“Every session with Andy is like opening a mysterious box of secrets – secrets that are deeply hidden under numerous layers of external garbage that I tend to call ‘self’. I never know what I’ll find inside. I come with some messy armful of things…” Lena
My present work aims to create magical rooms where people can rest, heal and grow in their relationships to surrender, power and desire. I move between art and therapy. In the arts, I venture for the maximum risk I can afford in the present to challenge the status quo. Therapy is the opposite by being the safest possible road leading to things known to restore balance and goodness. Both require a special kind of bravery.
Many of my clients have experienced abuse of power, often sexually or socially, resulting in an ever-controlling attitude towards life with no room for surrender. They often feel simultaneously ashamed and attracted to their desires. While I don’t believe in cathartic releases, I rather offer slowly befriending a new, more functional and exciting reality. Intimately learning to ride the demons that once hunted, so to speak.
At the most basic level, I work with bodies. In the present moment. Inviting them to participate in a new experience that may transcend into the spiritual. My modalities include conscious and consensual sadomasochism, esoteric eroticism, Japanese rope bondage, European theatre studies, medical massage therapy, and neuro-somatic teamwork, each representing an important period of my life. But most importantly, I believe in dedication to ‘the way’. The way of being. In Japanese, it is dō. Over the years, I’ve studied sado, the way of tea; kado, the way of flowers; and aikido, the way of directing energy while in motion. It’s the same way walked in the many Eastern mystery schools. But don’t worry, my dear unknown friend, it’s fundamentally ritual and practical, and you probably won’t notice unless you want to.
I left my ordinary career about ten years ago to walk a simpler life. Now I travel based on an agenda curated by a handful of lovely retreat organisers around Europe and a demanding make-believe family in the Japanese countryside. In between travels, I’m available for sessions and initiations in Stockholm. I avoid working online, so please don’t ask unless you intend to see my face. Currently, my face can be found on the following occasions in the order of occurrence.
…another collection of flowers wrapped in more newspaper and the same paper with the same instructions. I soon realise that I learn more from how my teacher greets me in the morning and brews tea than from her instructions about cutting leaves, shaping branches and picking flowers. There is a way of being, being taught, by being.
More photos by Estonian photographer Olavi Sõna that capture a session with me and Heidi Hanso for the February edition of the women’s magazine, Eesti Nainee.
…and then they get to tie each other. If I have their consent, I like them to switch partners and roles. Circularly and ceremonially, moving from man to man, sometimes even with their eyes closed, to embrace each meeting as a wave of the ocean. And keeping the experience about themselves rather than forming a relationship. Some laugh and cry, others moan and blush, and some feel nothing. And that is just as it should be.
Woman Magazine Eesti Nainee: …many men who come to my retreats are performance-oriented towards external success. They must have a good job, an expensive car, a nice house and a beautiful, well-groomed woman so that others can see the man’s success. But often they don’t know at all what they like. If such a man is deliberately taught how to consciously and consensually dominate, he can focus on his needs, which can be a healing experience.
Why black and white only? Because it creates a dream-like abstraction from reality. That is already there in my play. The sadomasochistic power game we play is not real because it’s conscious and consensual. And once it ends, we are back to the status quo. But we allow ourselves to fall in love with the question; what if this was forever?
2023 is here. And I’m starting the year off in solitude in the Japanese mountains outside Osaka. I aim to work on my book project while walking the woods, relaxing in the hot springs, and learning my new camera. Here is what I know so far. The working title is Rituals and Paradoxes, which will be roughly 400 coffee table-sized pages. So it’s totally a tome. The bulk describes five paradoxes I’ve encountered during my twenty years of exploring sadomasochism and esoteric eroticism.
Being and Doing
Self-sacrifice and Letting go
Selfishness and Holding space
Polarity and Unity
Reality and Symbols
So I think a key to dominance in a sadomasochistic play is being the one less needy for sex. Sometimes I joke that when meeting a new play partner, she will have to beg desperately on her knees before I would fuck her. And if the power more turns me on than the sex, I’ll probably enjoy denying her even more. So the sadomasochistic play is a game of eros. Of course, it works almost the same with a non-man playing the dominant role, but they can usually satisfy their need in many ways without allowing the man to actually fuck. And most heteronormative men only know one way to pleasure themselves when a woman is around, which is the penis in the pussy sex. Then, of course, some people practice play without involving the eros, so this doesn’t apply to everyone. But when I meet a new submissive play partner, she realises she is probably the more desperate one, and then she often loses everything.
Currently busy with my book project, there is something that I often think about—the relationship between surrender and connection. However, while writing, I realize that I dislike the term connection. It’s so vague. Instead, I think intimacy is the thing. Or maybe trust. The next Point of Surrender is in May. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Remember that particular song for a festival or retreat? The one that made that exercise so extraordinary. I’m often asked for music and playlists, and almost always, I’m actually DJ:ing while teaching, so there is no one playlist. However, here is a yearly mix of what I liked and played for the past months. Enjoy.
Two more weeks until the sixth edition of the Point of Surrender, the five-day couples retreat I do with Lin Holmqvist, “Where BDSM meets Tantra”, is one point of surrender. Every time we make this retreat, I realize that Tantra and BDSM become more and more of a modality to understanding the dynamics of a relationship. So ceremonially scaling down the noise of the surrounding everyday life makes space to experience the many seedlings that continuously grow into the foundation of a relationship. And that making of space, of silence, and sharing it with other like-minded has given birth to some of the most touching expressions of love I’ve ever experienced. And also some of the saddest realizations about what a relationship really is. But that, I guess, is the nature of things.