Last night I watched a Nick Broomfield documentary called, “Fetishes”. I’ve never had any fetishes but was drawn to this documentary. The film focused solely on BDSM and a New York City dungeon, “Pandora’s Box.” I started off with a scared feeling as the head mistress gave Broomfield a tour of the dungeon (the medical room made me feel really scared), but about 15 minutes into the film, my mind was completely opened to what BDSM actually is.
Broomfield was able to capture footage of the sessions with the clients and their mistresses. I realized through watching these encounters that BDSM is really all about two things: sensation and trust/total abandon. Firstly, these clients were so in touch with what gave them pleasure - many of them had been aware of their own distinct pleasures from very young ages. And they accepted it as part of their sexuality.
How many of us are in touch with the fact that a sensation felt at some point in our development gave them “good feelings” and then subsequently accepted that into our identities? Most, I would imagine, would feel shame about such “weird” proclivities and disassociate from them, relegating them to the realm of suppression.
Secondly, these clients are courageous enough to venture out in order to partake in this very particular sensory experience with another human, thereby showing some of their most vulnerable aspects to another. I was awestruck by the level at which these clients were able to trust.
There was a man that had a rubber/bondage fetish and he liked to be outfitted in a full-body and face rubber suit with only two tubes coming out of his nose so he could breathe. His mistress had total control of his sensory experience and whether he breathed…or not. He trusted her that much.
I found myself jealous of his ability to trust someone that much. I don’t want to be in a rubber suit, but I want to be able to have that level of abandon with another person. I want to be that intimate and vulnerable with another person. I think these clients are able to be completely themselves during these sessions and that is mind-blowing to me. I once thought BDSM was scary and strange but I see it now as something pure and actually very beautiful. It is not about pain, it is, at its core, about experiencing utter and complete abandon.
I think the idea that most people hold of mistresses is that they are very mean, yet powerful amazons. What I saw was that these women are fully present, creative and loving. And yes, powerful. Who doesn’t want to be around that type of energy? I connected to a part of myself when I was watching the mistresses and seeing the unreserved, demonstrative and devoted energy that they brought to their work. I saw myself in that.
I also have always enjoyed grabbing, smacking and biting the ones I love (sometimes bringing them to the edges of pain but then scaling back and “doing nice” again). I never really knew why I did this, I just thought it was something weird about me that I probably shouldn’t talk about (an ex used to shame me for it, insinuating there was something wrong with me).
Now I realize - because the mistresses modeled for me a different reality - an internal experience I have always had but never understood. I don’t think I’ll become a dominatrix any time soon, but I can accept and subsequently enjoy this part of myself now because I understand it more.
I feel invigorated today and that the world is more mine. I am connected to it and the people in it in a new way.