It’s ALL About the Bond

Wicked Wednesday

Prompt #270: Bond

When I first read Wicked Wednesday Prompt #270: Bond – I was stumped.  The attached video of the lovely performance didn’t help me any either.  I found no inspiration.

Then, after a nap this afternoon, I realized what the prompt meant to me.  Of course!

The special bonds I’ve found in BDSM relationships have been closer and deeper than any I’ve ever felt.  That is what inspires me to write on this topic.

vanilla’s just another spice

I want to say up front that I’m not going to claim (as some do) that BDSM relationships are always deeper.

I won’t even begin to say being part of a BDSM relationship creates a bond more special than other relationships styles.

You see, I’ve witnessed vanilla relationships with just as close a connection.  My Aunt and Uncle (Father’s brother and his wife) were one of the most exceptional couples I’ve ever met.  

I do know they shared an active sex life together all the way to the end.  I’m guessing they were pretty kinky too, at least all indications leaned that way.

But the relationship style was pure vanilla.

The bond they shared was forged in the great depression and a world war.

But, beyond that, it was built from shared hardships, common experiences, and mutual pleasures.

Those are the same elements which the best BDSM style relationships are also built upon.

Words are a pretext. It is the inner bond that draws one person to another, not words.

Jalaluddin Rumi

mutual pleasure

Without a doubt, the deepest relationships I’ve ever had were Master/slave relationships.

Obviously, I don’t believe that BDSM relationships feature an inherently deeper bond than other relationship styles.  But, it’s clear they can offer a path to a very close connection.

So, what is it about power exchange relationships that elicit such deep intimacy and closeness?

I think, in the case of successful power exchange relationships, it starts with mutual pleasure.

Often that is what attracted us to each other in the first place.  Our common interests in power exchange, kink, fetish, BDSM.

At least that’s how it has been for me, those times when I’ve found a great bond with others.

Granted, I’ve always been a very sexual creature.  And elements of BDSM have been part of my sexuality since my earliest memory.

I’ve nothing against pure vanilla.  In fact, I consider it to be just another spice.  But, it’s not my preference.  It’s not my kink, but that’s ok.

With that in mind, nearly all of the peak experiences I’ve shared with submissive partners, with my slaves, have been built around BDSM.

And, it’s those incredible mutual pleasures that help to build the very strong bond that often happens in power exchange/authority exchange relationships.

You don’t build a bond without being present.

James Earl Jones

common experience

If common experiences are another part of creating a great bond, opportunities abound within BDSM relationships.

Munches and play parties are a good example.  When folks in a power exchange relationship attend a play party (or even a munch) it can create memorable experiences they will always share.

At the very least, they aren’t off playing golf or attending church groups alone.

Bigger events and festivals can have even greater effects.

I know that I was inspired to become a presenter one weekend while attending Kinky Kollege in Chicago.  A visit to IML (also in Chicago) served as the catalyst for the formation of the first MAsT group in Iowa.

And, I know that Twisted Tryst, a four day weekend of camping and kinky debauchery, has had a dramatic effect on the lives of many.

If it’s true that the family that plays together stays together, then power exchange relationships offer great opportunities for bonding through those common experiences.

Love is the bond of perfection.

John Winthrop

shared hardships

I know it may seem a little odd at first that I’ve included shared hardships as a part of bonding.  I know it happens as a part of power exchange relationships.  And, to my mind, it’s a very common occurrence.

For most power exchange participants, keeping their kink activities in the closet is a necessity.  Perhaps we are out to friends or even family.  But, it’s rare for most to have our kink fully integrated into our lives.

Obviously, that’s a form of a shared hardship, the kind that can create a strong bond in relationships.

Parents with children face a similar situation.

Hiding a vibrator or dildo may cause a certain sense of unease for parents of inquisitive children.  But, needing to conceal floggers and other similar implements of instruction can be more anxiety inducing still.

The need to keep our authentic lives secret creates a shared hardship that bonds those of us who have immersed ourselves in power exchange ever closer to each other.

bond – Michael’s way

I really don’t enjoy power exchange, or any form of BDSM play, without a connection.  It does nothing for me without a bond.

I stopped doing “pick-up” play of any kind a while back, for that very reason.

I need that bond.  It could be said that I crave it.

Without that connection, the power exchange is really a role-play.  Roleplaying and cosplay are fun, but they aren’t what truly fuel my fire.

It really is ALL about the bond for me…

Wicked Wednesday... a place to be wickedly sexy or sexily wicked

Samadhi – Is That Italian?

getting email from 'the boot'

If you’ve read even a few of my postings, you know I almost always have an odd story to tell.

Today’s no different.

Perhaps, today’s post is a bit odder than most.

But, it’s said beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that truth is almost always stranger than fiction . . .

So, the other day I’m wading through my email inbox.  Deleting spam that slipped by the filters.  Responding to friends.

When I see a subject that was not at all familiar.

It read…

“Sono una donna matura desidero essere schiavizzata.”

Now, French I can read.

That was one of the few things in my favor when considering immigration to Canada.  You get a bonus from Canadian immigration authorities for speaking both of their native tongues.

It’s a language combination I call ‘Frenglish’.

I guarantee that message ain’t Frenglish.   And it doesn’t look like German, Spanish, or Portuguese either…

Fortunately, it’s easy to translate foreign language phrases online these days.  Online translators are smart enough that finding a translation didn’t require any guessing on my part.

Google translate knew my note was written in Italian.

The translator said that my message read . . .

Are a mature woman want to be enslaved.

Well now.  That translation makes perfect sense.

At least to me, it makes sense.

And, it explained the naked photo of a middle aged woman I found attached!

slaves without borders?

While I’m flattered certainly by the offer – kinda/maybe – I’m certainly not in the market to add another international slave to the household.

I mean I’ve already been grilled by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement over bringing Serafina here from Canada.

