“Show me how you are feeling right now.”
“I don’t want to.”
Her spine is bent and twisted to the limit. She is bound and exposed, but yet her face is expressionless. I’m lying next to her, looking. The beautiful eyes of willingly surrender. The contrast between carefully dressed and exhibited skin. Tight and restricting ropes and organic and symphonious shapes. So many times have I seen this before. But not with her. Here something is absent, may be missing. I get worried.
“Because I don’t want that to be the focus,” she tells me. “I already know my suffering, and I’m curious about you.”
The visual elements are there, but something is different. She is observing me and slowly the focus in me shifts towards my feelings. How does it feel when someone trusts me this much? What do I want to do when she is allowing my desire to express itself? Do I trust her to show myself?
I see a power dynamic going on right here and an opportunity. By not showing emotions, one is controlling the situation and preventing the fall into surrender and submission. The emotional flow most common in polarity play is a feedback cycle of the doer being encouraged by the other person and thus resulting in more things being done, in escalating arousal. As the doer, I might have a desire in what I want to see in my partner, a particular shape, emotion, or a place where only I can take them, but the focus is still on them.
Not going down this route, creates an emotional space, that is an opportunity for the doer to explore their body and emotions. I did a simple but fantastic exercise with choreographer and filmmaker David Bloom where we took turns in feeling the skin of another using our skin and feeling our skin using the skin of the other. And I notice as primarily a doer and as mostly a man, the body parts where I’m most used to feel myself on another, is my genitals and my lips while I use the rest of my body to explore the others. Meaning that I’m more comfortable with consuming the pleasure of others, than feeling my own.
Looping back to our session, I feel grateful for the opportunity to explore myself as the doer, and how my partner is my witness in that process. And this is something I want to create more space for in my work.