It’s true: Once upon at time, a long, long time ago, I was a newbie.
Just like everyone else, I had to muster up my courage to enter the dark, dangerous-appearing, and hard-to-find world of kink. In those days (early 1980’s) that meant finding a Leatherman’s bar, such as the Gold Coast (
), The Lure ( Chicago ), or Lafitte’s in Exile ( New York ). New Orleans
I was married, with two young children, and did my best to repress my gay self. I didn’t believe I had a gay self, much less a kinky self and, as most others did and some still do, I resisted the urge. Over and over again I said “No” to the compulsion for cock, for man to man sex, for satisfaction of the lusts that burned inside my soul.
As much as I tried, I failed to stay faithful, monogamous, heterosexual. At the full of the moon, my body would rage, pushing me to find an adult bookstore, a gay bar, a guy who would satisfy and silence my libido.
I’ve changed a great deal since then and there is no longer any need for repression, no more guilt, and no more sneaking around. Haven’t even been in an adult bookstore in years.
For many, of course, the struggle still remains.
As you may have read, since November of 2010, I have been cruising hook-up sites as the “Dark Lord,” “Seeking those who wish to surrender without limit.”
My online profile continues: “Experienced Lord and Master seeks additional property. I seek to be obeyed and worshipped. My primary fetish is control which I exercise both sexually and sadistically. I have an exceptionally high libido and the primary objective of my search is to find men who will be used to satisfy my every sexual desire, without limit or hesitation. I seek to transform you into another toy for my pleasure and sexual gratification.”
Seventeen months later, more than 200 men have approached me, the vast majority of them going so far as to send me their phone numbers. I have learned much about these men and their desires and one of the most constant of their shared characteristics is the urge to surrender, to be under another’s control.
“Urge” is a good word to use, but there are many others: lust, desire, compulsion, obsession, craving, need, irresistible push. They share the feelings that this is their birth-need, their destiny, their inevitable fate. For them, as with my 37-year-old self of some 28 years ago, “Resistance is futile.”
Let me give three examples:
The first is from an experienced Gay man in
. He is noteworthy because, though we have had no real-time contact, he visits my profile regularly: California
DarkLordinChicago: Back again, I see.
CalPig: Yes Sir, like a fly to honey.
DarkLordinChicago: So fly to O'Hare and I'll take it from there
CalPig: Yes Sir, on a future vacation.
DarkLordinChicago: Back again!
CalPig: Yes Sir, thinking ...
DarkLordinChicago: Ah. Now all I need is thought in action
CalPig: Yes, indeed. Putting thought into action is always the challenge, isn't it? Chattel slavery is most extreme, and therefore I am drawn to the idea. In reality I know what is possible, and being drawn to
Superior power is most attractive.
DarkLordinChicago: Drawn but afraid?
CalPig: Yes, strongly drawn and afraid Sir.
The “urge” fights against the fear. Over and over again those two emotions struggle within a person’s heart. “Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t,” my mother would say.
There are, I would think, many reasons for this being so. First off, the status quo is always more comfortable than any anticipated change.
Secondly, there is a great fear of the unknown. “What does this mean? How will this end? Am I crazy? How will this work? Can it work?” are all challenges to the idea of fulfilling one’s fantasies, especially the dark, taboo, and outside the “normal” ones.
There’s also a fear of failure, that this idea just can’t work.
Mostly, though, it is the unknown.
As ChicagoObject wrote: "Was just re-reading your 'contract' and it always makes me feel like I am being drawn to the edge of a precipice."
I know it is hardly credible to say so, but ChicagoObject and I have been negotiating for nearly all of the last17 months.
For him, there is no “sight” to the bottom of that precipice. He feels blind as to what could happen, anxious to pin me down to every detail, while fearing that there is more to it than he can handle, more than he can learn and more than he can sanely survive.
Still he relentlessly pursues me.
An applicant whom I’ll call NYsubmissive says the same: “I’ve had homo-erotic fantasies and desires since my preteen years. These are becoming more frequent and stronger with age to the point of occasionally being obsessive and even disrupting my daily routine.
I will admit that the idea of total objectification builds in my mind and drives me crazy for days on end, but then becomes too scary and unreasonable. When I give in to the temptation to jerk off, it leaves, then slowly builds again, etc...”
That is the typical pattern. It is an emotional roller coaster of desire and repression, of embracing the fantasy and then running from it.
I should warn you about my “pop psychology” but it seems to me that this urge is, in fact, a critical part of what Carl Jung calls the “individuation” process. The following quote is summarized from http://www.schuelers.com/ChaosPsyche/part_1_27.htm
“Jung calls the main task that we face during the second half of our life the individuation process, an open-ended process of psychological maturity. It is a process of maturation in which the psyche ages or matures in much the same manner as the physical body. The general guidelines are summarized as consisting of four parts:
“1. Becoming conscious of the shadow. The shadow is our dark side, containing those things that we have repressed or ignored for one reason or another. It usually manifests to us in dreams as an archetypal figure who is dark and ominous. Just as the persona [conscious self or ego] is that part of us that we want to present to the world, so the shadow contains those things that we want to hide from the world, and from ourselves. This dark side of ourselves must be confronted and accepted, at least in part, as the first step in the individuation process.
“2. Becoming conscious of our feminine and masculine sides. The individuation process is, above everything else, a process of wholeness. This includes sexual completeness.
“3. Becoming conscious of the archetypal spirit. The individuation process is primarily one of uniting opposites. In the first step, we unite good and evil and try to see ourselves as capable of both. Eastern religions often symbolize this with the lotus, which has its roots below in the dirty mud and its flower in the clean air above. In the second, we see ourselves as containing both masculine and feminine characteristics. Now we must unite matter and spirit, form and formlessness, body and psyche.
“4. Becoming conscious of the Self. Jung called this final step self-realization- “We could therefore translate individuation as “coming to selfhood” or “self-realization” (Jung, 1977, p. 173).
“Jung’s (1978) individuation is similar, if not identical, to the self-actualization of Maslow (1968; 1971).”
The ego, fearing its destruction, resists the process of individuation, not wanting to surrender its control over to the unconscious Self. This inner struggle is manifest in the urge/fear interplay that my candidates feel. Rather than being destroyed, the process is meant to align ego and Self in a harmonious and productive relationship. Rather than being simply an inner conflict, It is a reasonable manifestation of the maturation of the psyche, a process that leads to wholeness, to the living a more authentic life.
In this context authenticity implies that one surrenders to the Self within, eschews, in some way, the pressures of society to conform, and embraces one’s uniqueness and individuality. Did you think that all we did in our dungeons was “play.” Now you see why my Old Guard forebears called it “work.”
As I wrote to NYsubmissive: “The task is to discern whether the impulse is authentic to your inner self or merely a jerk off fantasy. Only you can tell for certain. Discussion and experimentation can give you clues and ideas to reflect on.”
BDSM, as we practice it, provides us with safe, sane, and consensual environment in which to explore the urges we feel. Jung would note that not all unconscious desires need be fully lived, that ritual and theater can provide the psyche with soul-satisfying experience without destruction.
It is this ability to “explore” and “experiment” that teaches us what is authentic about us, what should be accepted and included in our lives, and what is mere never-to-be-real fantasy.
A blog is hardly the place to explore Jungian psychology and the maturation of the psyche, but here we are, struggling to let that fantasy come out, afraid of what it means for our lives.
Have a great week. Jack
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