Carl Jung wrote: Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darkness’s of other people. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.
Are you curious about BDSM and looking for a way to get started with a partner, friend or lover? As you probably know, BDSM is an umbrella abbreviation for Bondage, Dominance, Submission, Sadism and Masochism, and it connects deeply to various tantric ideas about polarity, presence and vulnerability.
This weeks musing is kind of a continuation of Four languages of power, as it asks – how can touch be a symbol for so much. I first got in contact with this idea of the symbolic body after leaving my career job to study medical massage therapy. Before this, touch had almost always been sexual for me, especially when involving naked people. I remember having massive anxiety in our school’s clinic when working with neck-and-shoulder pains. To help a patient long term, one needs to release the pectoralis minor muscle, and my problem was that this muscle sits under the breast on a female body. I quickly learnt the difference between touching the skin to arouse a partner, and simply moving an impractical piece of meat covering a tiny but very tense muscle.
In a BDSM-play, there is a leader hat worn by person suggesting the path forward. The ways available to pick from depends on the relationship between the dominant and the submissive. At first glance, it may look like the hat always sits with the dominant. However, the submissive often gets to wear it, both consciously and unconsciously. For example, when given the task to pleasure the dominant, or to set up an elaborate serving ritual. The hat can also be taken by the submissive when being a brat and looking for “punishment”. I like to view this a suggestion more intensity, rather than something negative. So the leader hat can shift around during a session, and this is healthy.
This weekend I participated in an online gathering called “The Orgasmic and Loving Couple”. My contribution was to be part of a rope bondage performance. So I started to write about the theme to understand it, and the word that became most salient to me was “couple”, in the spirit of, being two instead of one. This enables a whole range of experiences when one can relate to something outside of themselves. Something that gives feedback and that is not an object, but a subject equal to oneself–usually this a person, or an animal. There is a form of currency involved, one that symbolizes the value of being a “couple” and that is trust.
Writing this week’s musing is an ambiguous task. Since I’m in the teaching crew of the European Men’s Gathering, I sometimes join discussions on the Maniphesto email list. Recently someone asked – What is the impact of male sexuality on society?
On Saturday the foolish of May, we hereby invite you to participate in our Annual Gathering and Performance: the Dance of Fools.
I’ve recently participated in some online calls to talk about BDSM, and the returning question is how do I play “safe” so I can “surrender” – and yet again I realize that it’s one of the subjects I never really wrote about clearly. There are three different points I want to cover – pre-negotiated consent, the role of a shared fantasy, and the skill of on-the-fly consent.
To surrender is to fall.
To fall in trust, that we will be caught, by another, or by life.
We arch our spine out of balance, to where we lose control.
Backwards into the unknown. To the place that we can’t see.
We expose our heart, our neck, and our belly, as symbols of trust.
We are vulnerable, but yet strong.
We are suspended in time – forever falling.
So the question – when you create a power dynamic, or a polarity, what is it actually that you hand-over as the submissive person? I believe that surrender is like a seed you plant, and as it grows one hand over more and more of themselves. Each step of the growth process requires another kind of trust. If one finds themselves stuck and not being able to deepen the surrender, or if the submission feels more like an act then these ideas might prove helpful.
These eight worldly conditions, monks, keep the world turning around, and the world turns around these eight worldly conditions. What eight? Gain and loss, fame and disrepute, praise and blame, pleasure and pain…