Friday, 28 August 2015
I’m talking about BDSM; Bondage and Sadomasochism, particularly, BDSM and the law.
Like all fetishes BDSM has a long history and for some people, sexual arousal is achieved through humiliation and pain.
It’s not just about inflicting and receiving pain and humiliating the submissive. It’s a negotiation, between adults, capable of making their own decisions in a simple and loving way. It’s a two way compliment and commitment from one to another. It’s a relinquishing of power, an exchange of power.
An online friend tells me:
“The person who gets a thrill from having someone else control him/her is simply enjoying an aspect of themselves not everyone has. A spanking can be the most sensuous act between two people who enjoy it. The feeling/shock of being spanked at the instant of orgasm is amazing. Having someone offer up their bodies for you to play with is such a rush.”
So why am I bringing the law into the mix? Why does the law have to have an opinion on what people do in the privacy of their own homes or in a private member’s club? The law states quite clearly, that you cannot consent to your own assault.
But we have the right to do as we wish to our own bodies; don’t we? And surely we have the right to give consent to someone else to do things to our own bodies?
Well, apparently not.
As far as I can see, the only way the law can begin a prosecution is if you end up in the Emergency Room, or A&E as it is referred to in the UK. So if you are going to Brand your partner for example and the session goes horribly wrong, the authorities at the hospital will call the police.
But there is an irony in that I can visit a tattooist and have tattoos all over my body. I can have my clitoris, my nipples, or any other part of my body pierced. Of course I can. Even if the procedures go horribly wrong and I have to go the hospital, no one is going to call the police on me.
In 1990, the news in the UK was all about the infamous Spanner case.
In December, 1990, in the UK, 16 Gay men were brought to trial and given prison sentences of up to four and a half years for engaging in consensual S&M activity. This followed an investigation, by the police called “Operation Spanner” prompted by the chance finding of video tapes of S&M activities.
During a raid in 1987 the police seized a videotape which showed a number of identifiable men engaging in heavy SM activities including beatings, genital abrasions and lacerations. The police claim that they immediately started a murder investigation because they were convinced that the men were being killed. This investigation is rumoured to have cost £4 million. Dozens of gay men were interviewed. The police learned that none of the men in the video had been murdered, or even suffered injuries which required medical attention. However the police may well have felt that they had to bring some prosecutions to justify their expensive investigation.
The convictions have now been upheld by both the Court of Appeal, the Law Lords in the UK and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
1987 is quite a long time ago, but the Spanner case has set a precedent; I don’t think that the laws have been challenged since then. If the police discover that you have engaged in S&M activities which have caused injury, you and your partner could be prosecuted for assault.
So why, if I have a piercing in my mouth, it becomes infected and my tongue starts rotting away, why will I not be prosecuted? And why again, if my new tattoo begins weeping revolting pus will the doctors not report me to the police? But if a guy, in a relationship, that just happens to involve S&M, why, if his partner brands his right buttock and they have to seek medical help, why are the police called and the matter goes to Court?
Let’s not be shy about this – in the 1987 Spanner investigation, a guy had his penis nailed to a plank of wood. Some men have a desire to be castrated – I’m talking about castration as a sexual fetish, not as Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Could it be because sex is involved – well, it’s just something that the authorities cannot cope with? It’s easier to be shocked and disgusted than have a mature, grown up discussion. Fifty, or so years ago, the law was shocked and disgusted by Homosexuality – reasoned argument, and some high profile prosecutions changed forever the way people think – thank God.
I don’t get why S&M is anyone else’s business.
A submissive guy I know from Social Media has been discussing with his Dominant partner about having her Brand him. They will do it – their resolution is solid.
“I fail to see how the law can intervene in something that consenting adults agree to? I always understood that there has to be a complainant, and if there isn’t one what does the case rest on?? Curious!!”
