What is found in-between sexuality and creativity? Celebration and meditation? A tribe and the egoistic self? Life is a theatre between reality and dreams. The room is a stage. People are performers and audiences in your existence. Our culture and norms are the rules of our drama. Our personalities are the masks we wear. And what happens when all this is temporary deconstructed? Leaving space for something new to emerge. A play without dire consequences. A co-creation from our subconscious dreams. A long lost desire. A utopian vision of the future. The answer is found together.
Three polarities in kink and sexuality (2021) - I'm on a continuous journey to understand kink and sexuality. In this work, I dig around in various subcultures, philosophy, psychology, religion and spirituality to find models that explain why I and others behave as we do. The abbreviation BDSM(F) is one way that splits kinky sexuality into bondage, dominance-submission (DS), sadism-masochism (SM), and sometimes adding an F for fetish. It is a helpful umbrella to gather under as a subculture, and it is kind of clear because it tells what is in focus. For example, DS on the power dynamic, while SM on the pain and suffering. But I think it's less helpful in explaining why. Acting as a gateway teacher, I sometimes simplify it into kink, that everyone has something that makes them tick, maybe a taboo, that they are excited and curious about. Or maniac, as they would say in Japan. And I think everyone does, and it's healthy to honour that inside oneself consciously. Anyhow, I've recently found another way to look at things when reading the book, The Essential Papers on Masochism. It's a condensed summary of 900 academic pages outlining what psychoanalysts have been writing about masochism from 1915 to 2005. While I don't think psychoanalysis is the best tool to build a society, I think it makes a brave attempt at understanding the human psyche. It is hilarious that Freud said that only a few percentages of humanity are possible to analyze and change, while the rest, I assume, are a fixed product of the environment. Okay, enough taking distance from Freud and co, because I think the seed they planted in me is valuable after all.
To consent is to feel together (2021) - When talking about consent, I often claim that trust is more important than consent. The modern usage of the word is to agree, often by defining the terms of the agreement. I'm okay with this, but not with that. The Swedish word we use is 'samtycke'; 'sam' means together, and 'tycke' is 'opinion' often related to thought. When people practice consent, it often seems to be defining what I want and what I don't want because it's important to get what one wants, right? Looking at the origins of the word, I think it offers another usage. The English word has two components; 'con' that means with or together, and 'sent', from the Old French 'sentire', that is to feel. To feeling together and I find this so much more beautiful.
Common pitfalls when playing with pain (2021) - Pain is both personal and relational. Let me explain what I mean. It is personal because it is subjective. No one can ever feel your pain. They can empathically imagine your experience but never actually feel it. In this way, we are all utterly alone in the end. But it is also relational because how we experience pain is greatly influenced by how we relate to its source. Therefore the relationship between the dominant and the submissive is fundamentally essential. In this musing, I want to write about three archetypical pain relationships.
Playing with persona (2021) - Sometimes I wonder how my sessions and workshop are or can be a step on a personal development journey. BDSM and kink offer a safer place to pause and play outside everyday life, as I have written about many times before, for example, in this text. I often encourage my clients and participants to set an intention in the form of a persona: someone or something they want to explore being in contact with. What they pick varies wildly. Some people want to be more connected with their pleasure, so they go for maybe a greedy whore. Others want to let go of control and stop the non-stop doing, so they decide for almost an object, like a slave or a good boy. Or they might be curious about a gender-role they left behind and pick something traditional and super feminine, like the princess waiting for her knight in shining armour. I find it refreshing that people often choose a persona with a negative connotation to it. Maybe it is a way to defend who they are, or perhaps it's a sign of them feeling safe, so they dear to be drawn to this other way of being.
Interview: Creating Spaces. Where BDSM meets Art (2021) - In this episode, we talk about a project that is very dear to Andy: The amazing conscious kink event series "Salongen" ("The Parlour") where BDSM and art meet. These play parties will be taking place in a theatre setting and are a co-production of Andy Buru and colleagues from theatre and opera. Listen to the interview to discover some of the secret ingredients of this playful artistic project.