It was a nerve wracking experience.

We’d done almost everything right.  All our paperwork was perfectly ‘by the book’…

Now, what gives then, with the email from Italy?

I mean, do I give the impression that I run the local office of “Slaves Without Borders” or something?

And, I have to be honest, this wasn’t even the first time I’d had email show up in Italian.

Why?

Not that long ago I’d read a worldwide poll reporting that German girls are the kinkiest, that they have the highest percentage of interest in BDSM and fetish activities.

Another ethnic group showing up high on the chart were Hebrews.  Although I wasn’t clear if they meant just individuals from Israel or otherwise.

The Netherlands was also high on the list if I remember correctly.  That’s not a huge surprise.  Not if considering that the fair city of Amsterdam is known not only for it’s hashish bars, but, also for it’s red light district.

Ladies from Italy barely made the lowest of the low poll numbers.  I think they were neck and neck with countries where Islam is practiced.

I mean the relative lack of kink in Muslim countries makes sense, in a way, to me. Who needs restraints and paddles if the mere glance of a woman’s face is considered risque?

All the thoughts about Hebrews and Muslims are not what’s terribly important to my point.

Although it does give hints as to which side of that deadly divide has more fun in my eyes.  (Hookahs and Harems notwithstanding.)

Nope, sorry, I digress.

My real point is that Italian women didn’t show up as being incredibly kink oriented.  But I get ladies from Italy writing . . .

It dawned on me the other day why this was happening.

It’s the name.

Samadhi?

Because Samadhi ends with an “i”, it looks Italian to some eyes.

Ferrari, Puccini, Guicci, Lamborghini, Giovanni, Alighieri, DeVinci, Vanzetti, Brunetti, Sisti, Antonelli, Parducci, Piccirilli, not to mention Manicotti (yum) – all Italian names ending in “i”.

And, that list is like the bite of a horsehair whip, it barely scratches the surface!

So let me clarify for you, my dear reader. The name “Samadhi” is actually Sanskrit in it’s origin.

Yes, I’ve bestowed myself with a name, a word, from a dead language.

When I first became interested in the combination of BDSM and Tantra, back around 1990, I began by studying a variety of texts on Tantric Buddhism.

There I ran across the term “Samadhi” which I was told translated to mean “peaceful transcendental bliss”.

Today, thanks to the wizards of Wikipedia, I can present a complete definition.

Samadhi (Sanskrit: समाधि) in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools is a higher level of concentrated meditation, or dhyāna. In the yoga tradition, it is the eighth and final limb identified in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.It has been described as a non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still, one-pointed or concentrated while the person remains conscious. In Buddhism, it can also refer to an abiding in which mind becomes very still but does not merge with the object of attention, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience.

It has been described as a non-dualistic state of consciousness in which the consciousness of the experiencing subject becomes one with the experienced object, and in which the mind becomes still, one-pointed or concentrated while the person remains conscious. In Buddhism, it can also refer to an abiding in which mind becomes very still but does not merge with the object of attention, and is thus able to observe and gain insight into the changing flow of experience.

Wikipedia

International House of Slavegirls

Back in 1990. Samadhi wasn’t a word you’d run across commonly.

That’s less true today.

I see things like “Samadhi Yoga Center”, and other uses of the word showing up commercially in some larger cities.

So just to be clear — the name Samadhi is the Buddhist name I’ve adopted.

I’m sorry to disappoint the small, but apparently unfulfilled, population of lovely Italian ladies in need of a Master.

There’s no “International House of Slavegirls” in my basement.

all those damned quotes? why?

"Life itself is a quotation"

-- Jorge Luis Borges

The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.

Isaac D'Israeli

quote of the day

I’m sure you’ve noticed my Quote of the Day feature.

It’s rather hard to miss.

A friend of mine asked the other day why I was cluttering up my blog with all the quotes.

Their point was that the blog is called Michael’s Way.  Not DeSade’s way.  Nor Antoniou’s way.  Not Califia’s way either.

So why?  Why are there all those damned quotes?

Bear with me please, I’ll answer that question in a moment.

But, right now, I must admit that quotes make up about 60% of the posts.  That’s a ratio that certainly won’t get any lower as long as I post daily quotes.  And, you should know, the percentage of quotes might go higher still.  

Creating good content takes time.  It takes inspiration. It’s not likely I’ll keep up with the nearly post a day pace I’ve set so far.  At least not for long.

So, no matter how well I do with writing, the Quote of the Day feature will always be the (numerically) greatest part of Michael’s Way.

Perhaps life itself really is a quotation.

A fine quotation is a diamond in the hand of a man of wit and a pebble in the hand of a fool.

Joseph Roux

Meditations of a Parish Priest

collecting quotes

I’ve been collecting quotes since I turned 21.

That’s more than 30 years (and counting.)

Back in the day, as I read, I would fill notebooks with quotes.  Everything was “fair game”.  Anything I poked my nose into.

From Dumas’ Three Musketeers, to Thoreau’s Walden, on to No One Here Gets Out Alive, and Up and Down With the Rolling Stones.

Anytime I found a tidbit of wisdom (or perhaps obvious stupidity) I’d grab a notebook and pen, and faithfully copy the quotation.

I always felt that this practice made my reading more mindful.

It seemed that reading carefully enough to cull good quotes also facilitated better comprehension.

Well, the notebooks are long gone.  I think they disappeared during a big move.

But, the passion for collecting quotes remains.

Your host, Michael Samadhi

Every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

about Quote of the Day

My hope is, when I share each Quote of the Day, that the words will have potential meaning for somebody.  Anybody.

I expect that the original author’s message will strike a chord.

Provoke thought.

Provide inspiration.

That’s exactly what the quotes do for me.

In fact, I’ll share a little secret with you — the quotes really aren’t for my readers.

While I happily share them with my friends, their real purpose is more personal.

