Remember that particular song for a festival or retreat? The one that made that exercise so extraordinary. I’m often asked for music and playlists, and almost always, I’m actually DJ:ing while teaching, so there is no one playlist. However, here is a yearly mix of what I liked and played for the past months. Enjoy.
Two more weeks until the sixth edition of the Point of Surrender, the five-day couples retreat I do with Lin Holmqvist, “Where BDSM meets Tantra”, is one point of surrender. Every time we make this retreat, I realize that Tantra and BDSM become more and more of a modality to understanding the dynamics of a relationship. So ceremonially scaling down the noise of the surrounding everyday life makes space to experience the many seedlings that continuously grow into the foundation of a relationship. And that making of space, of silence, and sharing it with other like-minded has given birth to some of the most touching expressions of love I’ve ever experienced. And also some of the saddest realizations about what a relationship really is. But that, I guess, is the nature of things.
Recently my musing has become much more silent. The reason is that I’m working on a book by putting my thought process from the last five years into a single narrative and combining that with some personal stories. It will probably take a year; meanwhile, I’ll try to post more pictures—this time from the autumn woods in Austria.
Perceiving trauma as a protection mechanism, I think, helps. Someone had a shocking experience and is trying to avoid it again. And it makes sense; however, our nervous system doesn’t know if the circumstances change. Simply the difference between a kid being forcefully wrapped in a blanket until it’s impossible to breathe compared to an adult being consciously and consensually tied up with ropes. So feeling panic and a need to escape when wrapped tightly makes sense for some people, while others just feel hugged and held.
Playing with BDSM forges an emotional bond. And there is nothing strange in that. It’s even what many people keep looking for because they want to feel. And they want to belong. However, this connection might remain for a long time, like unfinished business. And therefore cause harm, hiccups and heartache. Some might even enjoy this emotional masochism while walking down rainy streets listening to the gloomy words of Nick Cave. It might even be romantic. But for others, it’s better to learn how to cut this invisible cord.
But what happens instead is some people burst into an explosion of silliness and start to play. They want to have fun dying. Others pull together, by a magnetical sexual force, in one last expression of intimacy and horniness. But most meditate, eye-gaze, slow dance, and cry in a hug. But there is a lot of loneliness also—a lot of desperation. Maybe someone was never loved, never kissed, never embraced by intimacy. And if it never happened in my entire adult life, then it has to happen now, right, in the end? So I need to make it happen. This is my last chance. CAN’T YOU HEAR MY DESPERATION ROARING?
From the submissive side, there is relaxation when I accept that someone else controls my desire. And that they’ll clearly show me when something is wrong. The rejection doesn’t have to be loud and theatrical, but it can be subtle, maybe only understandable by the two souls involved in the play. There is an elegance to it. To be so attentive and in tune with another. And how needy can I allow myself to be? Knowing that I’ll be lovingly held inside of my desperation.
Within psychology, the pathological definition of fetishism is having one’s sexual attraction tuned towards inanimate objects or body parts not traditionally viewed as sexual. Shoes and feet are typical examples. For it to actually be pathological, one must be unable to function sexually without the fetish. While, on the other hand, it’s widespread to “have a fetish for something”, I think the word kink is a better description for the casual obsession with a material, like leather or latex. From a mythological perspective, pathological fetishism, I think, can be seen as the object depriving the individual of their human function (forging intimate connections, fucking, and reproducing) and replacing it with worshipping the fetish in a god-like relationship. And here, of course, the reference to BDSM is apparent. In submitting to an object, and sometimes even becoming the object oneself, like fully enclosing oneself in leather.
Because when the hard no is spoken, it breaks something. It is supposed to; it’s the whole point. Sometimes I think about the difference between playing with sensations and power. When the feeling, rather than the meaning, of a spanking, is the goal. Then there is no dynamic to be broken, but when the power play is the purpose, maintaining a fantasy or fiction becomes a key.
Finally, the tongue, I almost forgot it. It grows surprisingly deeply into the throat. Tying it, pulling it out and directing its movement affects the whole throat and, therefore, the spine, the limbs and the entire body. There is something animal-like about it—to interact with the world using the tongue. Licking as a sign of appreciation and drooling as a sign of excitement, and tasting as an exploration. It’s one of the first evaluations of what goes into the body and what doesn’t.
I have a nightmarish memory from the last SALONGEN. A man half-jumping around on his way home with one leg in his trousers while trying to say thank you and exchanging numbers with the other visitors. It’s so sad and selfish. His party was over; he was going home. By acting this way, he wasn’t only breaking the rules of the play party but also making a statement that the party was ending for everyone because he was on his way home. When he said thank you to me, I wanted to ask him never to come back again.
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. 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?
When things go wrong in an intimate or intense situation, it’s often constructive to deal with it directly. Things might hurt more than expected when one is vulnerable and the armour is off. Bad feelings can be like little monsters, at first completely harmless, but if it’s locked in behind the armour, they might grow and become more and more of a problem. And next time the armour comes off, there is a massive beast on an emotional rampage waiting to come out.