You can listen to this musing here or read it below.
Breath in and breath out. That is the doing. In between, there is a pause of nothingness. That is the being, and that is where the magic happens. Sometimes, my work has one immense frustration; it sells out quickly whenever the subject is rope bondage. But whenever there is a play party or temple retreat or the in-between space, people get hesitant, and when I ask why, the most common answer is being afraid of the mystery. They wonder what there is to learn. And it doesn’t help when I want to reply; simply, there is nothing to learn or do. It’s just about being you. The raw kinky brave, and vulnerable you. Rope bondage is somehow wrapped in this layer of concrete and safe doing, as knots are to be tied. Most people that follow me know that the value of my teaching isn’t in the technique; it’s in the emotional journey. That’s why I am “famous” for the tantric ropes. I think the play party is potentially so much more profound because there isn’t a technique to obscure the vision, like the trees blocking the way of the woods.
So what concretely happens at a play party? We sometimes play a game where the participants confess a deep longing or fantasy as a story, then summarise its essence in two or three words, and finally, we vote. The play party turns the results into a ritual that we together act out. Below are some of my favourite scenarios over the years investigating the subject.
The blinded. Imagine yourself sitting alone in a dark room; you can feel the soft, warm floors underneath your body and the slight chill in the air. Suddenly something changes a vibration in space around you, the presence of another body. Gradually coming closer, you can feel the body heat radiating into your heart. The first touch is electric. Total strangers, in the dark, slowly discovering each other.
The endless edging. You are either giving or receiving pleasure. The choice is essential. As the receiver, you are never allowed to touch yourself. All your satisfaction is at the mercy of others. There is only one rule: no climax, no end, no orgasm, just endless teasing and touching. More than often, many hands are touching, many tounges kissing, many eyes watching the edge coming closer and closer. Always staying on the edge. Forever.
The hunter and prey. There is something in the primal sex drive. To hunt, claim and conquer. Not for survival but pure pleasure. And it’s a total taboo in modern society, where flirting should be tactful and desire moderated. So the hunter starts observing the prey, how it moves, carefully surveying its surroundings, and then imagining the pleasure of claiming it before moving in for the kill. Then, in the final movement, the surrender is complete—orgasming in the tiny death.
The bondage statues. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, no way to move. You are placed in a forest of human bodies, shaped to perfection. At the edge of your endurance, you stay. You can feel the attention of your creator. Maybe there is a reward if you wait long enough, or maybe the wait is the reward itself. There is only one way to find out; stay as the perfect bondage statue you are made to be.
The oil orgy. Warm slippery skin is everywhere. Intensely sensual, you slip and slide among bodies. You are rediscovering your body in contact with others. Time ceases to exist as oxytocin floods your nervous system. There is a deep sense of belonging in this living body of bodies. The orgy is a ceremony, as you are slowly soaking in warm oil. You can let go of your egocentric desires and dedicate yourself to the movements is this moment in time.
The women fucking men. You are invited to an extraordinary dinner. The setting is heteronormative. Couples fine dining, drinking wine together. But there is a secret agreement. After the dessert is served, the men will be bent over the table and fucked. Energetically or in the flesh. Some people joke that heteronormative guys only really understand consent when they are taken from behind. Total surrender by a loving force. That’s how sisterhood is born.
The school of love. Love-making is an art that is often not taught. But you are given a unique opportunity to be under the watchful eye, instructed and evaluated. Your teachers will praise and punish you. To ensure that you will perform as expected the day you finally meet your true love. You will be trained in love-making secrets, like a Dionysian cult in an ancient tantric temple.
The funeral. This one is more of a bonus. Years ago in Berlin, I participated in a retreat on using family constellation to look into the sexual shadow and then arranging play parties in the evenings to act them out. One night when talking about fantasies, someone said funeral. A friend and I dumped all our votes into it and ended up burying an older man in pillows, lighting candles and singing made-up hymns over his grave. It was beautifully surreal.
The watcher. Imagine a circle of white blank masks watching you. Their faces are expressionless, so looking at them mirrors all your judgements about yourself. They want to see you in your nakedness and vulnerability. Some people strip, others sing crying. Someone masturbates, and another confesses their secret crush.
Participating in these fantasies had a significant impact on my life. It always leaves me in awe. And it doesn’t require any special skills. All that is needed is presence, listening and vulnerability. Still, I think one must be ready. One of my favourite artists is Marina Abramović. If you don’t know her, then check out her work. She has a retreat called the artists prepares, where the participants get to prepare themselves to have an experience through fasting, meditation, and movement. And to feel safe in themselves, balancing safety and bravery, and learning to listen to their desire. I think creativity and sexuality are very close to each other. So when participating in a play party retreat, you will also be taught how to prepare. Because I think, if one doesn’t prepare mentally, then the kink will only be physical. It will be just the whips and knots, without the emotions and mystery—the doing without the being.