the title was meant the catch your eye, but that doesn't
mean that Leatherfolk don't kiss, even if a certain number
of them don't admit to it.
By kissing, I mean the lip to lip and/or my tongue in
your mouth type of activity. I could include kissing feet,
boots, tits, asses, and genitalia, but that has more to
do with a fetish than with kissing per se and right now
I'm concerned with the idea of intimacy. Kissing seems
as good a way as any to get this column started.
Last week's article was about belonging, something that
all of us want to do. That has a lot to do, of course,
with feelings. In fact it's safe to say that between two
people, belonging is a feeling more than anything else.
In a close relationship there will be many proofs ---
cohabitation, sexual activity, joint bank accounts, shared
chores --- that two people belong together but fundamentally
it is still their feelings that count. When you no longer
feel like you belong together, no amount of proof will
make the relationship work.
I'd like to explore several ideas about intimacy, especially
as they apply to SM. First, of course, is that acts of
intimacy are integral to all satisfying sexual and fetish
activities. There are numerous illustrations:
The bottom is bound tightly to a St. Andrews cross while
her top runs her fingers over her rope-covered flesh.
The master grabs his slave by the collar around his neck
and whispers "You are my property. I own you,"
into his ear. The top pauses the flogging scene to kiss
his bottom and gently caress his bottom's bruises.
Just as important as technical correctness, the best SM
scenes include a great number of activities that indicate
caring and affection. Here, more than anywhere else, little
gestures make a big difference. Light touches, momentary
kisses, whispered phrases, none of these individual acts
amount to much, but their combined and frequent use add
a great deal to the quality of the moment. I dare say
that without such actions most scenes will fail to fulfill
most partners. Combined with the intensely sadomasochistic
play there needs to a gentleness that buffers and illuminates
what is really going on.
In spite of the great value offered by classes and demonstrations,
no amount of instruction can impart the beauty of fully
intimate Leather play.
Many Leather folk understand that SM is a power exchange.
This flow of energy between partners is essential to what
we do. The actions themselves are in many ways only a
demonstration of the more fundamental relationship.
As I often remind Patrick, I beat him because I can. I
inflict pain, humiliation, control only to reinforce that
he is my possession. I do it because our relationship
allows me to do so. A good paddling, then, becomes not
just a paddling but an affirmation of my mastery. Combine
the swinging of the paddle with spoken reminders ("This
is my butt that I'm beating, boy.") and you have
double reinforcement for the idea of belonging.
If I'm giving the impression that talking is an important
part of SM, then I’m doing my job. Though we can
too easily assume that sex is all touch, we miss the mark
when we don't make it a holistic experience. Include all
the senses, especially hearing. Fill your play with talk
to reinforce the erotic, the intimate, and the caring
nature of what you're doing.
At other times, what we speak can make or break a relationship.
That's exactly what happened to me last weekend.
As you might remember, a slave applicant traveled quite
a distance to experience my mastery first hand, in a first
attempt for us to decide the possibility of developing
a long term relationship. You may not have caught the
words, but I wrote that I knew the relationship wasn't
going to work in little more than 24 hours.
Let me be quick to note that such a revelation says nothing
about either of us as individuals, only about the both
of us as regards our having a relationship. When we finally
discussed our mutual feelings that "This isn't going
to work," the applicant was concerned that this meant
he would never find a master or that he wouldn't make
a good slave.
That is the furthest thing from the truth. A relationship
is right when it is right for the two people in it. What
doesn't work for one couple could certainly work with
one of them and another person. Just because I'm not going
to be his master doesn't mean that there isn't a master
out there waiting to meet him.
Enough digression. How did I know so quickly? It was a
matter of speech.
I have the deliberate practice of asking prospective partners,
and permanent ones too, what they are thinking. Spend
a weekend as an applicant with me and you'll probably
hear that question forty or fifty times.
it’s reasonable to assume that "Nothing"
will be an occasional response. I hold the premise that
humans (and here I include submissives as well) do one
of three things: they sleep, they think, or they feel.
So at any given time one may not be thinking and so nothing
is a good response.
nothing is the answer, I often follow up with "What
are you feeling?" just to continue my probing.
What I am trying to do here is to understand my partner,
to get into his head and his heart. By doing so I can
modify my behavior to improve the relationship. Does there
need to be more intensity or less? Does he or she have
any doubts, questions, or concerns? Is his head in the
right space for what I'm doing? If not, how can I help
him get into the right space?
Get my point? Like kissing, talking, or more precisely
questioning, is an important part of SM. Nonverbal communication
is important as well, but there's nothing as helpful as
a direct answer to a direct question.
The fact that my applicant always answered "Nothing"
was a sure sign that something was wrong.
For me "Nothing" means "I am afraid to
tell you what I just thought."
That isn't the case every time, of course, and so one
must be careful not to jump to that conclusion. But if
that answer is time and again the same, then the couple
needs to explore what could be a very real block to intimacy
and hence a detriment to their relationship.
The other red flag that the applicant threw in my face,
so to speak, was his fear that his slavery to me would
mean that he would, in time, mean nothing to me.
I had asked him, as I always do, to keep a mental list
of the pros and cons of being my slave. When I asked him
how things were going, he volunteered this rather deep
and significant fear. I have to admit that hearing this
guy say that about me was a shock. Those words, in fact,
inspired this column.
To some, SM appears as a cold, demeaning, and aloof activity.
Many perceive it as loveless. Real SM, the satisfying,
long-term type that keeps us Leatherfolk doing all those
kinky things, is just the opposite. To reach the heights
of SM pleasure, one's partner needs to be important. There
are lots of ways to demonstrate this importance and kissing
well is one of them. Sharing thoughts is another. Caresses,
gentleness, ardor, passion, and more. There is a long
list of ways for partners to be intimate.
Want to make your leather relationships better? Get closer
to your partner. Want to find a way to make it last longer?
Get closer to your partner. Want to have some really great
sex? Well, you get the idea.
1998 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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