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A good friend of mine, whom we shall refer to henceforth as Mother Posterior, is in a fairly open relationship with his partner, with ground rules of course.
He fancies himself a sexual therapist of sorts; he meets younger men, all of legal consenting age, and rather than simply pleasing each other sexually he likes to get to know them and help them work through their physical and mental hang-ups through what he refers to as “touch therapy”—sex. While this would never be condoned as legitimate therapy by the APA, to me it makes a world of sense because, in a way, aren’t all sexual encounters a form of therapy or trauma?
dominatrix Mistress Raven’s full-service dominatrix parlor “Pandora’s Box” in New York City. Mistress Raven repeatedly insisted throughout the film that the services provided to her clients were more about psychological therapy than physical sex. One after another, rich and powerful mostly-male hedge fund managers and bankers came in and out of Pandora’s dropping hundreds to thousands of dollars a session to be beaten, humiliated, punished like young children or mildly suffocated.
One man in particular—who made over a million dollars a year—had the mistresses cloak his face in leather and parade him on a leash nude like a dog straight to the toilet bowl where he was forced to lick it clean. Mistress Natasha slammed his head into the toilet and flushed repeatedly before instructing him to leave his face there until given permission to remove it from the toilet. She knocked the lid over his head, turned to Broomfield and said “you can interview him now.”
Broomfield looked confused but delicately approached the bowl and lifted the lid enough for the boom to pick up the man’s voice before proceeding with the interview.
Mother Posterior himself had a budding porn career before he settled down with his partner. He remembers with particular disgust being paid to sniff and rub filthy gym socks all over his face before, getting so hot and bothered by the athlete’s foot funk, he just had to finish himself off to satisfy the ravaging heat that overcame him. “Who even wants to see that shit?!” he often wonders aloud when recounting the story. “It didn’t even pay that well!”
A couple of Mother Posterior’s “clients” have also requested that after sex they engage in a session of “snowballing,” where a man ejaculates into his partner’s mouth and then they pass it back and forth between their mouths, the mixture growing with saliva with each pass—hence the name “snowball.”
Sexual fetishes are a booming industry, almost every major city hosts a sex club of its own that allows strangers to engage in all sorts of bizarre behavior with each other, golden showers (peeing on your partner), scat play (shitting on your partner), piercing and hanging from genitalia, whips, ties, choking—you name it.
And would you be surprised to hear that the most popular sexual fantasies among women involve some sort of sexual exploitation? Rape, albeit still a common form of female degradation and international shaming mechanism, repeatedly tops the list for the majority of women participants in sexual studies. (NOTE: this in no way means women actually want to be raped. No means no.)
I am inclined to agree with Mistress Raven, these sorts of fetishes are obviously more psychological than physical, but are they healthy? As legendary cannabis and sex writer Mamakind says, it’s all about “safe, sane and consensual.” Children and animals cannot give consent, period. But how do you define sane?
Sane means you sometimes enjoy bizarre things in bed but not in a relationship. When you actively seek to be dominated, beaten, humiliated or live in a constant state of parent-child role-play in and outside the bedroom, it’s time to seek professional help (or resign from your position as Pope).
Because, so many of these fantasies are rooted in societal burdens or abuse. For almost all of history women have been taught that for them, sex is about submission to a man and procreation, not pleasure. Whether or not we want to believe it, that mentality is still alive and well. Gay men are treated as less than men because of their sexuality, and often fall into this women’s role as well. Childhood sexual and physical abuse can sometimes cripple people from ever enjoying “vanilla” sex. Perhaps the wealthy bankers frequenting Pandora’s had such an ingrained, not innate, culture of conquest in their lives that they were never allowed to be conquered in their real life and felt some sort of void because of it.
I am not saying all fetishes are rooted in abuse, power and misogyny, but perhaps, and I don’t pretend to be a psychologist here, a lot of them are. We often forget that the brain is actually part of the body and that a lot of therapy is inherently physical.
But like life’s other great pleasures (music, food, libations, art) the best of the best requires no gimmicks. The best sex is between two people who see each other as equals, respect each other and genuinely desire to please each other—no shitting, pissing, snowballing, felching, beating, raping, humiliation or swirlies required.