“The historical origins of BDSM are obscure. During the ninth century BC, ritual flagellations were performed in Artemis Orthia one of the most important religious areas of ancient Sparta, where the Cult of Orthia a pre-Olympic religion, was practiced. Here ritual flagellation called diamastigosis took place on a regular basis. One of the oldest graphical proofs of sadomasochistic activities is found in an Etruscan burial site in Tarquinia. Inside the Tomba della Fustigazione, (Flogging grave), in the latter sixth century b.c., two men are portrayed flagellating a woman with a cane and a hand during an erotic situation. Another reference related to flagellation is to be found in the sixth book of the Satires of the ancient Roman Poet Juvenal (1st–2nd century A.D.), further reference can be found in Petronius’ Satyricon, where a delinquent is whipped for sexual arousal. Anecdotal narratives related to humans who have had themselves voluntary bound, flagellated or whipped as a substitute for sex or as part of foreplay reach back to the third and fourth century.” Wiki.
If you want to investigate further about bdsm and the law click here.
For information about Branding click here.
This blog post has been compiled using sources from the Web.
Friday, 21 August 2015
An excerpt from "Good Pussy Bad Pussy in Captivity"
We were sitting on his couch in front of the crackling fire and Anton was explaining to me, “According to Buddhist philosophy, there are three moments when it is particularly easy to attain, or at least get a glimpse of, the enlightened mind – and that is when we sneeze, have an orgasm, and at the moment of death.”
“Really!” I exclaimed, surprised that orgasm could have anything to do with enlightenment. “When we have orgasm?”
“Yes,” he replied, “or at least that’s what the Buddhists say. They say it is because when we have an orgasm, we experience the complete release of all thought processes, at least for a moment. And this gives us a chance to experience what they call the Clear Light of Rigpa, which is our original nature.
“Yes, and by that they mean the field of pure consciousness, which is our true nature… The highly trained practitioner is able to consciously experience this when he or she goes beyond the thought processes, beyond thought or thinking… “
He paused and the fire crackled and leaped before us.
“And the connection to orgasm?” I asked.
“Well, just think about what happens when you have a really good orgasm…” he replied softly. “It’s like everything is gone – just blown away… forgotten… and all you feel is this incredible bliss. There is nothing else… the whole world has disappeared… everything… every thought, every worry, every care is completely gone… at least for a moment or two… or maybe even three… if you’re lucky.”
He was so right.
Everything disappears when you have a good orgasm…
I sighed and giggled softly at his words… and when I did, he said gently, “Rachel, will you let me tie you up and make love to you?”
His words really caught me by surprise, considering what we were just talking about.
“What?” I gasped, feeling chills run up and down my spine.
“Will you let me tie you up and make love to you?”
His voice was husky in that special way and even though he wasn’t looking at me, I felt the intensity of his desire.
Tie me up and make love to me?
I felt my whole system reacting with shock.
The restful calm was broken; I just couldn’t get my head around what he just said.
His hands had already found my breasts and I was sighing softly at his touch.
“May I,” he said again, insisting that I answer. “I need to know because I need to see you like that, Rachel.”
I trembled at the intensity of his words. There was just something about the way he said it that made me shiver all over. It was like we were suddenly entering another realm, another energy field. I had the feeling that if I let him, he would take me to a place I’d never been to before – that was how intense he was.
“You know you can trust me. I would never do anything to hurt you.”
I trembled at the thought of being wholly in his power, at his mercy.
He had unfastened my bra and was pinching my nipples with just enough pressure to make me want more… much, much more.
“Will you let me, Rachel? Will you?”
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Friday, 14 August 2015
The Body of Christ
A short story by
Jan Vander Laenen
"Ce qu'il avait fait de mieux
contre l'infâme de M. de Voltaire,
ç'avait e'te' un jour
dame! on fait ce qu'on peut-
de donner un paquet d'hosties a' des cochons!"
(Barbey d'AUREVILLY, A un dîner d'Athe'es)
The number of communion wafers that I have ever partaken of must be roughly the same as the number of men with whom I have hitherto made homosexual love, or so I concluded last summer. It was the eve of World Gay Pride in Rome, and I lay on the bed in my hotel room, somewhere in the district of the Campo dei Fiori, thinking about my own little life in general and the unusual event of the previous day in particular.