Most of the quotes have some kind of unique meaning to me.

Perhaps it’s a special memory surrounding me from when the quote was discovered.

It’s may be that the quote is a signpost, or remembrance, from my journey.

Sometimes a quote serves more as a reminder.

Maybe of something I hope to change in my own life.

Or something I know, but hope to reinforce.

Really, my personal purpose in sharing a quote could be almost anything.

Regardless of whatever they might do for me, I hope the quotations I share do something for you too.

Getting fucked and being owned are inseparably the same.

Andrea Dworkin

Dworkinisms

Believe it or not, Dworkin’s quotation (above) was the original inspiration for this post.  My writing took on an unanticipated direction from there.

That happens.  When words start getting transferred from my brain through the keyboard, intent and direction will sometimes shift.

But, there’s no escaping that this post was inspired by Dworkin.  It was originally intended to explain why I’d quote someone I do not respect.

My feelings about her run strong and deep.  Saying, “She was not my cup of tea,” would be a serious understatement.  Andrea’s an individual I never met, never would have wished to meet.

Sat down, alone in a room with her when she was still alive, I’d call a safeword within moments.  Yes, it’s really that bad.

You see then, perhaps, why I’m just not comfortable quoting Andrea Dworkin without significant explanation.

A post was necessary to explain the context of her statement.  A disclaimer was needed to assure readers I don’t agree.

porn wars

Andrea is a warrior from the “porn wars” days that I mentioned in my review for The Price of Pleasure.  She’s anything but sex positive.

Seen through her eyes, sex is always about …  Violence.  Oppression.  Rape.

She once wrote that intercourse is a – “Means of physiologically making a woman inferior.”

Wow!

Before learning of Dworkin, I never imagined anyone could make the “religious right” seem tolerant and sex-positive by comparison.  She makes it look easy.

Did I say, “Wow!”?  Yes, I certainly meant it.

I clearly don’t agree with her.  So, I quote Andrea Dworkin, not to give traction to her words.  Instead, they are here for education and discussion.  In order to grapple with a mindset like Andrea’s, we first must examine it.

Yes, there really are people out there who think that sex is violent, oppressive, and never joyful.

I can’t help telling them how wrong they really are.

I’m not a fan of Dworken, which should come as no surprise. She always was, it seems, anything but sex positive. For instance, she once wrote that intercourse is a – “means of physiologically making a woman inferior” – a statement with which I would strongly disagree. I’d argue that intercourse is a means of making a woman physiologically superior, as no man alive is capable of having ten orgasms in a single lovemaking session.

As I’ve alluded to before, in the mindset of spiritual sex, we become God and Goddess incarnate when we make love. Yes, I desire to captivate my partner. I wish to enthrall and engage, excite and delight, and yes, of course, possess her too. But the idea of making her mine isn’t to diminish her in any manner.  Instead, it’s meant to elevate us both!

Michael Samadhi

unpublished essay

Before a show, I’ll go backstage and everyone’s getting dressed, and everything else, and you know, no men are anywhere, and I’m allowed to go in because I’m the owner of the pageant and therefore I’m inspecting it.
You know, I’m inspecting because I want to make sure that everything is good.
You know, they’re standing there with no clothes.
‘Is everybody okay?’
And you see these incredible looking women, and so, I sort of get away with things like that.

Donald Trump

the Donald

Donald Trump’ is another individual I wouldn’t dream of quoting without explanation.

I’ve wanted to post this particular quote for some time.  But, I just couldn’t do so without a note explaining my thoughts on the quotation.

Yes, what the Donald said is despicable.  Deplorable.  Unjustifiable.  Wrong in so very many ways.

With all of that said, if we set aside the revulsion many people feel towards Trump.  If we set aside the non-consensual nature of his peep show behavior.  And, we pretend for just a moment that his behavior wasn’t predatory.

We view his words from a different angle …

What he’s describing is pure voyeurism.

And, it’s also a very good metaphor for the inequalities and injustices of society in the United States.  If a poor person confesses to being a peeping tom, they get a trip to the big house.  They are suddenly registered as a sex offender.

When Donald Trump makes a similar confession, he gets a trip to the White House.  Not fair!

his harem fantasy

Looking at it from yet another perspective, the quote transforms into something different still.

Seen through the eyes of an unrepentant kinkster, without the predatory context, Trump’s recounting is essentially a harem fantasy.

I touched on those briefly while discussing Jean-Léon Gérôme’s exotic art.  It’s a relatively common male fantasy.  Harmless as long as it remains a fantasy.

He’s not a sultan by any means, but Trump did have the resources to purchase a beauty pageant.  That bought him access.  Donald’s one of the few individuals on the planet with the revenue to live out even a portion of the harem fantasy.

Still, it’s despicable that he gave into the temptation to walk into the woman’s changing area.  Deplorable that he acted on the impulse.  Worse still that he bragged about it after the fact.  Obviously, Donald’s behavior was anything but harmless.  

He victimized an entire room of young women.  Bad.  Very bad.

But, as a quote, it was hard to pass up …

Don’t worry, ladies, I’ve seen it all before.

Donald Trump

it’s still Michael’s Way

Hopefully, my friend (if they read this) now realizes that quoting Antoniou or Califia doesn’t make this blog about their way.

Afterall, I found and selected the quotes.

Their messages all have significant meaning to me.  For some of the quotations, that meaning is very profound.

And, in one way or another, they are relevant to my journey.

I often deliberately interpret the quotes, at least in my mind, through the eyes of an unrepentant kinkster.

I’m not always interested in the author’s intent when posting the quotation.  I find my own.

If you are willing to look deep enough, you may also find the quotes are relevant (and have meaning) for your journey too.

Quotation, n: The act of repeating erroneously the words of another.

Ambrose Bierce

The Unabridged Devil's Dictionary

A quotation in a speech, article or book is like a rifle in the hands of an infantryman. It speaks with authority.