Fucking to Wagner and Flirting with Mozart, on the book Deviant Opera (2021) - I recently finished the book Deviant Opera: Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage by Axel Englund, a literature professor at Stockholm University. It examines the triangular relationship between opera, BDSM and non-consensual power games. I don't know much about opera; I attended one classical opera in Venice fifteen years ago, and more recently, Satyagraha (1985) by Philip Glass. Axel tells the story about two forms of opera, classical and directors opera. The latter being a modern interpretation of the originals, sometimes deviant, sometimes flirting with BDSM symbolism. The reason for doing so is to shine a light on the often non-consensual power games of traditional opera that tell stories of sex and violence in a glorifying and eroticizing manner. Opera can be seen as the musical journey of many orgasmic crescendos in brothel-like golden-velvet-red interiors.
Trailer: Point of Surrender (2021) - “It was quite a mind blowing 4 days. Remembering how apprehensive I was about taking the leap, as new as … Continue Reading Trailer: Point of Surrender (2021)
When does BDSM become destructive? (2021) - I often face this question in my work, either from someone curious or from someone claiming to have the answer. Or from myself, asking was this really "good" after an intense session. Two common ways of answering it are consent and addiction, but I think neither of them is good enough, by themselves. In this weekly musing, I want to break the two down and then provide a third option.
When devotion is the only option (2021) - This weekly musing is a short follow up on my popular text What do you surrender. That in short describes a four-step model of what a submissive surrender to a dominate, and how it affects the trust required for the power dynamic to function. The steps are the physical body, pain and pleasure, ego and shame, and finally devotion. The text points out that another kind of trust, maybe a deeper one, is needed to act like a dog than to follow in a dance. You can read the text for more details. But it also suggests that devotion is the pinnacle of surrender because then one moves their attention from oneself to another altogether - like worshiping a god.
Performative sexual spaces (2021) - 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.
Perverted pleasures (2020) - 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.
Common pitfalls when playing with power (2020) - 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.
When no is not an option, in Japanese tea gardens and life (2020) - 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.
Gallery: Point of Surrender (2020) - Here a some pictures from my last retreat with Lin Holmquist called The Point of Surrender.
Insecurity and the privilege of not knowing (2020) - 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.
Like the ocean (2020) - 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.
Video: Hear de lam’s a-cryin’ (2020) - I'm not sure why I made this video. The material is a few years old. The song is much older. Somehow they belong together. Somehow they display the beauty of ritual.
I have a dream / from ME to WE (2020) - I'm at the closing ceremony after a week-long gathering. We are sitting in a big circle, and the person on the microphone shouts out -Who is the most important person in your life? -ME ME ME! The crowd responses. I'm observing a play party behind my mask. I see intimate couples in THEIR invisible bubbles fulfilling THEIR desires. In the opening workshop a few hours earlier the question is popped -What do YOU want tonight? What are YOUR dreams?
Trailer: Point of Surrender (2020) - Me and Lin at the Art of Love are creating this retreat for the second time. I like to see it in the perspective of an rite of passage. Where two people can come together and move through a series of exercise, subjects, and rituals to learn about their relationship to dominance and submission.
Beyond the mask (2020) - This week I want to write about my most recent passions, that is the exploration of mask possession. I have for a very long time been collecting masks on my walls, but it is when they come to life that things start to become really interesting - because they give permission to experience the world through a new set of eyes, and therefore also myself. I've seen people spotlighting limiting beliefs and self-doubts, some that are as old as themselves, and completely altering their attitude towards them, by wearing a new face. And it is playful and fun, but still profoundly therapeutic.
Workshop: Four elements play party (2020) - We welcome you to celebrate the peak of summer with a play party. Together we will form a circle of love, where you represents one of the elements - Fire - Water - Air - Earth - that you want to invite into your life. Fire is wild and raving. Water is mysterious and dominating. Air is free and surrendered. Earth is loyal and serving. Together they bring balance to our play.
The narcissist and the codependent (2020) - 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.
BDSM games for beginners (2020) - 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.
The leader hat and stop-button (2020) - 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.
Workshop: Gathering of holy fools (2020) - On Saturday the foolish of May, we hereby invite you to participate in our Annual Gathering and Performance: the Dance of Fools.
