cannot 1,2,3,4,5,… Doing what is supposed to be done. Doing what everyone does. Doing how it is shown on screen. Both goals and a way to reach them, gains and feelings - are prescribed before they actually occur and before we can sense them and evaluate them.

Exploration means openness to what one might find out, without pursuing particular end. That is actually the essence of science - which is based on doubt and not belief. Before testing a hypothesis, one does not set what the result will be. While religion picks bits of reality and only those "scientific proofs" that fit their pre-set ideology, science dares to look at things without saying what it should see.

And how does that apply to sex?

Be it work, relationships or sexuality, the life-long history within the frame of Abrahamic culture has given us predisposition to bypass sanity checks. Some assume, that if they do it certain way (right way), it will feel good (because the books say so). If I see a porn, where the slave is whipped – and he moans with pleasure – we expect that while we whip the slave, he will be screaming with joy.

Is he?

Trapped in a "do" and "have" culture, we forget to "be" (there, ourselves, present) and genuinely "feel". We focus on imitation (hey monkeys!) and doing things the right way (hey believers!) instead of finding out how it really is for us. Many a "sex robot" will say: "I don’t want to do philosophy now, just want to enjoy a bit of sweat and juices. I don’t want to set up a relationship, just to play a bit." But this is not a fake fight – sex versus relationship. Both carnal and romantic joy, both monogamous and polyamorous approach – can work fine, in their own right, in their own measurement criteria. And all of them can be disaster. Sex for fun is a justified concept – if it is really "fun". Seeing my mate copying moans, grimaces, body movements that he has seen somewhere ("This is how it is supposed to be done.") - from often exaggerated and unrealistic porn or other people who copy it – I feel compelled to ask:

Where is that playfulness?

Where is that enjoyment?

Fetish (and) environment

Blasphemy! Can or could one think of the environmental awareness, ecology, all those cute fluffy or feathery or slimy animals (and I don’t mean puppies, furries and plushies), while reflecting upon his fetish cravings? Oh dear! Why to spoil sexy mood with … politics? work? seriousness? There’s nothing easier than putting them in one sentence and seeing how it feels …

If you expect another wise "how to" right away, the answer might be disappointing: No. Often these two ways of "being in this world" contradict and exclude each other. While we are trying to escape the notion of sin in sex, in sex with the same sex, daresay in kinky sex - there might be a bit of sin in it indeed, though not the one you’ll hear about in church. And not just "having non-organic cake from the vintage bakery around the corner" kind of sin.

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It does not seem to be matter of choice: Shall we add more weird-smelling cheap latex, haz-mat plastic or synthetic lycra to the heap of waste? Sexy sportswear produced in scary sweatshops of Asia? Affordable leather from India, the tanneries smell said to be the worst on Earth? Who knows about the neoprene, silicone and other cool new materials? What’s the footprint, which one is more damaging?

That does not mean you’ll run with your whole 200-pair-of-sneakers collection to the next trash bin. Keep what you have, use it as long as possible, reuse, reduce, recycle. Share! Remember that one of the first person to use a word "fetish" in modern times was Karl Marx. He described a phenomenon of "commodity fetishism" - which I like to allude to as well. We crave for the stories from the environments, where we (as more sensitive, urban, refined men) often do not have access to - locker-rooms full of sweaty sportsmen, soldier’s barracks, bikers’ rides. Thinking of the stories that could have happened, we buy items associated with them: clothes, gear, tools - and try to reach towards those stories through having sex with/around those items. And often we don’t get those stories, so we end up frustrated - buying another and another and another item. Shame is not with us though - this is the essence of our contemporary economy - and everyone plays the game. Whether they buy furniture, designer clothes or luxury vacation - thinking of "happy home", "being beautiful and attractive", "exotic adventure". We all fall for the stories from ads. Advertisement is selling items through stories. Stay with your fetish, but stay aware as well. 

So we are back to basics: "to buy or not to buy?"While you are shopping next time, holding that pretty thing in your hands, try to think what will you actually get. I know it is hard - and I’m not a saint either. I know how it is to be in fetish party where everyone has better gear than me. This is how the business is made. But - are you really lacking attention? Is it because of the gear? Would you go for that totally ugly shapeless guy in that perfect super-expensive leather uniform?  I know there are synthetic materials being made of plants. Not food (!), the waste part of plants (fibers). I know there are rare organic leather hide makers already. I wonder when the fetish business - that often sells to urban/refined/sensitive customers (with non-zero ecological feelings). I have bought the majority of my leather items from fetish flea-market … which is a wonderful idea! Especially if you are lucky to get something from a good looking fellow - his gear infused with his body smell, stories, sexual adventures. Or… you can use your hands. I did my sexy underwear on my own, as well as my first couple of jockstraps, cock-ring tools, metal harnesses, attempting at chastity device from recycled bottle plastic once. I could mix features I liked in different items to suit my taste or even implement ideas that I haven’t seen sold yet on the regular fetish market! You can reuse all kinds of waste materials - from old clothes to odd screws and rings and wires from home-improvement shops. On top of that - sewing, working with leather, or any sort of craft is an amazing meditation practice - which I find more enjoyable and fruitful than just "staring into the wall". While staying still just makes me restless, this "innocent" menial work allows me to focus and sort of switch off all the usual distraction channels as much as the impatience. You can empty your mind or let it speak on its own, bring what’s hidden deep or reflect upon your fetish cravings while holding and shaping the material in your own hands. You don’t only consume your kink, you can create with your fantasies.

Cruising

With all the gadgets, apps, dating websites … so safe (no one will punch you in face), so practical (search by whatever category you imagine) … why would anyone still go out? Loose time, risk having to say "no" straight in his face, run away, or even worse - risk having to gather courage and stop and look and say "so … "

If I don’t bump into anyone, I still have a nice walk in the nature.

Walking through the maze evokes something like primeval hunter instincts. The craved for adventure - that nowadays exists mostly only in tumblr blogs with images of hiking, campfires, tents, metal cups, skinny dipping, exotic landscapes. It’s a smell of promise of stories - that stir the still waters of our story-less "do sex" stereotype. If sex was a movie, cruising would be the one with spectacular exteriors - unlike artificial sets of soap-opera.

Sex is not a task to do - with evaluation at the end.

It’s a game, an invitation to be playful together, a change so welcome in the boring routine of porn-imitation, serious if not over-dramatic faces, sometimes ridiculously serious individualities. Sex is a way to approach each other, play a mutually enjoyable game, the joy you (both) feel (or not) being the only evaluation at the end. It’s "there in the real world" flavor of sex with other vulnerable socially-denuded scared-shitless "real people". 

It’s not about if you get the cock, it’s about how you get to it.

You can walk in infinite loops. He might be hiding just behind the next turn. The effort, the vague air of danger, the increase in heartbeat - the fact that you have to get to him - is more exciting than what will you do with him at the end. It’s a fairy-tale with a reward at the end. Though the end would mean nothing without all the perils of achieving it. Sex is not what happens when you get him, sex is the cruising game itself.

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