called this week to ask me to define a topic that her
Master has been urging upon her: Body Worship. It's a
topic that we don't discuss very often, probably because
it's neither in our common language nor is it a part of
most peoples' everyday sexual fare.
The Webster's Unabridged defines worship as "reverent
honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or
to any object regarded as sacred." Body worship itself
isn't defined, but it does occur fairly often in the model
and escorts section of classified advertising. In that
context it is used as a euphemism.
Since the advertising of overtly sexual activity for a
price is illegal, many prostitutes use the words "body
worship" instead of something more direct. Now Mary+s
Master and she are not involved in prostitution, so what
does he mean?
I can't interpret his words for him, but I can write about
the wide ranging implications of body worship. In general,
body worship is the attention, care, devotion, honor,
homage, and pleasure given to the physical nature of a
human. That attention can be given by touching, kissing,
sucking, licking, stroking, massaging, or otherwise making
the recipient feel good. In that regard and to that extent,
then all sex may be seen as body worship.
But the activity itself may in fact "go further".
I'm a strong proponent that real "body worship"
involves vocal activity as well. This then moves the worshiper
into the area of praise and verbal adoration of the object
of his or her affection. "You're wonderful, perfect,
lovely." and "I praise you and love you. You
are beautiful, strong, sensuous, brave, attractive,"
are examples of things one might say as part of body worship.
Moving along the continuum of "body worship"
it is conceivable, but probably rare, that one might in
fact begin to deify the object of one's worship. This
might happen in an intense, committed, and fully developed
Master/slave relationship. In this case, the Master would
begin to take on, in the slave+s mind, the attributes
and place of the divine.
In this more extreme case, body worship entails the abandonment
of self to the desires of the other. The Master assumes
(or is given by the slave) the position of Lord. He or
she takes on authority and power in the eyes of the worshiper
that we, in the American culture, ascribe only to God.
Obviously, this isn't your usual one night stand or regular
Other cultures of course have been known to practice such
behaviors. The Romans, for instance, developed a culture
where they deified the Caesars and the emperors. Likewise,
in ancient homes, the master of the house, the Pater Familias,
held life and death control over both his family and slaves.
His word was law and was reckoned as such. Not quite body
worship but it does show that other cultures acted differently
Most religions have externalized God as being Other, such
as the various divinities worshiped by Christians, Jews,
Moslems, Hindus, etc. The fact that these major religions,
which are such sources of power and influence in our society,
worship a greater-than-human-God is what that I believe
causes the fundamental antagonism between their beliefs
Here is where I get controversial. Let me add quickly
that I am only speculating and am in no way speaking for
any group or cult. In fact, this is only a "Leather"
topic to the extent that a few Leather folk practice body
worship as a lifestyle and an attitude. Quite realistically
that number is very small and in no way represents the
general thinking or practice among Leather aficionados.
But since Mary asked, I'll keep answering.
The basic controversy when stripped of puritanical and
superficial arguments about the meaning and use of sex,
has to do with one's appreciation of the role of man in
the Universe. Since we live in a democratic and pluralistic
society, the religious Right does address Homosexuality
as a social issue rather than its more proper religious
issue. If they were in fact to make a religious issue
of it, they would be found to be in blatant disregard
for the American right of freedom of Religion.
Of course, the vast majority of Gays and Lesbians don't
make a Religion of their sexuality. I'm of the opinion
though that our divergence with American culture, though
showing itself along lines of sexual orientation, is in
fact that we are homocentric, rather than theocentric
in our outlooks.
When that horny guy in the back room of a Leather bar
says he wants to worship someone's cock, he is doing more
than talking about oral activity. In fact he is demonstrating
his attitude toward himself and his fellow men. Lesbians
approach a similar, though less extreme view when they
advocate or practice worship of the Goddess.
This is a radical departure from the All-powerful God
of my youth, the Heavenly Father/Creator/Destroyer/Judge/Lawgiver.
Transferring divinity from "Jehovah" or "God
the Father" to the guy in bed with me is neither
a wise nor reasonable thing to do. After all, Jonesville
and Waco point up the error of that direction. But there
are other aspects that are relevant.
From the Christian point of view, the deification of man
has some strong foundations in the Scriptures themselves:
"The Kingdom of God is within you", "You
are Sons of God," and "Even as the Father and
I are one, so shall you be one with the Father."
It was just such "blasphemy" that provided the
basis for Jesus' crucifixion in the eyes of the Religious
authorities of his day.
I see the deification of humankind as a very real recognition
of my own divinity. Personally (am I writing this in a
Leather column in a Gay magazine?) I see each of us as
an incarnation, a manifestation of the Divine Life. Each
of us is God and in that way each of us is equal. Our
divinity is self-empowering and responsible. We accept
or reject our own divinity and so create our individual
lives. When I worship the man I adore I acknowledge his
humanness which is exactly the same as mine and so in
fact I worship another self who is my same self. In our
divinity we are one. Brothers and sisters, each of us
is another manifestation of the One and the Same God who
is in all and is all.
Well, Mary, I don't know what your man, your master means
when he wants you to worship his body. I suspect that
he+s talking about no more than you using your body to
make his feel good. For pleasure is once again the base
line for Leather sex. And if pleasure is missing, then
all the fine words about worship are quite empty and quite
irrelevant. Make him feel good, Mary, especially (and
only) if that makes you feel good too.
1993 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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