My own little life I am now forty can be fairly schematically split into two halves.
The first half was characterised by a very middle-class, Catholic education in a small village in the Kempen region and a boarding school near fascist Antwerp. From age 6 to age 20, about twice a week I attended Mass there and consumed a Body of Christ, which with a little arithmetic adds up to somthing like 1,456 communion wafers.
Add to that a conservative fifty of these sacred items that I, together with other blasphemious pals, went one night and pinched from the pyx in the chapel in order to supplement our poor boarding-school fare, and we reach the round sum of 1,500. During the second half of my life, I have virtually entirely lost my interest in the Body of Christ, although I have nonetheless developed a most overwhelming passion for the bodies of less holy men.
Dwelling on this passion here is of little profit: I have probably experienced a career in love similar to that of a good many of my libertine brothers and it therefore seems to me acceptable to estimate the number of bedmates I have had at something like fifteen hundred.
And whilst in virtually all Catholic regions the Body of Christ has pretty much the same taste and consistency and in principle can only be taken in a church and in the context of the celebration of the Eucharist, the range of tastes of the bodies of other men and the places where one might sample them are naturally much more extensive and varied. The same goes for the emotions that go hand in hand with performance of the two aforementioned activities.
To the best of my recollection, I have always downed my communion wafers somewhat indifferently, or perhaps with a hint of devotion, in short a very nondescript emotion in comparison with the feelings of passion, lust, loving and subservience that my many horseplay partners have been able to wrest from me.
So much for that: these mullings are my foreword to the unusual event that happened to me last summer. I was strolling through the centre of the Eternal City and having walked past twenty-or-so monuments without regard, I was suddenly taken by an unexpected mood of devotion.
Yes, I wanted to confess, I wanted to pray to God and the Holy Virgin and to have myself cleansed by imbibing a Body of Christ. Happily, Rome as everybody knows is just riddled with basilicas, churches and chapels, and about a hundred yards up the street I located a small, Baroque house of God in which I could assuage my religious hunger.
And so I set foot into the little church, made the sign of the cross with a few drops of holy water and went and sat on a pew at the back, as the Mass had started. And after first casting my gaze over the interior's sculptures and paintings, my eye suddenly fell on the priest, who was just magicking a chalice of wine into the Blood of Christ. He wore a chasuble. He had a full beard and a serious expression. I reckoned he was about forty. He struck me as familiar, although at that moment I could not remember at all where I might ever have met the man, and I immediately then dismissed this thought as one of those crazy notions that had frequently occurred to me in recent times.
Ten or so minutes later, as I was shuffling up the queue for my portion of Holy Bread, however, I got a clearer look at the man, and as I eventually stood plum in front of him, looked at him and stuck my tongue out, I thought I could read something akin to amazement in his eyes. Indeed, he was staring at me in wonder, wafer in hand, and for a long moment he stood in this position, as though turned to stone.
'Hello, Jan, how's things?' he eventually said to me in Dutch, at which he gathered himself, murmured 'body of Christ' and with trembling hand laid the wafer on my tongue.
I went and drank a Campari after the Mass, and it was at the pavement cafe that, having racked my brains for ten minutes that the priests' name suddenly dawned on me: Paul Van Gelder.
Well I never, Paul Van Gelder, it was a long time ago, in Brussels, both of us twenty and gay and each not daring to admit it to the other. And all the trouble we went to all those evenings in the student bars round Sint-Gorik's Square to avoid the subject, whilst we were both head over heels in love with one another.
And so on until that evening, that dark November night when you stood unexpected before the door of my study. I let you in, you took me in your arms and changed my mind with a French kiss as passionate as it was long. After this, you took your leave of me and with wavering voice told me that you would be going away from Brussels the next day to start training as a priest.