Brendan Behan

An apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence.

Letitia Elizabeth Landon

When one begins to live by habit and by quotation, one has begun to stop living.

James A. Baldwin

A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.

Dorothy L. Sayers

Gaudy Night

[A] quotation is a handy thing to have about, saving one the trouble of thinking for oneself, always a laborious business. A.A. Milne

If I May

Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.

Oscar Wilde

Exploring Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Exotic Art

slave auctions, harems, hookahs

art

Jean-Léon Gérôme is not a name I knew.

Not before a few years ago.

I’m no art critic.  Art is not a subject where I’m inherently knowledgeable.

I was a science guy.

I’m the only person to ever graduate from a certain college prep school without a single art class.

Art was a prerequisite for graduation.  Not just a semester, or two.  The requirement was two full years of art classes.

I was inherently strong in the natural sciences.  A perfect ACT score on that subject.

So the art requirement was waived.  Not at my request.  I wanted the art classes.

The school, however, wanted me taking science.

Slave Market in Rome by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Harem Pool by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The influential French writer Émile Zola famously remarked that there wasn’t a living room in France that didn’t have an engraving or print by Gérôme during the late 19th century. Michael Brand

Director, J. Paul Getty Museum

art of the odalisque

A gentleman named Tanos, a well-known figure in the BDSM community, initially turned me onto Gérôme.

I don’t know him personally.  Tanos hails from across the pond in England.  But, going back for 20 years, he’s developed websites on some serious BDSM related topics.

I’ve read his writing on a concept called ‘Internal Enslavement‘.  Ideas there influenced my own thinking about M/s relationships.

He also has a serious interest in odalisques.

Perhaps you don’t know what an odalisque is?  Neither did I before I first ran across an entire website centered around the concept.

On Odalisques.com, Tanos says:

This site explores the imagined world of the Near East, especially of Ottoman Turkey and Egypt, created by mostly western painters and writers and centered on the figure of the odalisque – a female slave in a harem, trained to serve her Master’s pleasure, and assigned to sexual rather than domestic duties. Rather than a faithful record of these Near Eastern cultures, it was a deep and penetrating reflection of often unacknowledged desires in Western audiences connecting sex, power and sensual pleasures.

 

This Odalisquian world has many elements which we would now identify with BDSM, especially D/s, M/s or O&P relationships, and this appreciation of Odalisquian imagery lives on within the modern BDSM scene.

Phryne before the Areopagus by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Venus Rising by Jean-Léon Gérôme 

I really enjoy the fantasy.  I also have a great appreciation of odalisquian imagery.

Obviously then, it was on Tanos’ site devoted to female harem slaves that I discovered the art of Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Selling Slaves in Rome by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme the man

I’m told that Gérôme was a French painter and sculptor who lived from 1824 until 1904.

Born in Vesoul, a modest size town in eastern France, not far from the Swiss and German borders.  He died in Paris.

Jean-Léon was a very prominent figure in the art movement known as academicism.

I could try and explain what that means, but folks who have had an art appreciation course already know better than myself.

From my research, I know that a vase he painted was offered to Prince Albert by Emperor Napoleon III.

I assume that sort of gift not only honors the recipient, but also the artist.

The vase hasn’t been discarded by any means.  It’s now a part of the Royal Collection at St. James’s Palace in London.

I also understand that Jean-Léon Gérôme’s influence extended far beyond his own work.

A good number of students, from his time teaching at the prestigious Ecole des Beaux-Arts, rose to prominence on their own merits.

Orientalism

In 1856, Gérôme visited Egypt for the first time.  This trip became a major influence.

Hereafter, one of the important artistic styles he adopted was Orientalism.

Individuals with a simple art appreciation course under their belts can probably explain that style better than I.

It’s said, at least in some art circles, that Jean-Léon Gérôme’s greatest works are from his Orientalist period.

That’s also the area where Tanos’ interests seem to intersect with the artist’s.

Mine too.

Gérôme created many paintings that I most of them displayed here.

While not all of them had an Eastern influence, I would tend to agree about the period of his greatest creations – Orientalism.

To my eye, his best erotic masterpieces are depictions of harems.

I have to add, I’m also quite struck by his portraits of slave girls on the auction block.

As I’ve already pointed out, I’m no art critic.  I have no formal training in understanding or appreciating art.

I’m just a man who knows what he likes.

I get the feeling that Mr. Gérôme certainly knew what he liked too.

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Femme nue (Nude Woman) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The Dance Of The Almeh by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Grande Piscine de Brousse by Jean-Léon Gérôme

I hate imitators, people who put works together out of older works, these men are blind unless they are looking with someone else’s eyes, and who produce only the mistakes of the master they draw from. These, one doesn’t even want to talk about; one must simply call them ‘Eunuchs’. Jean-Léon Gérôme

Allumeuse de Narghilé (The Teaser of the Narghile) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

do not misunderstand

For folks who might be reading this that don’t already understand BDSM.

Or harem fantasies.

Or, who are perhaps horrified that an individual like myself might enjoy the spectacle of a slave auction?

It can’t be stressed strongly enough that everything I do is 100%, without question, totally consensual.

I only do what I do with the willing.

I also cannot stress this point strongly enough — I find no excitement in the specter of real life human trafficking.

It’s difficult for me to watch television shows, or movies, that include women being trafficked as sex slaves.

Those kinds of themes upset my delicate sensibilities.

The mere thought is absolutely abhorrent to me.

Slave Market (or For Sale) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The Serpent Charmer by Jean-Léon Gérôme

 

When you draw, form is the important thing. But in painting the first thing is to look for the general impression of color … Always paint a direct sketch from nature every day.

Jean-Léon Gérôme

it’s fantasy (a good one)

On the other hand …

The fantasy of having a slave auction involving consensual slaves who are willingly put on the auction block – that’s hot!

