You can listen to this musing here, or read it below.
“She was no demi-mondaine who had taken a pseudonym to wage war upon the masculine sex, but the goddess of Love in person.”Severin, in Venus in furs
I recently wrote about my most archetypical client, “the masculine woman in the masculine world“. The feedback was excellent, so I’ll in this weekly musing talk about another common kind of client, the Venus in furs. She usually comes in some sort of relationship with a man. They can be secret lovers, single dating parents, or in a very passionate relationship. Fire is their defining element, and they talk about their previous relationships as grey and dull. Together they discovered tantra and BDSM and explore rope bondage, Wim Hof breathing techniques, and non-violent communication. They like to empower and challenge each other, and sometimes this blows up into violent fights with they fight fire with fire. “She is strong as marble and doesn’t back down.”, “He can stand like a rock when my emotions are storming”, and “Her fire fuels my heart”, etc., are things they appreciate about each other.
Beneath their passion, there is a subtle underlying power dynamic. He is usually older and more experienced, and attractive. Maybe he works out a little more, is a tiny bit more vain, and has a more refined style. If she is the middle manager in a big company, then he runs his own tiny start-up. Don’t get me wrong, from the outside, they both look amazing, successful, entrepreneurial, sexy, and chick. And they lift each other in front of the rest of the world. He has no problem being her shiny personal possession at the company dinners, and she gladly serves beer to the guys watching the football game. But in the end, he is a bit above her in most aspects of life, as he is more attractive, more educated, makes more money, and has more social grace. Some might say that this is just a reflection of the patriarchal society, yes maybe, but there is something deeper in the hierarchy between them. Deep down, he longs to be dominated by her.
I usually first meet this archetypical couple at a retreat, and they claim to be “playful switches.” Like, she enjoys him ravaging her sexually and leading her in tango, and he wants to learn how to tie rope and dual-wielding floggers. And they enjoy playing around with fantasies and stereotypes. A common sign that she is the Venus in furs is that whenever she is on the bottom in an exercise, there is a long list of demands regarding how she wants it. While when he is on the bottom, he just wants to feel her and experience her power. They often end up in conflicts when he is on the top because he balances a fine line between her specific taste and the idea that he should dominate and express his desire. If I ask her if maybe she is simply the alpha in their relationship, she often denies it because submissive slave men are weak and pathetic in her imagination. She wants a strong man slightly above her in the social hierarchy, which makes him worthy of being dominated. It makes the power trip even more extraordinary because the Venus in furs deserves the best. And he picked her because she can bring him down and finally dominate him.
However, their power dynamic is entirely subconscious. On the surface, they are the firey passionate couple that is exploring this sea of neo-tantric modalities. But, down in the oceanic depths, he is actually worshipping her, as the goddess, the Venus in furs. So, of course, he wants to learn the ropes and the floggers because he adores her pleasure. Comparing the male and the female anatomy, she has a much higher capacity of sensations. In my experience, women can surrender to more stimuli, where men end up in endurance. As a result, they can generate more kundalini energy (if you believe in that) and have more orgasms. So it’s not strange that women often end up in the centre of attention, independently of the power dynamic. If you (reading this) is a non-binary person, then I think it’s a mixture of nature and nurture, so if or how this applies to you depends mostly on how you relate to yourself.
I believe that many men dream about becoming more sensuous, and it takes its expression in many different fetishes and kinks, like sissyfication, chastity, and orgasm control. And many tantric practitioners are very well versed in moving the energy of another gender. But for this archetypical couple, he subconsciously worships her and empathically takes pleasure through her. And she believes in the heteronormative gender roles, that she should be the follower, all though a firey and a passionate one, but secretly she is controlling him. And they both take great pleasure through it.
When I meet this couple, I want to encourage them to bring this power dynamic into consciousness. To create a ritual for stepping out of the closet and into the hierarchy. Concretely, I ask her to make him her slave, only for an evening. Then, put a collar on him, and use a flogger to drive his passionate desire. I don’t think she should be sadistic and punish him, nor even care about disciplining him, but instead allowing herself to use him for her pleasure. Often she worries about how to respect him; if she makes him her slave. She picked this strong, prosperous and intelligent man for a reason, and that is her responsibility, to bring him down only to raise him up again, after their tour into the underworld, where she is the Venus in furs.
The expression Venus in furs come from the Leopold von Sacher-Masoch book with the same name, about a man falling deeply into a masochistic romance. It is dream-like and poetic and far from sadistic and hedonistic. I highly recommend reading it.