What happens in a ritual? Somehow, my usual answers that there is nothing to learn or do, that it’s just about being one’s authentic, raw, deviant self, doesn’t seem to help at all. We still want to know: OK, but what actually goes on, what should I do? Before I try to help out by being specific about that, let me add one more piece of esoteric philosophy for you to keep in mind while reading further: To breathe in and to breathe out. That is the doing. In between, there is a pause of nothingness. That is the being, and that is where the magic happens.
Now let’s fill in that nothingness. There is this game I like to play where we confess our forbidden fantasies as a story, and then summarise its essence in two or three words. We then vote on what fantasies we will turn into a ritual to be acted out together. Here are some of my most cherished scenarios witnessed and participated in over the years.
The blinded. Imagine yourself sitting alone in a dark room; you can feel the carpeted floors underneath your body and the slight chill in the air. Suddenly something changes a vibration in the space around you: it’s 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 tongues kissing, many eyes watching the edge approaching ever closer. Never quite getting there. Forever reaching.
The hunter and prey. There is something in the primal eros. To hunt, claim and conquer. Not for survival but pure pleasure. This is a total taboo in modern society, where flirting must be tactful and desire moderated. Thus the hunter observes every move of its prey, surveying its surroundings, every moment imagining the pleasure of claiming it. Finally, moving in for the kill. In the final movement, the surrender is complete – orgasming in the tiny death.
The bonded statues. Nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no way to move. You are placed in a forest of human bodies, shaped to perfection. At the edge of your endurance, you remain. You can feel the attention of your creator. Maybe there is a reward if you wait long enough, or perhaps 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 sea of bodies. The orgy is a ceremony as you slowly soak in warm oil. You can let go of your egocentric desires and dedicate yourself to the movements at this moment.
The women fucking men. You are invited to a fabulous dinner. The setting is heteronormative. Couples fine dining, drinking wine together. But there is a secret agreement. After the dessert, the men will be bent over the table and fucked. Energetically or in the flesh. Some people joke that heteronormative guys only understand consent when 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 should be taught more. Here, you are given a unique opportunity to be under watchful eyes, instructed and evaluated. Your teachers will praise and punish you, ensuring 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 erotic temple.
The funeral. This one is more of a bonus. Years ago in Berlin, I participated in a retreat using family constellations to look into the sexual shadow and then arranging 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 judgments 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 kinds of rituals had a significant impact on my life. It always leaves me in awe. No special skills are needed, but one must be ready for it, through presence, attentive listening and vulnerability.