of Karl Marx's premises deals with the alienation of men
and women from various components of their lives, such
as the land, or nature, or the means of production. Though
there is a great deal about which Marx and I would disagree,
I do think that our feeling of separation is critical
and sometimes overwhelming.
is at the core of human motivation. No matter where on
Maslov's scale one might find oneself, we seek to find
ways to meet our needs. For most of us, thankfully, what
Maslov classified as "lower needs", such as food, shelter,
etc., are well met in our society, and so we look to fulfill
our "higher" needs for things more intellectual, emotional,
culture, family and, friends are all important avenues
to those satisfactions. None of us, of course, are ever
really, finally satisfied, at least not that I have ever
found. Even the most scrumptious dinner is digested, leaving
us craving another meal in due time. Even the most die
hard evangelical sings "I want more of Jesus".
satisfaction achieved generally uncovers another waiting
desire. Such is life. No reason to complain, just a chance
to better understand and enjoy.
I write that bonding is one of the goals of leather sex,
I am simply acknowledging our ever felt need for intimacy:
to be close to another, to know and to be known in our
deepest, most private, and personal aspects. Of course
there are many, I am sure, that prefer to maintain their
aloofness, their apart-ness.
there are times when even the most gregarious and extroverted
among us needs to retreat into a private quietude. It
may be said that in this day and age we lack sufficient
privacy, enough quiet, but that is matter for another
column. Even so, scripture says, "It is not good for man
to be alone."
critics and strangers to leather both miss is the depth
of knowledge engendered by consensual acts of sadomasochism.
writing from my own experience, frequently echoed by other
leather folk, when I say that one of the greatest pleasures
of SM is the intimacy that it fosters between top and
bottom. I'm not myopic enough to think that SM is the
only way to develop close relationships.
there are a myriad of ways to bond, to know one another,
and to connect with others. Leather, though, does offer
a unique view of the other, an intimacy of connection
that can pervade and enhance the lives of two people.
Pain, bondage, servitude, sexual activity, role-playing,
and all the other SM "things" that we do, develop special
feelings between those who do them.
me explain by example. When a top plays rough with his
or her bottom's nipples, both pleasure and pain are engendered.
The pleasure obviously bonds the two together, giving
each of them their respective joys. The pain also causes
various feelings and not all of them are unpleasant. Each
feels one side of a complementary experience of control,
top controls. The bottom is controlled. It is a short
step to transforming those feelings of control into surrender
of one self (the bottom) to the will of the other. The
bottom feels that his or her tits now belong to the top.
There is a sense of unity in this as one gives to other
and the other takes to make the gift his own. This giving
and taking is intensified as both the pain and the pleasure
those unfamiliar with tit play, it may be difficult to
image that both pain and pleasure can increase simultaneously,
but that is my experience and the experience of many who
enjoy tit work. The sharing of nipples between top and
bottom then dissolves into the desired intimacy as a very
real sense of unity grows between the two participants.
Between leather folk who know how to "work" nipples, the
intimacy can grow even deeper, become significantly easier
to realize, and develop to the point that even brief,
passing touches can arouse the feelings I've just described.
tit play described above is meant to serve as an example.
Similar experiences can be engendered by many other SM
activities as well. Needless to say, fisting, bondage,
discipline, and body worship create sensations of intimacy.
The person who surrenders him or herself to being tied
up can feel that same sense of giving, without the attendant
pain. The restriction of movement heightens one's sense
of surrender. The sight of a bottom powerless to move
creates a strong sense of control.
scene is then set for increased intimacy. The ropes become
an extension of the top as they hold the bottom, caressing
him or her and being continually felt. Bondage has the
ability to bring the bottom into a surrendered and quiet
space. It often sends him or her into an inner meditative
space, sometimes called an alpha state, after the type
of brain waves they engender. This state is very restful,
comforting, and has a feeling of immensity.
me, it feels as if I am opening up to a magnificent universe,
even entering it. Paradoxically, the feeling of this universe,
rather than cold and aloof, is warm and peaceful, and
creates strong feelings of security. In it, I feel at
one with all creation and therefore at one with the one
who has tied me and brought me to this wonderful inner
place. In real terms I sense myself opening to my own
soul, which is the universal soul we all share.
the moment, there is no distinction between me and thee.
In the experience of bondage, I know that we are all one
and our separateness is simply another kind of illusion,
life being so much more than we will perceive on this
planet. I first discovered these various entries into
intimacy with the bottoms with whom I played.
expressions of joy on their faces, the retelling of their
experiences in my dungeon or bedroom convinced me that
there was more to SM than pain or sexual release. Continued
exploration, reading of leather literature, and frequent
discussions with other leather folk has only confirmed
my early beliefs about the satisfactions that leather
offers. When I decided to find a Master who could induce
those same feelings in me, my search took me into a relationship,
now more than a year old, of slavery, the result of which
has been incredible joy, excitement, and deep satisfaction.
It is in a master/slave relationship that intimacy has
the potential of reaching degrees not often found among
two people. Again, I can speak from my own experience
and know that the few who have experimented with mastery
and slavery will often ratify my words. Integral to the
foundation of a "successful" master/slave relationship
is a depth of trust and commitment that each gives to
master and I have tried to make our relationship as complete
as possible. I am willing to give all, he is able to take
everything. The give and take has created a bond between
us. I am his without reserve. In return, his being my
master is without limit. He enjoys reminding me that "Every
fucking ounce" of me is his. I revel in the knowledge
that all of him is connected to me.
intimacy is more than sexual, though it's no secret that
there's a great deal of that as well. Our closeness allows
us to know each other's thoughts, to sense what the other
is feeling, to open to each other knowing that our sharing
is safe, appreciated, and important to the other.
Enough of my Christian heritage remains that I expect
an after-life of intimacy with the god-head, whoever they
(or we) may be. In no uncertain terms, though, the experiences
of intimacy that I've known through leather sex are a
wonderful foretaste of what can be, not only "in Heaven"
but in this lifetime as well.
separations that Marx saw, the alienation that we all
feel, are only illusions. We are one. May your life be
filled with the satisfaction that dispelling that illusion
2000 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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