Playing safer (2020) - 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.
What do you surrender? (2020) - 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.
Four languages of power (2020) - 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...
Online course: Point of Surrender, date night - This is not a ordinary experience. This is a edgy experiment based on our course, THE POINT OF SURRENDER, where we mix tantra and BDSM in a way that is both playfully and deep. Our retreat in April was postponed to October cause of the virus and many of our participants were not able to travel to Sweden. So we decided to invite you to our world... online!
Gallery: Point of Surrender (2020) - The amazing photographer and friend Cim Ek (www.cimek.se) took these picture at the retreat that me and Lin Lovely did during the autumn of 2019. Enjoy!
Playing with rituals (2020) - A ritual is a set of activities within a set of limitations that one perform repeatedly. The repetition explores what is possible within the frame, and eventually refines the ritual itself. A ceremony is different because it includes a cultural and often religious motive for performing the actions.
Non-verbal communication (2020) - We are in constant motion, either away or towards, a point of focus. In reality, there are hundreds of millions of points at any given time, but our consciousness scales it down for us, to a handful few that are relevant in the current situation - to make things more manageable. The points can be anything from a physical object, or a person, to a concept, idea, or behavior. And our relationship to these points defines us. They make us who we are. Therefore, we also show ourselves when we move away or towards something, and here a language is born. From time to time, we meet others, that are also relating to their set of focus points. Sometimes we share the same points, so we move together, in a sort of dance.
Pain and breathwork (2020) - Last week I was writing about BDSM and Bodywork, and now it's time to zoom in deeper the relationship between pain and breath. First, I should start by defining breathwork. The nerve system governs our being. And depending on how our nerve system interpreted our current state, the body will react accordingly. For example, if we experience pain that we need to accept, endorphin is released. But if there is a pain that we need to fight, adrenaline is issued instead. The current chemical mix in the system will then significantly impact how we perceive the world. So the nerve system is both responsible for analyzing and altering the current state in a constant fluctuating manner.
BDSM and bodywork (2020) - What do BDSM and bodywork have in common? As a bodyworker, I learnt early on that the body carries a story. If a client has pain in their neck and shoulders, then the pain is merely an indicator of an underlying problem. For instance, the underlying reasons for neck and shoulder pain are most often forward rotated shoulders, that are pulled by too-tight chest muscles. At first sight, the story is told in the body but with further investigation, it often leads into the mind where it becomes more personal and complicated - because the simple truths are gone. For example, shoulder pain from forward rotated shoulders can tell a story about a protected hear - but what does this mean?
(s)Ecstatic Dance (2020) - I love ecstatic dance - no talking, only focusing on dance - but I also love dancing in contact with others to hot and grindy beats. That's why I'm looking forward to exploring this concept in the spring with my friend Kasia.
Gallery: Rituals of BDSM (2020) - Sometimes I bring an artist to draw my events, it's much better than a photographer, because we are acting out a fantasy and this is what they capture. Work by amazing Indigo.
Workshop: Mask magic // seven deadly sins (2019) - The making of a mask is a time consuming and tedious process. It requires deep introspective and intense focus. Therefore it stands in contrast to the modern life-style with instant gratification and competitive mentality. We want to celebrate this contrast and approach our mask-making as a three-day ritual where we can dig deeper into the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins.
Weekly workshops (2020) - Welcome to the weekly workshops on the theme of the in-between space. We will meet on Tuesdays between 19:00 and 22:00, and you are welcome to all or just one evening. It doesn't matter if you are a beginner or a veteran as long as you are curious about the subject of the week.
Zoom recording on surrender and submission (2019) - Coming back from the Ängsbacka Tantra Festival, I was asked to share some of the background on why and how to play with submission and surrender, both in the bedroom and in life in general. I believe that it is important to provide an entry point into BDSM for people coming from a more tantric context. So this is my first try doing it as a video stream.