Fantasy.

Consensual.

Willing.

Under those conditions …

Hot.

Don’t believe me?

Ask Laura Antoniou.

Laura’s Marketplace series of books is based entirely on the fantasy of slaves being trained for service.

Having dreamed of willingly, even enthusiastically, puting themselves on the auction block.

In the Marketplace, slaves are valued quite highly.

But their terms of service are not unlike a strict business contract.

Albeit, a contract with corporal, rather than corporate, punishment.

To my mind, Antoniou is by far the most successful BDSM author of my generation.

By success, I mean greatness.

In the end, however, it’s all a fantasy.

An excellent one.

Very Hot.

But, just a fantasy.

Achat D’Une Esclave (Purchase Of A Slave) by Jean-Léon Gérôme

A Bath Woman Bathing Her Feet  – Harem Pool by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Moorish Bath by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme – kinkster?

For reasons already explained, I can’t speak intelligently about Gérôme in terms of art criticism.

Understanding and analyzing fine art isn’t part of my personal skill set.

I am who I am.

My knowledge is concentrated around the interests I’ve decided to pursue.

But I do know kink.  I know it well.

I understand people with a kinky bent.

Folks with fetishes.  Perversions.

In Jean-Léon Gérôme I sense a kindred spirit.

Jean-Léon certainly had a great appreciation for the feminine form.

His portrayals of women are beautiful. Sometimes stunning.

an artist’s fetishes

I get the feeling Gérôme has more than a little fetish for bathing women.

That particular subject is revisited time and again in his work.

How advantageous must it have been to be a renowned artist?

“Hello, my name is Jean-Léon Gérôme.  Yes, the celebrated artist.”

“I need access to your harems, and private baths, so that I might record their majesty for posterity … “

Obviously, something like that worked for Jean-Léon.  He accessed locations entirely forbidden to most men.

Gérôme’s also repeatedly chooses slave auction themes for his paintings.  Those subjects cross multiple cultures and eras.

With that in mind, it’s not hard for me to believe Jean-Léon had some sort of slave auction fantasy at work.

El rey Candaules by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Bathsheba by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Bathing Scene by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Working in Marble by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The End of the Sitting by The End of the Sitting

Gérôme’s success brought academic painting to an artistic pinnacle—having an immeasurable impact on future generations of artists as well as to the new mass entertainments of the 20th-century, especially film. Michael Brand

Director, J. Paul Getty Museum

Pygmalion and seraglios

There is no escaping Jean-Léon Gérôme’s love of the harem as subject matter for his paintings.

Called the seraglio, serail, or zenana in some cultures; harems are a specialized form of women’s quarters.

Considered a sacred inviolable place, harems house a man’s concubines (and wives) away from the gaze and desires of other men.

As I said before, I will always be astounded at Jean-Léon’s continual ability to access such private areas for his work.

It must be a great honor to be invited for a glimpse of an empty harem bath, let alone to be allowed to stay and paint.

For men, having a harem, or some sort of facsimile, is a relatively common fantasy.

It’s also one of those things that are easier said than done.

Even if it were possible to build a harem in this modern day; it would be a rare man with the money, power, and appetites necessary to keep it in place.

Still, it’s another nice fantasy.  And, it’s one I have to believe I share with Jean-Léon.

statues come to life

Here was an individual who worked as both a painter and a sculptor.  In combining his love for both mediums, Gérôme returned time and time again to a classic tale from mythology.

Pygmalion.

It’s a story with some serious legs.

Dating back to Greek mythology, told most famously in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, it’s been portrayed in a variety of forms.

For instance, Disney’s Pinocchio is little more than a bowdlerized and embellished retelling of Pygmalion.

Disney couldn’t have a sculptor feeling romantic love for his work in a G-rated movie for kids.  (We were thankfully spared that kind of romance for an inanimate object until Andrew McCarthy in Mannequin.)

So, Pygmalion morphed into Mister Geppetto.  Romantic love for a statue was switched off in favor of fatherly love for a puppet.

It’s a sweet story either way.  And it’s a story that clearly fascinated Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Was he fascinated to the point of fetishizing statues? Perhaps his dream was a harem of statues coming to life?

Those questions will likely remain forever unanswered.

narghiles and hookahs oh my

Jean-Léon was a 19th-century man with more than enough fetishes to flesh out a FetLife profile.

With as many seeming fetish interests as I’ve already covered, I can see one more potential kinky interest for our friend, Jean-Léon Gérôme.

It certainly could be argued, from the frequent appearance of hookahs in his paintings, that the renowned French artist may have had a touch of a smoking fetish.

Granted, narghiles are relatively common in a good number of Orientalist paintings.

Certainly, the appearance of a hookah immediately identifies a painting as portraying a scene from the East.

Perhaps Gérôme was intrigued by the culture surrounding drugs like hashish?

Perhaps he was enthralled with seeing beautiful harem ladies smoking?

I’ll never know for sure.  But, it’s just one more potential kink to add to Jean-Léon’s list. 

La Vérité sortant du puits by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Corinth by Jean-Léon Gérôme — tinted marble, colored marble, gilt bronze, enamel, and semiprecious stones.

Moorish Bath by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Almeh by Jean-Léon Gérôme

The Slave For Sale by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme

Jean-Léon Gérôme

As a very unorthodox academic painter, Gérôme knew how to represent history as a dramatic spectacle and, by creating particularly convincing images, could make the spectator an eyewitness to events ranging from Classical antiquity to his own times.

Musée d'Orsay

fetish photographer?

I have to think, that in today’s day and age, Jean-Léon Gérôme’s primary profession would be fetish photography.

Of course, that’s pure supposition.

But, it seems to be a fairly well-educated guess.

During his lifetime, Gérôme expressed admiration for, and great confidence in, the photographic medium.

Although it was in relative infancy at the end of Jean-Léon’s life, he envisioned photography completely overtaking his style of realistic painting.

