You can listen to this musing here or read it below.
I notice that I often muse about gender roles and BDSM. I perceive them as archetypical ingredients to cook up a personality. One can experiment safely with what one “likes” (the social and genetic conditioning) or go on a brave adventure into the unknown. But, of course, embarking on the journey packed and ready is a privilege, rather than being forced onto it. I ventured from being almost asexual vanilla to being extremely turned on by powerful women in the 90th (Courtney Love, I love you) to being wannabe gay in the leather techno scene. Later I became a slave in a whole new country before exploring my more dominant side. Almost always as some aspect of a man.
Once, someone asked me; but can’t a woman be dominant? Because I mainly write about being a man, and of course, women are. It’s just that I have much less experience with that, or my experience is from being a mistress’s slave about fifteen years ago in Montreal. And the difference is vast. Sometimes I joke that as a man, you need to prove your worth first and that you are not “one of them, the bad men”, and then a submissive woman might submit to you. However, as a woman, submissive men say that they are instantly willing to give anything as long as anything includes everything on their wishlist and nothing more. I think it’s because most people long for surrender rather than submission; the musings What do you surrender? and Surrender vs Submission touches more upon this. Maybe the offering of submission must be greater than the self-pleasure of surrender. Divinity might be the most fitting word. The opposite of the beastly carnal love of the flesh. So, how divine are you in your dominance? Especially as the leather daddy dom?
A dear Finish friend of mine has been teaching a nordic mixture of shamanism and tantra, and in that legacy, men can’t be tantra teachers because tantra represents the mystical left hand-path of the unknown being. And men are practical and worldly right-hand doers. That’s why men run patriarchal capitalism. But, of course, these are symbolic gender roles that are questioned and maybe also dissolving. The symbols are being lost. And instead, all that remains is the right-hand path for everyone. In the deep Scandinavian woods, things are still different. Men are assisting servants as valuable tools for raising the kundalini energy, but they are neither gods nor goddesses.
One of my favourite movies is The Ceremony about the french dominatrix Jean de Berg. She was the muse of the writer and filmmaker Alain Robbe-Grillet. When he died, she inherited a countryside chateau and became the infamous dominatrix JdB. The movie starts with an interview with a man obsessed with belonging to her. He wants her initials cut into his bleeding flesh. But what does it mean to belong? That she is always in his mind; that he is always thinking about her. Her kink is to orchestrate ceremonies. Men are trained as dogs fighting over a piece of meat. A woman gives birth to a raw egg to be hatched over her head. Jean de Berg is old, always dressed in black, somewhere between a nun and a theatre director. She has two lovers; they undress her, wash her body, and make love to her. Always wearing blindfolds, as her skin is not to be seen. She is divine.
Whenever I watch the movie, I wonder what if she were a man? And no, it is impossible. A man can’t behave like that. He can be Hugh Hefner or Andy Warhol, but they are not divine. Maybe he can be Jesus, but he is not very dominant. He can be Prince, but Prince is no longer a he; he is a symbol. So I give up. Five, or maybe ten years ago, a tantric school called TNT (The New Tantra) turned cult under the abusive leader Alex Vartman. The more corrupted they became, the more Alex turned into a woman. Maybe it’s impossible to be a man and dominant and divine at the same time, so perhaps something needs to go.
I’m so curious about her. My inner bitch, as I like to call her. As a man that is into BDSM, mainly as the dominant, I always feel very care-taking. And it has been a conscious struggle to become more selfish and more focused on my own experience. And so many men that I meet share the same story. Maybe it comes from growing up in Sweden during the 80ths and 90ths. One of my first big eye-openers when getting into contact with tantra was the reconnection to my own body and my desires. During regular sex and BDSM sessions, I learned to shift the focus toward myself; from that, my definition of pleasure grew immensely. Sometimes I do this exercise in retreats, where people get to practice using their bodies, first to explore another, and then use the other to feel themselves. And many men report that they are most directly in contact with direct pleasure through their genitals, while the rest of the body is used to understand their surroundings. From an archetypical perspective, there are care-taking female archetypes, but they are usually mothers and not very sexy. While daddy issues, as a fantasy, are a thing.
Transforming from the care-taking man into the divine selfish bitch that’s using others for her direct pleasure and being worshipped for doing so; feels like a great challenge and curious calling. It’s like becoming an object of fetishisation; thigh-high shiny leather boots, the upper part of a military parade uniform, and a long single-tail whip. It’s funny when I remember one of my teachers in Japan telling me to;
- Dress in black
- Wear sunglasses
- Hide behind my partner because no one wants to see my ugly face
The more traditional bondage scene is extraordinary at putting the attention on the submissive. Maybe that is why almost everyone loves to be tied. And the divine bitch is very different. However, I think the narrative of one’s imagination is very personal. It’s like an invitation to explore another aspect of oneself. That is very similar to how I view BDSM and play in general, that it’s a safer frame without the dire consequences of life outside. So when I organise a party like SALONGEN (the parlour, poorly translated), the reason is very much to provide an arena for this exploration. For me, at this period in time, that is to find the marriage between divinity and domination, and maybe just maybe, that is found in my inner woman.