The reason why we play (2019) - To answer this question, we need to start with a thought experiment. Say that you get offered to be turned into a vampire, would you do it? Truly think about it, would you? Can you know how it would feel to be a vampire? No. Can you compare how it feels to be human? No. Can you change your mind afterwards if you were unhappy about becoming a vampire? No. It's impossible to know, since becoming a vampire would permanently change how you view yourself and the world around you. Now you might think that this is a silly question, but…
Surrender vs. Submission (2019) - What is the difference between submission and surrender? I want to offer one explanation. Both are about letting go of control, and the difference is where you go instead. In surrender, you journey into yourself. In submission, you journey into the will of another. This makes surrender into an introspective experience, while submission into an interpersonal experience. In submission, you dedicate yourself to another being, and your attention remains full on their will. While in surrender you dedicate yourself to your present experience. In surrender, your suffering is relieved by not comparing the present situation, to the past or future. While in submission your suffering is relieved by replacing your will with the will of another. This distinction is important greatly when playing with polarity in control and power.
Workshop: A Journey to the In-Between Space (2019) - The most rewarding place to exist as a human being is in the In-Between Space. Away from dogmatic truths and polarizing doctrines. This place is so nourishing in a time of political extremism, and goal-oriented productivity, where consequences are dire and punishment is corporal. The In-Between Space is a place to belong, in togetherness. In the presence, in-between the future and the past - 'anyhow you get the gist.
Why rituals and BDSM? (2019) - Because rituals are the perfect ship and BDSM is the perfect compass to sail into the subconscious. Now let me explain why I would want to do that.
Workshop: The Point of Surrender with Lin Holmquist (2019) - This is a retreat for couples who wants to explore surrender in their relationship. How do you relate to the topic surrender and what is surrender to you? Lin and Andy have investigated surrender, submission and dominance in many different areas of their private and professional lives. This retreat is a practical experience for couples about power dynamics within a relationship.
Workshop: Because I love you, with Saara Rei (2019) - Welcome to a game of sacrifice, A game of love. What will you do for love? This is a workshop in two parts: First, a speed-date for love. Second, a game of love, with one, many, or nobody.
Workshop: Liquid body bound, with Saara Rei (2018) - This is a workshop about drooling that provides a frame for the participants to explore different situations for drooling. From drooling yourself and getting drooled on, to choreographing the drooling, and observing as a witness. Maybe you will find it erotic, or shameful. Perhaps empowering, or disgusting. Either way there is only one way to find out. Let it pour.
Safer vs. braver spaces (2019) - I've for a long time been trying to define what happened to me during the years of Schwelle 7. And now ten years later I carry the fruits of Schwelle 7 forward in my own work with the in-between space. Now I realize that I'm personally more interested in a space to be brave, than a space to be safe.
The story about a lone cowboy (2019) - Women often ask men to advise men on how to interact with women, but who am I to preach? I can share a story that I've seen re-enacted hundreds of times over the years. The story about a lone cowboy. It is heteronormative and exaggerated. Still, it carries an important message to some men out there.
Interview: About a Play Party (2019/DAN) - What is a Play Party? What is it? WHAT IS IT? This question is continuously asked. Here video interview in Danish with my beautiful and brave friend Lea Love. She is doing the organization and amazing food for the Play Parties in southern Sweden. Her answer to the question "What is a Play Party" was the following (translated to English). It's a space. That we create together. That is built on trust. Where you are free. To explore your own sexuality. Alone, together with others, or in whatever constellation that feels right. Exploring sexuality can be an inner journey without any physical contact. It's a space where we are free to be as we are. An experiment.
Breaking the structure and losing control – a celebration? (2019) - Sitting there in the sub-saharan night with crickets singing and stars filling the sky a thought was born - why do I organize and celebrate the breaking of structure and loose of control.
Workshop: The rituals of BDSM (2019) - "Basically most of us will get turned on at night by the very same things that we will demonstrate against during the day." --Esther Perel, the secret to desire in a long-term relationship Bondage, discipline, submission, sadism, and masochism are the pillars of BDSM. They are conscious taboos in our everyday life, but they are equally strong in our subconscious, governing both our sexuality and creativity. We are often tempted to explore them unconsciously in destructive relationships, lasting a night to a life-time. Or trivialising them to an embarrassing 50 Shades of Gray clique (or Harlequin novel if you were born before 1980). Instead, in this retreat, we will explore BDSM through rituals, that act as frames that we can consciously relate to and reflect upon. This enables, on one hand, a safer space and clearer communication, and on the other hand a deeper experience, as we follow a known path that works together.