And so, Paul Van Gelder, you really did become a priest and, as fate had it, twenty years later our paths momentarily crossed again, in Rome, and in a church to boot, in the Holy Year and the day before World Gay Pride. Thanks, Paul Van Gelder, you gave me the most cleansing Body of Christ ever in my sinful existence.
Jan Vander Laenen
“Matthew 26:26-28: Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
Jan loves to hear from his readers. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org;
"Transubstantiation" is the official Roman Catholic concept referring to the change that takes place during the sacrament of Holy Communion (Eucharist). This change involves the substances of bread and wine being turned miraculously into the substance of Christ himself. The underlying essence of these elements is changed, and they retain only the appearance, taste, and texture of bread and wine. Catholic doctrine holds that the Godhead is indivisible, so every particle or drop thus changed is wholly identical in substance with the divinity, body, and blood of the Saviour.
Friday, 7 August 2015
I love the Victorians. Those generations of restrained, repressed men and women, that have provided writers and thinkers with such a wealth of material. I don’t supposed the Victorians recognised that they were repressed; we just see it now with the clarity of hindsight. I guess we are the backlash to the Victorians’ discourse of silence, with our counsellors and therapists. And if we can’t afford those, our friends are usually willing listeners.
Soames Forsyte doesn’t want to talk to anyone. He doesn’t even want to talk to Irene, his beautiful wife. He just wants to consummate their marriage; he wants his conjugal rights, that are his by law. He wants her not to shudder when he touches her. It’s not too much to ask, is it?
Through Soames’ character, John Galsworthy gives us the central theme of his Victorian novel, THE FORSYTE SAGA. The theme is ownership; particularly ownership of property. Property is everything and anything touched with the Forsyte name, therefore Irene is property. Soames embraces the creed, body and soul. If the theme is ownership, it is Soames’ and Irene’s relationship that drives the plot of the novel.
The family saga opens at a gathering of the Forsytes, in 1886. They are celebrating June Forsyte’s engagement to Philip Bosinney, a flamboyant architect. One by one, Galsworthy introduces us to the central characters.
Galsworthy published the first book; THE MAN OF PROPERTY, in 1906. Galsworthy would have been aware of the laws and the mood of that time; he was writing about his contemporaries. This is an erotic novel; not in the sense of where erotica takes us today -- the sex, here, is in the sub-text. It’s hinted at and explored through the characters’ relationships, the constraints of Victorian times and the constraints members of the family, place upon themselves.
I think that this shows how forward thinking and brave Galsworthy was in publishing his book. Freud had only published THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS, in 1899. The FORSYTE SAGA, was published just seven years later. I don’t know whether Galsworthy would have been aware of Freud’s theories, he would certainly been aware of the stringent laws constraining women -- I don’t think it matters whether the reader is aware either of Freud, or the legal position of women in Victorian England; the story of this up-tight family is so cleverly woven by Galsworthy, that the novel is pure pleasure to read. As is always the case with great fiction, the reader keeps turning the pages. What happens next? We want to know.
Soames has pursued the beautifully, enigmatic Irene, with the relentlessness of a stalker, for two years. Finally, she capitulates and agrees to marry him. Irene was young, only nineteen years old, when Soames finally wore her down. She was naïve; ignorant of the physical relations of a man and wife. Within a week of married life, she knew she had made a big mistake. We join Galsworthy’s novel at the point where Irene is asking for separate rooms.
"The fact that Irene never agreed to a union with Soames seems
inconceivable to contemporary readers as her reluctance is obvious from the beginning. Scholars have tried to explain in various ways Irene’s acceptance of Soames fifth time he proposes, but none of their explanations is ultimately convincing. Irene herself when asked responds only with a “strange silence”. (Linda Strahan).
The mysterious Irene haunts the pages. She is both charismatic and enigmatic. We never know what she is thinking; we only ever see her through the eyes of other characters. She is always placed in situations where her alluring beauty can be displayed. Galsworthy arranges her as if she is continually posing for a photograph. She is seated like a goddess, in a green woodland setting. She is stylishly arranged at the piano. In both Old Jolyon and Young Jolyon’s thoughts, Irene is Venus.
