Above all else, this book is about the intimacy of belonging. It’s an attempt to open a door to that intimate space where we deeply long to belong – and where we might question our right to do so. Even while being obsessed with the taboos of sadomasochism and esoteric eroticism. This book is my claiming the permission to belong as a deviant, queer, and one not journeying along a straight line of normative society.

This book’s title is Rituals and Paradoxes as these elements are what have remained most relevant to me after over twenty years of exploration. I have no intention of resolving the paradoxes I’ve encountered because they are most valuable as unresolved mysteries which reside in both the conscious and subconscious mind. And yet this journey is also an embodied one and one of the spirit. 

There are practical rituals designed to nudge us towards experiencing both the desire to belong and the sense of deep belonging. That these are taboo paths we walk along does not obscure the longing for this intimacy.

It feels important to say that while I work as a bodyworker using sadomasochistic and esoteric modalities, this book is not aimed to teach anyone how to do my work. The book intertwines anecdotal stories from my private exploration, with contradicting bits and pieces from other philosophers and paradoxical sadomasochistic principles. What I’m trying to say is that if you, my dear reader, want to dive into something more deeply there might be better sources and I’ll include them at the end. Much of this book is symbolic, dreamlike and poetic more than a logical, rational and all-encompassing handbook. It speaks in the language of the brave heart’s desire rather than the safe mind’s (illusion of) knowing. I’m convinced that allowing it to remain this way will bring the most value to the right reader in the right time of their life.

Still, some measure of precision is in order. Let’s define a few terms. Sadomasochism could be defined as the eroticization of pain and power. The word came into being in the 1800s, but the practices are thousands of years old. The abbreviation ‘BDSM’ was coined only in the early 1990s as a catch-all term to include any form of dominance-submission and sadism-masochism play. The term ‘kink’ surfaced in the 2000s, possibly to make the same activities sound more cute and frivolous (and mainstream). I will stick here to the term I vastly prefer, the more traditional sadomasochism. This, I hope, will keep these musings timeless in a way trendy terms which come and go can never hope to do.

‘Esoteric eroticism’ can be defined as the ritualisation of sexuality as a path towards enlightenment or union with God/Divine. Similar to sadomasochism, this practice has existed for thousands of years in dionysian cults; more recently, words like ‘neo tantra’, and ‘sex magick’ attempt to convey this spiritual inclination in broad strokes.

This book is for me also an attempt to close one chapter of my life, and to possibly move on from it. Perhaps it’s time to build my private teahouse, or to focus my attention elsewhere. My wish here is to invite you to follow me into the labyrinthine, mysterious cave of rituals and paradoxes, there where belonging lies. And hopefully, I can tantalise you with the taboos and contradictory emotions they elicit which have so fascinated me. 
This book tries to achieve many things in parallel. It is primarily an invitation to venture along with me into the realms of sadomasochism and esoteric eroticism. But at the same time, it’s an attempt to break down the psychology and sociology at work behind the scenes with references from a few hundred years back in academia. I know it might be much to ask for my readers to follow along down such winding rabbit holes. Hence I’ll alert you before going off too far on these detours if you would prefer to skip ahead. 

In addition, the book contains many intimate stories from my private play, mostly drawn from old handwritten diaries on my bookshelves. And my personal photography documenting enigmatic intimacy rounds out these dives into the eros of my private psyche. By including these, I aim to provide a vision of how these abstract and philosophical ideas may come to play themselves out in real life. Play. There’s a word that will be often repeated in this book. It is all a play, after all. 
Additionally, a play of words opens every chapter in some sort of poetic form. These sometimes forebode what is to come, sometimes simply reflect upon a subject from a more esoteric perspective. For me, the best way to approach the esoteric side of eroticism has been through rituals, so I have also decided to include five recipes for the rituals which have helped me befriend the five paradoxes that this book is structured around. It’s a lot, I know, dear reader, but in the end, the naive part of me wants to simply say – trust me; I’m a careful gardener. 

So take my hand, follow me. Don’t be scared, I’ve got you.