“I am only interested in the ideas that become obsessive and make me feel uneasy. The ideas that I’m afraid of.” – Marina Abramovic
One day I asked a video director I admire what kind of work he enjoyed the most? He said: “I like when someone contacts me wanting to present a challenging idea, something so hard to put into words that it seems almost impossible to convey on video. That’s when I know I’m the right person to do it.” The answer surprised me at first – why would someone deliberately put oneself in a challenging situation instead of taking things easy with tasks less complicated and risky? As I reflected on my own work, however, I saw that it’s the same for me. It was only as a beginner Domme that I wanted to meet easy and direct people, the “I’d like to be spanked for half an hour” kind of clients. These days, I'm relieved that I'm no longer seeing someone with such a request. I like ideas that are challenging, intriguing, abstract and risky. At the same time, I am looking for purity in someone’s intention – whatever the idea, it must come from a deep level of the psyche, not from some superficial and shallow desire. Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a client with an interesting request, he wanted deep shadow work. “I’m really intrigued by your Shibari Experience” he said, “I feel repressed emotionally and sexually. I’ve never been able to open myself up fully, to fall to pieces, to have my socially-constructed identity shattered. I wonder if you could help me to go through a similar experience.” He was referring to my radical journey into my own darkness, where I met repressed emotions, deep fears and core beliefs. I found it profoundly therapeutic and insightful. Just like BASE jumping, it’s not for everyone, it takes a radical soul to request something like this. Of course, similar experiences did happen in my BDSM sessions before, but he was one of the few who asked directly for such a dark and intense journey into the core of his being. We talked about safe words and he expressed that he trusted my ability to read his body, my experience and intuition, and would rather surrender without any safe words. In my experience, safe words are helpful for many clients, yet the most radical form of surrender demands absolutely no control and ultimate trust. I respected his decision and admired his readiness to endure various discomforts not for the sake of masochistic high but for search of a deeper journey.
“In order to stay truly alive we need to choose courage over comfort so that we keep growing, climbing and challenging ourselves” Emotional agility – Susan David
After discussing his request and intention, I asked him to undress in a changing room while I lit incenses and candles in my playspace. I chose slow, somewhat psychedelic, trance-inducing music to help us tune in. I experienced conflicting emotions, fear and excitement. There was nervousness, because this was a session with no map and a very sublime intention. Imagine you have to achieve something epic but have no plan of how to do so! So the little human in me was paranoid – WTF did you just sign up for, you have no idea what to do, why can’t you just give over the knee spankings to all those who have a specific request for it? The voice sounded familiar, and I recognized it as my own inner vulnerability, a shadow, a deep and profound well of “I’m not good enough,” deeply conditioned by my upbringing. It’s not the time to give attention to this one, I decided. In more scientific language, when such inhibitions arise, they originate in the part of the brain that is so highly developed in humans – the neocortex. The ability to reduce neocortical activity in order to access the primal brain and enter an altered state of consciousness is a very important skill when it comes to taking my submissive on a deep journey. But before my client gets a chance to ultimately surrender, I’m the one who has to. The only thing left was to feel the present moment and ask a higher power for guidance, for intuitive direction…. I do so as I breathe in and I breath out. I accept, I detach, I surrender. Let’s see what happens! He walks in, and the flow takes me. I know exactly what’s needed to be done at this very moment. All doubts left behind, I’m absolutely confident in my actions. I start softly with a relaxation ritual, but quickly become rough with him. I make sure he is wearing a leather mask, is blindfolded and unable to move. I use tight restraints to reinforce his sense of being trapped. He has no choice but to let go and accept his fate is in my hands. I squeeze him slowly with my leather glove, he is forced to acquiesce and yield. He is tensing up and resisting. There is anger and aggression in the air. He is shaking. I give him a moment to calm down, and then I hurt him by powerfully pulling his hair. He is agitated, screaming. I take my flogger to start whipping him. I realize that I lose myself in my “topspace” as I start treating him as a soulless object, and I trust that this is exactly what he needs to receive at this moment. I use him, I violate him. All of a sudden I feel a profound sadness. I sense he is crying without seeing anything underneath the leather mask that covers his face. I slow down, give him a gentle touch to make sure he is feeling contained and takes time to integrate what just happened. He is rock hard throughout this whole time which is a a confirmation of my being on the right track – his subconscious agrees with these actions. I tease him for a brief moment. I continue restraining and hurting him in different positions, until he ends up in a leather body bag. He is fully mummified and has no way out. He is masked and blindfolded, moving and shaking inside the body bag. I close it even tighter to make sure there is no room for movement left, I abandon him for a few minutes to give him an opportunity to feel his helplessness on his own. When I come back, I remove the blindfold, I open the zipper in the middle to access his manhood and step on it with my stiletto shoe very slowly. I look right into his eyes. Time stops. He is quietly breathing and I read in his eyes that he gave it up entirely. I feel him fully dissolved, like there is nothing left of him, completely disintegrated. There is a sense of deep surrender in his eyes, he is neither scared of pain nor desiring of pleasure. And that’s when we slow down. I become more fluid and gentle, allowing him to rest in this refined state. I blindfold him again, allowing him to spend some more time in the leather body bag, this time creating the intention to create a safe cocoon out of it. I lie down next to him and hold him closely, feeling his heartbeat slowing down as his body feels soft and relaxed inside the body bag. I continue holding the space for some time, gently touching his chest and head to help him feel contained. While entrapped in bondage now, he is finally free. That is, free to focus on the moment and his psychological and physical responses and experiences. He is free to float off into the space of infinite awareness and relaxation. After some time, I slowly unzip the body bag and let him out. As I stand above him, he reaches for my ankle, looks into my eye for non-verbal permission to kiss it. I don’t mind as I see nothing but the sincere appreciation in his eyes. I make sure to give him enough time to come back to earth. I offer him water, snacks and a shower. He is still not ready to talk and that’s ok. I also notice my personality is returning, active and curious to hear the report of his journey. However I know there is a common problem of communication in these reports: many of my submissives have been reluctant to relate these experiences that seem to defy any verbal description. When we finally start chatting, I thank him for trusting me and allowing me to be his guide, and encourage him to take more time in getting back into his daily routine – “just don’t grab your phone right away!”. The intensity of what my submissive may go through with powerfully executed sessions on my part is comparable to what is generally described as a “peak experience.” The combination of fear and bodily threat elicits a variety of hormonal and biochemical responses. Extreme pain and extreme pleasure are associated with a high level of endorphins and any intense emotion implies a reduction of mental control, allowing him to access the “subspace”. I find it deeply gratifying to be present with the submissive in his vulnerability and inward journey. After a session like this, it feels as if there is an atmosphere of light in the shadows of my play space. I love to share these deep moments with my submissive, moments that are free from the rules of social conditioning. While helping him to tune himself out of a busy mind, I further master my own skills of meditation, surrender and intuitive action.
“Vulnerability is not weakness. It’s the most accurate measurement of courage. Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change” – Dr. Brene Brown
*Read his review of the session (Derek – Therapy, May 30, 2018)