Galsworthy introduces us to Irene in a passage that is pure poetry.
“ A tall woman with a beautiful figure, which some member of the family had once compared to a heathen goddess…Her hands, gloved in French Grey, were crossed one over the other, her grave, charming face held to one side, and the eyes of all men near were fastened on it. Her figure swayed, so balanced that the very air seemed to set it moving. There was warmth, but little colour, in her cheeks; her large, dark eyes were soft. But it was at her lips - asking a question, giving an answer, with that shadowy smile - that men looked; they were sensitive lips, sensuous and sweet, and through them seemed to come warmth and perfume like the warmth and perfume of a flower.”
Irene is hypnotic; desirable. She has an ethereal, sublime, other worldly beauty, that is all her own.
I don’t know whom I would cast as Irene, in a new adaptation. Gina Mckee in the ITV version didn’t cut it for me. Nyree Dawn Porter was convincing, in the much earlier BBC adaptation. There certainly aren’t any actresses around today that have Irene’s class. Anyway they’re all far too skinny. Their sweet little faces have been cosmetically modified to all look the same.
Soames Forsyte is a funny little man. Funny in the peculiar sense -- definitely not ha ha! You don’t get a laugh, or a joke, from Soames. He’s cold; indifferent to the feelings of others. He doesn’t care about the effect he has on other people. I’m trying to think of a counterpart to Soames, for today’s world.
Soames is the worst kind of creep. You see him today, reconstructed in photo fits for CRIMEWATCH; he is usually wanted for sex crimes. Galsworthy describes Soames’ movements as “mouse like.” Soames doesn’t walk; he “mouses.”
Soames, is the character whose head we get into the most, and Galsworthy allows Soames' own narrow thoughts to speak for him. Soames’ only passions in life are the Forsyte name, his art collection and his beautiful wife Irene. All of these things Soames owns.
Irene is a wife and therefore a possession, both in the eyes of the law at that time, and by Soames.
"Irene’s unhappy marriage to Soames Forsyte has become a metaphor for the plight of women in nineteenth century England before the passage of the Woman’s Property Act (1881) and the agitation for further reforms." (Linda Strahan)
Irene is repelled by Soames.
Much has been made of the rape scene, both in the ITV 2002 adaptation of the novel and in the 1967 BBC adaptation. I can only imagine how it would be written today, writers scrabbling around for lurid metaphors, to convey the repulsiveness and violence of Soames’ violation of Irene. It would go on for pages. Galsworthy simply says;
“The morning after a certain night on which Soames at last asserted his rights and acted like a man, he breakfasted alone.”
There is no contrition; no regret. Soames has decided that his act will be a step towards reconciliation for him and the wife that he owns. Irene’s smothered sobs haunt him throughout the day. He simply reads the newspaper; he hears again and again the "sounds of her broken heart." Soames keeps himself busy. Even in the final pages of the book, Soames is still justifying himself. It wouldn’t have happened if Irene had been a good wife.
Damian Lewis played the part of Soames in the ITV version of Galsworthy’s book. Eric Porter, in the BBC much earlier version. I think both actors captured the essence of Soames.
“Funnily, Lewis does very little indeed. One scene has him manipulating events to his way of thinking without actually saying a word.
But there is a smouldering power to him and you correctly fear for anyone who tries to confront him.” (from the web).
And of Eric Porter’s performance;
“Among the most famous scenes were one in which the hapless Irene, unloved by her cold and possessive husband Soames, was brutally raped by him as their marriage fell apart. The scene was rendered even more convincing by bloodstains on Irene's dress (Eric Porter had inadvertently cut his hand on her brooch when tearing off her bodice).” (Wiki)
Read THE FORSYTE SAGA as a Victorian soap. Read it as a false construct of the bliss of the family; the spoken lies, the unspoken truths. Read it and analyse it, if that’s what you want to do; or read it as a great story -- but, oh, please do read it.