He was quite correct on that point.

It would be perfectly natural for a man of Jean-Léon Gérôme’s talents to adopt the photographic arts.

Fetish photography would well suit his artistic eye.

And, it would give him potential access to the secret places that exist in the modern world.

After all, the man would have to fulfill all those fetishes somehow.

So, I see a modern day Jean-Léon Gérôme as something like a supercharged Eric Kroll.

However, I’m not sure that working exclusively thru the lens of a camera would be enough to satisfy a man like Gérôme.

A man with so many talents.

He would need more.

I think a good secondary avocation, for a modern day Jean-Léon, would be producing exquisite sculptures of exotic subjects.

Some things never change …

Socrates seeking Alcibiades in the House of Aspasia by Jean-Léon Gérôme

Pokemon or Pussy? You Decide

what're you going to pursue?

I have friends that got swept up in the Pokemon craze.

I didn’t.

Nothing against the game itself.  Lord knows I’ve played a number of games that took more than their share of time out of my life.

It’s more a case of YKINMK.  If games like Pokemon are what trips your trigger, more power to ya.

It just doesn’t do anything for me.

I’ve simply decided to devote more time to my writing.  As well as pursuing my interests in Mastery, BDSM, and M/s.

There’s only so much time in the day.  It’s all a question of personal priorities.

Prioritizing my life, to focus on what’s important to me, isn’t something that came naturally.  I suppose it’s inherent in some people.  Not me.

I’ve always been somewhat in awe of folks like that.  They seem to be so much more focused and productive.

I have to make a conscious effort to weed out the time wasters in my life.

Which leads me right back to the meme that this short essay is built around …

It’s all about deciding what you want the most.

Back in my day, we were too busy chasing pussy to play Pokemon.

What’re you going to pursue?

How I Earned Her Submission

how's that workin' for ya?

opened the window and influenza

Woke up this morning laid low by what I am guessing is a flu virus.

I have all the classic flu symptoms: fever, headache, body aches, tight chest and dry cough.

I am not sparing you, my dear reader, any of the gory details.

So, I also should mention that it feels as though a bunch of garden gnomes had a wild party in my sinuses last night.

Needless to say, they didn’t clean up after themselves.

The fever and headache left me in some kind of quasi-delirium.

I decided that as a dominant I should simply command the virus into oblivion. Will it away.

At this point, Dr. Phil appeared in my visions.

And, the good doctor asked how that was workin’ for me!

I’m sure you already know the outcome.

In fact, you are probably laughing a little at my hubris.

I’m laughing a bit at myself, so really, it’s ok to have a chuckle at this Master’s expense.

Which leads me to the real point of this morning’s short essay . . .

common mistake

One big mistake many inexperienced would be dominants make is to assume that a submissive will submit to anyone who styles themselves to be some kind of dominant or Master. They read online about individuals who have a “slave heart.”

Then they make the mistake of thinking that means the slave will automatically succumb to any dominant who crosses their path.

Adding insult to the injury, when the self-styled dominant isn’t instantly obeyed, they often lash out.  In the classic example, the would be Dom ends up saying the person who wouldn’t obey them must be a bad submissive.  Or even no kind of submissive at all.

I’ve got a bit of news for this kind of so-called dominant.  Just because you will it to be done, just because you command it be done, that doesn’t necessarily make it so.

obedience?

Most submissives will respond to a random dominant’s commands about as well as the virus that’s plaguing me.

If the self-styled Dom is lucky he’ll be ignored.  If he’s not, well then I’d expect that there very well be some laughing at his expense.

Submissives really are living breathing human beings with their own beautiful minds. They are not doormats.  Nor do they respond to commands like a robot.

If they are collared or otherwise in a relationship with a dominant, it could very well be seen as an act of disobedience or disrespect to their Master/Mistress.  If you owned a slave, how would you feel if they let some other person give them commands?

the real world

While the thought of having submissives throwing themselves at your feet might be attractive to the would be dominant, that’s just fantasy fodder.

In real life, we tend to appreciate things that require an effort to achieve, so I’m afraid life would be rather boring if it took no effort at all to engage somebody’s submission.

Things that come without effort are usually considered disposable.  I’ve never had a slave who was disposable to me.  That thought is quite foreign.

Any submissive I’ve ever had obeyed me far better than any other creature on this planet (especially your run of the mill flu virus.)

That obedience is not because I am some super dominant in her eyes, but because I have earned her respect.  Her trust.  Her love.

And ultimately, that’s how I earned her submission too.


This was originally published on August 29th, 2011 – at SpiritualBDSM.com. It was published under a different title – how’s that working for ya?. This post has been extensively edited for content and style here, at MichaelSamadhi.com. 

Phthalates (part 1)

the smell is like napalm but it doesn't smell like victory

A version of this post was originally published on October 9, 2011.

A PSA (Public Sexual Announcement) by Michael Samadhi . . .

Master: Smell that? You. Smell. That?
slave: What?
Master: Phthalates, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that.
[kneels]
Master: I love the smell of phthalates in the morning. You know, one time we had a massive scene for 12 hours. When it was all over, I walked around. We didn’t lose one of ’em, not one stinkin’ toy or length of rope. And the smell, you know that plastic smell, the whole scene … Smelled like …
[sniffing, pondering]
Master: Victory. Someday this scene’s gonna end …
[suddenly walks off]

 

30th anniversary

The year 2011 marks the 30th anniversary of my first sex toy purchase.  Well, that is if you don’t count a bundle of clothesline I purchased to tie up my girlfriend when I was a senior in high school – that’s a story for another time …

Back in that day, just finding the toy was an adventure that led to a poorly painted little store in a questionable part of town.  It was a seedy dive with a cheap tiled floor (complete with chipped corners.)