Fredlig beröring och lekfullhet (2012/SWE) - Another writing early writing on playfullness and play parties from the early days, written in Swedish. "Let's try a metaphor. Imagine a human being as an artichoke. The artichoke's tough, spiny leaves are the innumerable shields we put up to defend that which is must tender and sought after - the heart. We can tear tan artichoke's leaves off to get at its heart, just as we can attack a person; but there is a much easier and more effective way. If we steam the artichoke, it surrenders its leaves, exposing and sharing its heart with us. In the same way, play does not attack a person's defences. Play creates an environment in which we drop our shields and share our tender human heart, which is what we all want in the first place. But if our shields are ripped off from the outside, we try to build even stronger ones. In play we interact heart to heart, without any of our cultural separations." "What motivates some people to forego security and explore outside the cultural limits? We must believe that faith, that life is more than we are told, that it goes beyond the ordinary cultural means to give. The power of play lives in its timeless pattern of sharing. It does not seek to obliterate or transform differences. It allows for interaction because it operates on a deeper level where there are no differences that make a differences." "We must somehow trust that there will be something to hold us if we let go of the sociocultural norms within which we are enmeshed. Constantly confronted as we are with the uncertainty and mystery of life, we may know that total security is illusory. But illusion or not, we think and act as if our culture is a security blanket. To conceive of coming out from under it requires fearlessness."
Manifesto: We Are Play (2012/SWE) - We Are Play was one of my early projects to explore BDSM and sexuality in a playful way. I did together with my friend Denice. This was our manifesto written in Swedish.
Play party: BJUDNINGEN (2012/SWE) - Another of my early play parties on theme a decadent dinner, and what happens when hosts, guests, servants, and entertainers meet. The description is written in Swedish.
Play party: MAKT (2012/SWE) - One of my first play parties with the theme POWER, and our relationship to it. What will you do with the power, and what does the power do with you. The description in written in Swedish.
Play Party: GRÄNSLANDET (2015) - GRÄNSLANDET (the in-between space in Swedish) was a public play party that I organized twice during 2o15. My ambition was to explore the exhibtionism and voyeurism in erototism. The space offered around 20 miniatur stage defined by stage lighting in a dark space. To focus on the present experience, all talk was banned outside the stages. This create an audience witnessing the play. The first party had 100 visitors, and the second one 300. I wanted to use live musicians that could adapt to the room, and artist drawing what was happening as an form of documentation. I decided to not repeat the experience until I had something to - to go deeper.
Workshop: GRÄNSLANDET (2015/SWE) - This was an eight week long course that I made to teach the, for me, most important skills to have a interaction in a play space. It was ran three times during 2016 and 2017.
Workshop: The Play Party Retreat with Saara Rei (2017) - A play party is then a party where (in this case) adults come together to play. But how do we come together to play together? Answering this question for ourselves is what this retreat is all about. In this workshop, we will use techniques from theater, dance, BDSM, tantra, and ritual play to come together as a group to form two play parties of our collective, playful desire.
What is a Play Party Retreat? (2018) - Traveling around teaching this summer I've been trying to answer this question in an clear way, and I still struggle. It has to do with deconstruction of ideas about desire, sexuality, gender, attraction, kinks, characters, and archetypes. To temporarily create a space to try something new without being judged. Innocence is an important ingredient. It's about getting a group together. Physically in one place for a weekend. Sleeping, eating, and sauning together. And emotionally for playing together. So it's up to us to find the right people and hold space for that process. And the result is often magical.
Video: Welcome to the in-between space (2018) - Last Sunday me, Saara Rei, Indigo9 and AK got together to make background videos for my new homepage. This gave birth to a lot of weird characters, so I had to cut it together and share it. Because it kind of reminds me of a Play Party Retreat.
Trygghet, utveckling eller trauma (2016/SWE) - This is a reflection upon how to relate to trauma and personal growth in the workshop space - written in Swedish.