Beautifully Broken

I called in “sick” today, in hopes of decompressing and getting some laundry and other domestic things done. I did have a bit of an upset stomach, but not uncomfortable enough, to warrant my playing hooky.

Needless to say, it’s 10 minutes past 9pm, and I’ve yet to launder the load of linen and towels I planned on doing this morning. I will though.

While I lazed about, not doing anything beyond drinking coffee, logging onto MySpace, showering, brushing my teeth, and watching Judge Mathis and reality-tv of the like, I also managed to stumble upon some titillating and erotic weblogs, and have been glued to my computer for the bulk of the afternoon. These particular weblogs center on the BDSM lifestyle and all it entails.

There’s one extremely well-written and detailed blog in particular (explicit pictures are featured) that at once repulses and intrigues me. I’ve always wondered what prompts a person (usually female) to enter into a consensual relationship, where they succumb (wholeheartedly) to someone, mind, body, and soul; choosing to acquiesce to the sovereignty of an unrelenting Master. I’m flummoxed as to how a person tingles with anticipation… knowing they’ll be flogged, branded, made to sleep on the cold floor whilst chained to the bedpost, made to wear a butt-plug, or anal-extender (my sphincter tightens at the thought) for an extended period of time, or told to act out some squalid sexual deed.

While I know basic things about the Marquis de Sade, and how he may very well have influenced this brand of unconventional sex, reading these blogs prompted me to further investigate the mechanics of this lifestyle a little bit more. I learned interesting phrases like “vanilla”; which applies to those of us who engage in relatively standard sexual activities. I mean, us vanillas have flown (or are currently flying, as I type this) the freak flag every now and again, during intimate moments, but probably nothing as intense and methodical as sadomasochistic relationships.

While I’ve no desire to enter into this type of relationship myself (I’ll leave it to the experts), I’ve always been intrigued by reading other people’s accounts of their alternative lifestyles (see Delia Day). My interest was first piqued many years ago, after reading Pauline Reage’s “The Story of O” and then watching the film adaptation of the same name. I also found myself reading and flinching at Anne Rice’s (written under her the pseudonym A. N. Roquelaure) “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” series (yup, I'm a closet debauchee and voyeur).

While many of us are repulsed by, and in some cases outraged, by the BDSM lifestyle- (particularly since it seems to be contrary to everything women fought against… or at least that’s what many of us may believe)- we are still intrigued (despite whatever protestation we make against it)- I know I am.

To each his or her own, undoubtedly, different strokes for different folks, as they say. I suppose us “vanillas” will never understand what we don’t truly know about, something that goes way beyond and outside the realm of what we’re used to. I know that when I first stumbled onto the aforementioned blog, I was disgusted, flinched at the visuals of her torture (yet I could not stop reading this woman’s discourse on her life as a willing sex slave or as a self-described “married man’s fucktoy”). My antipathy is what prompted me to, at the very least, learn a little about this practice- (as it also aroused my interest in Fellini's Satyricon, all things Catherine Breillat, to read Pauline Reage's novel, and to complete Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series, etc.)- so as not to partake in it myself, but to understand and further respect someone else’s right to succumb to humiliation and pain; moreover, my constant need to understand the many layers of human sexuality (I think I lived one of my former lives as a sexologist). We’ve all stumbled onto our parents' stash of erotica (or snuck it out of our local library) and giggled under the covers or muttered “ewww” as we greedily absorbed the visuals and words.

Either way, for obvious historical and cultural reasons, I completely and emphatically refuse to become anybody’s slave... just not my bag … but I will continue to lurk on the outskirts and indulge my curious mind, as if I were 10-12 years old, precocious, and giggling in the privacy of my room at the images illustrated in The Joy of Sex, or over the content of Erica Jong's, Fear of Flying (more my bag).

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