2 April 2018
One approaches the subject with caution. At a time when extreme public vulgarity in sexual matters seems to be paramount, while at the same time a new prudery manifests itself, one can easily be misunderstood. Yet the clarity of vision is more important, than the presence of blinkers.
Thanks to the limitless availability of pornography on the Internet one has access to alleys and dungeons visited by others. I personally think this still is a great freedom for mankind because it allows sexual diversity to surface into the common conscience, where uniformity and hypocrisy hushed up reality before. A culture that is urbane and tolerant, has to be realistic too.
My vision of masochism was mainly formed by books. On the one hand the books that explained more or less scientifically the Viennese heterosexual world of Sacher-Masoch. On the other hand the Parisian heterosexual prison fantasies of the marquis de Sade. Later on novel dimensions would be added by the homosexual fantasies of Jean Genet or the film Salo by Pier Paolo Pasolini . But a basic one-sided link between the dominant and pain-inflicting sadist and the subservient suffering masochist remained intact.
It is only recently by surfing on the Internet that I have become aware of the somewhat different underlying division of roles between the sadist and the masochist. Even if the commercial production of pornography for the BDSM market may give us little insight. It basically imprints some minority prejudices on the subject. This market (like other markets) is driven by shareholders, producers and consumers through a conformist exchange of fake entertainment. Yet on the margins of this specialized imagery some erotic reality hovers. Over the last weeks I have spent some hours looking there for snippets of true reality, far away from the role play world of the sadist and the masochist and their mini version of Hollywood.
One seldom finds these moments of documentary evidence about the reality of erotic desires at the centre of display, such as the spankings of faceless bodies. It is only gradually that one becomes aware of a conversation of sorts that is going on alongside, which is no longer linked to role play alone, but communicates at a more basic level. A conversation that hints at a deeper, nearly naive understanding of mutual wishes, especially on the side of the masochist.
To my surprise it seemed sometimes not the sadist to be dictating the rhythm of the interaction, but the masochist. What I had assumed to be a humiliating counting of strokes by the victim, sometimes seemed more like commands of the victim to the torturer. In other words in his male (I did not much look at the even more endless female records) erotic solitude waiting to be relieved by inflicted pain, on the side of the masochist I descerned a kind of trust. This trust seemed to be based in the expectancy of protection against excessive violence by the sadist, who hardly ever to my surprise seemed to be overly aggressive. The masochist in a way was calling the shots.
A more general observation could be made. If one should be tolerant of the way sexuality expresses itself in real life, it is also because as a searcher for the reality of sexual life at the edges of pornography on the Internet, I was sometimes struck by the uninhibited understanding of strangers meeting each other under the surveillance of spy cam. If one again eliminates the commercial and artificial capturing of casual encounters which also proliferates, there are certain recordings, especially a kind of selfies in cruising cars, which speak of an immediacy of understanding between the casual partners, which one could call intimacy.
It was this intimacy between unequal partners which seemed the message of the masochist.