Dim, flickering, fluorescent lights lit the place, poorly.  I’m guessing that was better for business, not many would wish to be recognized in the store.  It was an era of ugly sex toys.

Without fail, the store was filled with an overwhelming chemical smell.Immediately upon walking into the adult store, my senses would be assaulted by a rubbery plastic smell.

The odor seemed reminiscent of old decaying plastic cling wrap from grandma’s closet.  The atmosphere always seemed to leave me a little bit nauseous, and significantly short of breath.

On the verge of an asthma attack.  Despite the fact that I’d mostly outgrown my asthma symptoms.

I’m quite sure the shortness of breath was not caused by excitement, most of the offerings seemed a little repulsive at that time.  The nausea wasn’t caused by the dim flickering lights.

my first time

Despite all that, I do remember my first time well, quickly purchasing a modest vibrator made of a fairly pliable plastic. And, I’ll never forget the relief my lungs felt upon gasping for a few chest-fulls of fresh air upon my exit.  I can also remember that same plastic smell permeating the bedroom when I went to show my ex-wife the purchase.

At the time, I assumed that the toy’s cheap cardboard packaging had somehow absorbed the terrible plastic odor from the store. With the power of hindsight, I’m quite positive the god-awful stench inside the store was actually stink from the dozens of fake cocks and plastic vibrators that lined the shelves.

I’m now convinced that the stink I associated with those cheap plastic toys was the odor of some variety of a family of chemicals known as phthalates.

 

can’t you smell that smell

You need to know that phthalates (pronounced Th-allates) are in the news these days, and it’s not good news. Phthalates are being phased out of many products in the United States, Canada, and the European Union, because of some pretty serious health concerns.

It’s my understanding that Phthalates can potentially cause damage to the liver, lungs, kidneys, testes and can likely cause hormonal disruptions too.

Phthalates are a whole family of chemicals used primarily as plasticizers. They are added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, and even durability. For instance, phthalates are often used to soften polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

In retrospect, it’s pretty obvious to me why a soft flexible sex toy and ancient cling wrap might smell alike.

The same chemicals were probably used to make them both flexible and silky smooth to touch.  It turns out that my lungs knew the dirty little secret of phthalates long before I was ever consciously aware of any problem with the chemical.

When we found several rolls of smelly old cling wrap at Grandma’s house after she passed away, we didn’t want the smell near our food, or even in our kitchen.  So, we threw it all away.

Knowing what I now know about the potential dangers of phthalates, it was a great decision.

protect yourself

If you have sex toys made of soft plastic or any jelly like substance, if you have toys that are more than just a few years old, you may consider throwing them all away too.

At the very least, if you can’t bring yourself to give old toys to the garbage bin, use a condom (latex condoms do NOT contain phthalates) when playing.

Master: I just want to say one word to you. Just one word.
slave: Yes, Sir.
Master: Are you listening?
slave: Yes, I am.
Master: Phthalates!


(apologies to the writers of “Apocalypse Now” and “The Graduate” as well as Robert Duvall and Dustin Hoffman- the original sources of the reworked “quotes” that began and concluded this post)


This was originally published on October 9th, 2011 – at SpiritualBDSM.com. It was published under a different title – the smell is like napalm but it doesn’t smell like victory – Phthalates pt. 1. This post has been extensively edited for content and style here, at MichaelSamadhi.com. 

leash around neck, beaten by servant

the kinky crusader

I’m reading a book about the Crusades.

Christians, in medieval times, attempted to conquer the holy lands from Muslims and rule them as Christian lands.  It was (perhaps) the culmination of the ages old quarrel between Islam and the West.  And, it’s a conflict that’s still relevant, with so much of the world’s focus on the Middle-East these days.

That in and of itself isn’t of great interest to readers here.  Of that I am sure.

But, I’m also pretty sure that one special excerpt from the book does have some relevance here . . .

In the hope of purifying his soul, he made three pilgrimages to Jerusalem, more than 2,000 miles away. On the last of these journeys, now an old man, Fulk was said to have been led naked to the Holy Sepulchre–the site of Jesus’ death and resurrection–with a leash around his neck, being beaten by his servant while he begged Christ for forgiveness.

Thomas Asbridge

The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land

A serious attempt at atonement?

Perhaps.

At least to my twisted and kinky ears, that sounds more like a good kinky roleplay scenario than an actual attempt at penance.

To each their own, I guess …

No Workplace Right to Wear Collar

the curious case of the silver slave collar

A version of this post was originally published on August 22, 2011.

A judge ruled last week that consensual slavery is not a protected belief in the U.K. – Believing in Bondage.

The crux of the story is a midwife who was fired from her work for wearing her silver slave collar, and the counter-assertion that her dismissal was discriminatory. 

Opposition to fox-hunting and a commitment to combat climate change may now be protected under the law – but the UK is not yet ready to recognise “consensual slavery”.

The issue arose last week as the long-predicted collision between protections for “philosophical belief” and proponents of the BDSM (bondage, discipline, sado-masochistic) lifestyle hit the courts in Bedford. In balance was the claim by a local midwife that her dismissal for wearing an emblem of her beliefs – a silver collar – was discriminatory.

Not so, according to North and East Herts Health Authority, which represented this as purely an issue of health and safety.

Nonsense, shot back the midwife, alleging a distinctly lesser degree of fastidiousness over the wearing of other traditional (religious) symbols and costume. And the game was afoot.

The heart of the matter was whether her lifestyle was capable of constituting a belief in accordance with the employment equality (religion or belief) regulations 2003, which have already seen beliefs in foxes’ rights and the hypothesis of man-made global warming – not to mention a belief in the higher purpose of public service broadcasting – all ruled capable of being protected philosophical beliefs. As debates went, this was possibly a tad above the pay grade of a local employment tribunal.

