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Suffering in bondage (2019)

My first five-day tantric rope journey is over with seven happy couples properly introduced to how, and more importantly, why I tie. One of the most beautiful things of having so much time together is to go deep into the more taboo aspects of rope bondage. Because I fear that they often are misunderstood if there isn’t enough time. I usually break it down in five taboos, and sometimes I even rank them (as below) based on how open people (that I met) are to exploring them.

The first taboo I talk about is letting go of control – this one is straightforward for people to accept because almost everyone is longing for it. The second taboo is sexuality and being turn on by domination and submission – this is also a sweeping fantasy. So far, so good.

The third taboo is using pain to gain presence – this can be scary because we are trained and sometimes even traumatized to fear pain. But most people don’t want the fear to run their life, so they are open to experimenting. When they find out that accepting pain leads to more notable presence and that the pain goes away, then it becomes an easy bargain. Read more about this here.

The fourth taboo is being shamed for one’s self-doubts and then loved for the same reasons – this is a very tricky one. First, one must understand that our self-doubts 99% of the time are self-made and self-sabotaging. Then we can allow them to be exposed in bondage to become vulnerable. Which opens up for the vulnerability to be met with love, and will enable one to see themselves in another light. Read more about it here.

The fifth taboo is to suffer for something willingly, and this is what I want to write about today. But before looking at suffering in bondage, let’s look at suffering in today’s everyday life.



I think our relationship to suffering in everyday life is very harmful. Especially living in Sweden, that is protected from significant suffering for such a long time. Add the instant gratification culture of social media where we are being taught to receive only positive experiences instantly. Like like like. The result is that we are no longer geared to deal with hard and challenging experiences, and hence, we are not ready to suffer.

There is an idea that I think springs out of Christianity and Judaism, that when Adam and Eve left the garden of Eden and became human, they also became mortal. So their lives eventually would end with the slow decay of their body and mind. This realization, of course, is suffering. So what do we do? Already in the bible, they talked about Nihilism, the idea that life is ultimately pointless, so let’s have as much hedonistic fun as possible before it’s over. But this doesn’t seem to result in experiences that feel meaningful. Instead, they came with another proposal – to sacrifice. That is to suffer for something worth the suffering. I’m not very religious, but I think this is an extraordinary insight. It is the same idea as the marshmallow test for kids.

I believe if we move towards the east, through the Baltics into Russia, and finally into Asia, the attitude toward suffering changes. A Russian friend told me that in their culture, love is suffering. Something that turns ones life up-side-down and makes one do crazy things. Love is not like the romantic comedies of the west. Similarly, in traditional Chines medicine when it comes to the fire element. Love is a part of the fire and too much causes suffering. So you should learn how to deal with it, how to balance it, so the energy stuck in the fire element moves into the earth element. The earth element represents groundedness and harmony — for example, a long-term relationship. I’m not a Chinese medicine man, nor a Russian philosopher, but I think there is insight here too.

Coming back to modern Sweden, I think suffering is lost here. We no longer learn how to suffer or to see the beauty in it. And that is why it becomes taboo to suffer in bondage.



In a way, the taboo of suffering in bondage relates deeply to the third and fourth taboo (pain and shame). But at the core of the suffering taboo is that it happens for a reason. In my bondage, the reason is often the enjoyment of the person tying, and the relationship it creates within the session. So the suffering is a display of submission, and this quickly becomes very provocative in our western society where we strive to be so independent. So independent that we end up lonely, and submission is opposite to independence. Of course, we can still be dependent without submitting to or suffering for someone, but the submission and suffering is an aspect of bondage that I believe is important. Because it grants access to a part of ourselves that we usually don’t want to see. The key is always consent and freely choosing the time, the partner and the reason to suffer. It is empowering to suffer for a worthy cause.

My experience is also that we humans are made to suffer when there is a reason. When we accept the pain (that is not dangerous) the body generally releases endorphins that make us feel good. When the fear of our self-doubts no longer haunts us but instead we get confronted with it and have it proven false, we cry and feel better. The opposite is hiding from our suffering, and this makes us tense up and builds a protective wall around us that isolates us from the world.

I recently got the sharing in one of my workshops from a man that was tied in a very exposed way that made him feel ashamed. But for the first time in his life, he was seen in his shame instead of hiding it away. And this was for him so healing.

A key to understanding the fifth taboo is to that both pain and shame are experienced for our benefit. Therefore we still focus on ourself. But in the fifth taboo, we take it one step further and go into suffering for another person. We can make that person the reason that is worth the suffering.

In understanding rope bondage, there are endless reasons. For example, one can think about it as “giving up control” or as “getting served to give up responsibility”. With the first reason the person being tied is giving up their power, but with the second reason, they are establishing their power. So to impact what one will experience in the bondage, one can move their conscious focus to the particular purpose that they feel curious to explore. Like for example suffering.

So when people come to me for private sessions they often ask – is it painful? And then I ask them for what is your reason for being here. And yes, we can choose it to be painful because we want to explore suffering as a reason. I write ‘we’ because it is a choice of both the person tying and being tied if they’re going to go there and be that vulnerable with each other.

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