Workshop: Shame and Predicament (2020)
“Before modern psychology considered masochism a disease, Christianity considered it the cure.” -Lyn Cowan
In this workshop, we will move from the physical to the emotional, on a journey through pain and predicaments. I believe that many people start as physical sadists and masochists because it is safer to play with the body than the mind, but eventually, we are all curious to see what happens when we start to mess with our ego and pride. In one way, the main focus of this workshop is trust – how to embody it and move with it. Our primary tool will is rope bondage because it is versatile and comes with a long legacy of shame play while providing the opportunity to challenge the body significantly.
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In the physical play, we will start in slow and static pain that is usually easier to accept, and then transition into predicaments where the bottom is forced to pick between two evils – turning it into an emotional dilemma. Finally, the ties will altogether remove the element of physical pain to give more and more space for the emotional experience. We will explore the relationship between shame and pride and humiliation and being humble, and how our everyday self shows up in our BDSM play. I wrote a long text about it many years ago that still sums up my take on shame – read it here.
Finally, we will go into the idea of being seen and witnessed – how that affects us as social human beings, in a group and a society. Exhibitionism and voyeurism are core elements, but we will eventually touch upon many fetishes like salirophilia, drooling, forniphilia, pet play, the inevitable failure, and of course rope bondage. And if there is time, we might touch upon the idea of theatre and performance.
More concretely in this workshop, we will focus on ties that are technically not complicated but has a lot of emotional charges and how to play in them. Most of the scenarios use suspension lines to manipulate the body using an external point and extending them into semi-suspensions. My reason for this structure is to include broader BDSM subculture that might not (yet) see the charm in complicated patterns and acrobatic postures. As a more experienced rope practitioner, you easily can take the concepts and apply them to more complicated ties.
As the rigger, you must know the single-column tie and how to wrap the body in rope. And it is a bonus if you can attach and handle suspension lines. As the bottom, you must have the experience of being tied and how you react physically and emotionally. Especially in relationship to breath, blood circulation, and nerve functions. Together you must be open to exploring BDSM play and sexuality in a workshop space. And have a secure way to communicate before and during a scene.