I’m planning for a new monthly BDSM-club in Stockholm. The pandemic is giving me oceans of time to figure out what I want to bring into this world. My thoughts circles around performativity. Over and over again. So in this weekly musing, I want to write about performance in relationship to BDSM-clubs. Many people I talk to are scared of performing. There are thoughts like they are not good enough, or that their kink is not kinky enough. When I was studying theatre, I spent a lot of time thinking about what one performs – is it telling a story, a display of a hard-to-acquire skill, or something only eye-catching beautiful, or even a political statement. I think what BDSM offers are presence and emotions.
What does it mean to be perverted? Or maybe a better question, when does something become perverted. The word has a pretty negative feel to it, but why is that? In a way, it’s a word that I love, because it describes a feeling, or behaviour, rather than “a thing”. The abbreviation BDSM feels technical in comparison. I’m reading a book called Deviant Opera with the subtitle Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage. It talks about why acts of BDSM is becoming a part of modern stage performance. I just started it so won’t say too much, and probably write more about it later. But it brought back the word deviant to me – to deviate from the norm.
Often when people come to me for private rope sessions, they express an interest in suspensions. The ideas about it are many; it can be “ultimate surrender”, defeating gravity, or flying. Maybe the peaceful faces often seen in bondage pictures are alluring—the beautiful suffering, that Japanese bondage has made almost iconic. In reality, hanging in ropes is both a physical and emotional challenge. I believe that there are two fundamental ways to handle hardship, generally in life, particularly in bondage.
“You helped me see my skeleton woman and I’m so fucking grateful for that. I was so bored with everyone around trying to make a good impression on me. So scared of what happens if I didn’t impress someone. If I didn’t make others need me and let go of my need to desperately hold on.
You were doing the strangest thing truly not giving a fuck how did it make me see you. All out of nowhere I just wanted to trust you so badly. I was so inspired and turned on by this. Not by you or what you did but just by this attitude.
Now I feel like I can fall in the rabbit hole of complete delirium but as long as I’m passionate it will carry me on like a parachute and so I can hold on to the ones I care about with open arms. I don’t have to be scared any more cause I see in the darkness how all the insanity can glow lighting up a path and make all the sense there is.”
I just came back from Gothenburg, where I taught a workshop around the question – can BDSM be spiritual? As a way to introduce power play beyond bedroom bondage, spanking and 50 Shades of Grey. The key pillars where power, space and ritual. As most of the participants were new to the subject, I reconnected to three common pitfalls. I like to see them as hidden traps, as they are the kind of mistakes that one doesn’t notice directly.
This weekly musing is a thought experiment on consent and the meaning of no. I write this as an invitation for contemplation on the grey zones of human interaction. If you are looking for a more concrete and practical first approach to consent in BDSM and tantra, then I recommend reading the text “Playing safer” instead.
This week I want to share one of my most valued things in life. That is insecurity. Or the idea of not having to know. Or to be sure. And it is reflected everywhere. It is the fundamental pillar of my life philosophy. Maybe and maybe not, says the businessman that turned into a Buddhist monk. I find it funny that I, a person that makes my living from teaching about polarities, put such a value of being in between them. Why is this? Maybe because of the mystery. To allow life to be a mystery. To be exciting.
My friend Michael is making an app called reLove that acts as a first point of contact for people curious about conscious relating, intimacy and embodiment. He asked me make a short introduction to practicing surrender – so here is my take on it. I hope you enjoy it.
BBC recently released their short documentary about me and my therapeutic rope bondage, and that led to a bunch of question around the subject of power, abuse and therapy. Being the victim of abuse is having ones power taken away. If the abuse is repetitive, the victim usually normalizes the behaviour, hence taking it for granted to have their power taken away. The result is generally that the person feels powerless and is unable to maintain healthy boundaries to people around them. It is like something has been taken away from them—a part of their spirit. But they are often unable to put the finger on it, as the traumatized state is the new normal. So why can rope bondage help, and what do I think is the keys to success?
This week I want to attempt to write about BDSM from a more philosophical and symbolic perspective. I do this to reach deeper because I experience that a logical approach limits me. I want to start in the ocean, as a symbol of life and motion. The depths can swallow me, and the waves can crush me. It is unpredictable and alluring. Temping me to let go. There is an ocean inside of me and an endless amount of unreleased potential. I’m 80% water. What would happen if I released its uncontrollable flow? Creative or destructive? Awesome or awful? Both at the same time. Ultimately the same. I have learnt to control my flow, to accept and respect the structures around me.
Did you do a beginner’s tantric rope workshop, and want to take the next step technically while still keeping the focus on the human connection?
Do you enjoy Andy more philosophical and experiential approach to bondage? And think that BDSM is more about power then whips and chains?
And do you prefer learning in small and intimate groups rather than big workshops? Great! Then this is the right thing for you.