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"There is love and lust, pain and pleasure, sensory overload and sensory deprivation. In the end, the "best scenes" bring balance, a strange and quiet state of inner rest. It may sounds corny to say, but when all is done there remains a peace that hums within, even as we re-enter our lives and the pendulum swings on."

A Natural Sense of Balance
by Jack Rinella

Scientists say that all things tend towards equilibrium, which the dictionary defines as "a condition in which all acting influences are canceled by others, resulting in a stable, balanced, or unchanging system." It's not so much that that state is attained, but, like a swinging pendulum, balance is kept. As soon as an object veers too far one way, it returns to the middle, if only on its way to the other extreme.

Over the years, I have been amazed at the non-sexual, non-Leather aspects of those into sadomasochism. Contrary to popular wisdom, the Leather world is inhabited by those we'd least expect to indulge in such fantasies. Doctors, lawyers, ministers, judges, successful and powerful men and women from all walks of life share SM experiences.

I don't have the statistical data necessary to prove my point, but having met hundreds of Leather tops & bottoms, I am sure that their average education is higher, their incomes greater, and their power and authority well above that of the statistical American norm.

Why does a prosperous, intelligent, and successful person enter the "dark" world of Leathersex? To regain and maintain his balance. Let me cite a favorite example.
Charles is a loan officer at a major metropolitan bank. He is responsible for the management of loan portfolios worth millions of dollars. He grants or denies credit to fortune 500 corporations throughout the Midwest. He is wined and dined by men of power and prestige. Yet, when he enters his Leather world, it is as a collared "dog-slave". He eats from a bowl on the floor and gives his Master whatever pleasure his Master requires.

His "two lives" are in complete juxtaposition. Each of them is real, vibrant, and fulfilling. Each balances the other and makes the other possible, desirable, and sustainable.

Show me a one-sided coin. None exists. The round Yin-Yang symbol, with its equal and contrasting white/black design illustrates the principle of complimentary balance.
Some call it escapism, but it can be a viable alternative to stress, pressure, and self-destruction.

When the Master or Mistress reddens an ass with whips and paddles, he or she is dominant, aggressive, and assertive of power, realizes the warrior side of the self. And if this aspect of self is down-trodden, ignored, denied in other areas of life, at work or in family for example, in a Leather scene it can grow and exercise. Likewise when a controlling, directing, and powerful individual relinquishes those aspects of self by becoming, for whatever short span of time, an obedient, submissive, and worshipping servant, he or she regains balance.

In either case the end result is often a catharsis of delightful proportions.
Because of the self-defined and mutually accepted limits of Leather sex, (i.e., safe, sane, and consensual), emotions, fears, anxieties, and pressures may be released in a structured, supportive, practical, and non-destructive way.

What makes this balancing activity more interesting is to observe it over the course of time. One notices the real phenomenon that activities change as other elements in one's environment vary.

In my own life, when my career shifted into areas of less authority, less pay, and less responsibility, my sex life became more dominant, more Leathersex oriented. Later, as I found my needs to dominate satisfied and as my income increased and my personal power improved, I began looking for someone to serve.

In writing, it appears (I hope) that all of this is very well-thought out. In truth, our actions can be as mystifying as the universe. Reflection and dialogue may reveal some of our motives, may explain part of what's going on, but we only understand in part.
Simply put, I don't have all the answers -- and your usual Leather sex scene is much more physical, more emotional, and more earthy, than will ever be recounted in print. After all, in spite of anyone's pontification, the first goal is pleasure. We do this because it's fun.

Over time and with experience you'll find added dimensions in "dungeon-play". The balance that we naturally seek brings us into wholeness. The most satisfying scenes recognize, each in their own way, the uniqueness of the participants and the various ways they experience themselves and each other physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

There is love and lust, pain and pleasure, sensory overload and sensory deprivation. In the end, the "best scenes" bring balance, a strange and quiet state of inner rest. It may sounds corny to say, but when all is done there remains a peace that hums within, even as we re-enter our lives and the pendulum swings on.

Copyright 1999 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact mrjackr@leathermail.com

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