Jane Fae

Believing in Bondage, theguardian.com

locked slave collars

I don’t need to tell you that I live in a 24/7 M/s relationship.  The ideal is to have my slave by my side, both at work and at play.  That, very obviously, is a large part of what this blog is all about. At a variety of different times, I’ve had different slaves wear a steel collar locked around their neck.

I should also add that at a variety of different times, I’ve had different slaves wear a steel collar locked around their neck.  One was worn long enough that a small hidden set screw holding the collar became permanently locked in place.  The screw became cemented from minerals deposited by showers and bath water.  The collar eventually had to be cut away with bolt-cutters, but that part is another story for a different time.

So, you’d think my natural sympathies would be with the midwife.

a right to wear what you want?

Perhaps I’m a contrarian, even for the BDSM community, but the only discrimination I am seeing is the apparent lack of discriminating behavior by the midwife.

One of the core tenets of the BDSM community is that our actions all take part between consenting adults.  That concept is inviolable.

It’s also generally accepted and advised that BDSM values shouldn’t be imposed upon individuals from “vanilla” community.

There’s some debate here, as interested parties can (legitimately) argue that their right to dress as they wish is not trumped by anyone else’s right not to have to view obvious fetish (as well as other sexualized) clothing/attire.

not an acceptable collar in most workplaces

I may very well be a contrarian, but I am also reasonable, and refusing to impose some particular forms of sexual expression on the unsuspecting public seems reasonable.  Perhaps not perfectly reasonable, but society will place limits on behaviors.  After all, we aren’t allowed to yell “fire” in a crowded movie theater, etc.

So, now I’m having questions pop into my head –
How exactly did things become unreasonable?
How did her collar become an issue?
Were their complaints by clients?
Is there an obvious lock present?
Are there overt markings denoting the jewelry as a slave collar rather than something else?
Do the prohibitions against silver collars with a BDSM context also carry over to other similar silver jewelry that might have Wiccan/pagan symbolism?
How does the court intend to determine the difference between a solid silver collar and a solid silver necklace.?

You see, I’m pretty sure silver jewelry isn’t at all out of the ordinary in the midwife profession.  It feels like there’s an essential part of this story that’s somehow missing.

His very real difficulty was whether a way of life sometimes described as “consensual slavery” or “consensual non-consent” could possibly be worthy of recognition in a democratic society.

Jane Fae

Believing in Bondage, theguardian.com

crazy scenarios?

There are a couple of scenarios that seem to come to mind.

The first is that this is a sort of test case brought to establish more legal rights for the UK BDSM community.  I know that legal test cases are relatively common here in the United States, but I don’t know enough about the legal system across the pond to speculate

The other scenario is pure speculation as well. I have to wonder if this particular midwife’s problem isn’t the wearing of silver jewelry, but instead, there is a specific problem her employer has with the style of her jewelry.  I can imagine some kinds of BDSM collars making clients uncomfortable.s an employer, I can completely understand why that is unacceptable.

From the viewpoint of an employer, I can understand why client complaints could make the wearing of certain kinds of collars unacceptable.

Who’s needs and rights are most important?

Is it the right of pregnant women to impose their personal feelings about the jewelry of a midwife caring for them at the time of delivery?
Should the midwife’s right to individuality and freedom of expression be most important?
Is BDSM a religious practice?

Certainly, I don’t know the reality of the reasons behind this case (and the resulting court ruling.)  My guesses could be spot-on, or, nowhere close to how things happened.

I plan to attempt further research for more details, but I may never know . . .

D/s is not sexist: there are probably far more male submissives than female ones. Nor is it truly inequal. It embodies different and, in the everyday, unequal roles. But its cornerstone is equality and formality: it is preceded in most cases by highly protracted negotiation; there is agreement of rules and boundaries; and an absolute recognition that “no” means “no”. Could we claim as much for the average marriage? Jane Fae

Believing in Bondage, theguardian.com

Michael’s Way

I’m a business owner.  I’ve had slaves, who, in addition to being my servants at home, were my very capable administrative assistants at my office.  It has always been important to me that her collar blend seamlessly into a professional setting.

I also know it’s difficult, but not impossible to find a solid steel collar that looks dressy (even in the vanilla world) but locks around a slave’s neck.  They aren’t cheap.  Then again, they are nowhere near the cost of an average engagement ring .

It was never an option, at least not to my mind, to wear anything less than perfectly professional in a locking collar.

Because, just as a slave lives with protocols under their Master’s direction, so must an employee live with protocols devised by their employer.

This post was originally published on August 22, 2011 – at SpiritualBDSM.com.  It was originally posted under a different title  – it’s hard to tie the argument down.  The post has been edited for style and content for re-posting on MichaelSamadhi.com. The material may be rewritten, but the message is just as valid today as it was nearly 6 years ago when the original was posted.

Just Wrong

serves his guests wine from a box?

my attempt at art

The image accompanying this post was created from an InSex video shoot.  It’s either an old still shot, or perhaps a video capture, I’m not sure of it’s true source.  I found a few years back floating around on Tumblr.  Surprised I found erotic pictures on that medium? Ya, right . . .

For this post, the original has been transformed, using a variety of effects, into a nice watercolor.

Most of the images you’ll find here on my blog are transformed from pictures I’ve encountered in my daily travels on the Internet.  I have a variety of different images processors I use, making tweaks and adjustments as I work.  When I’m satisfied that I’ve transformed an image into an artistic creation of my own, it’s ready to accompany a post.

While some may not consider the images I create to truly be art, (and I might argue that point were I in the mood ) –  it’s a process I enjoy.  I like the effects, they please me.  Perhaps they aren’t suitable for framing and hanging on your wall, that was never the point.  They decorate the walls of this blog, and that’s their only purpose.  This is Michael’s Way after all.

Anyway, I digress . . .

I first found the image this art was created from nearly 7 years ago.  I even posted about it on another blog I once wrote.  I love nearly everything about the picture, but there’s one detail that really throws me off.  It bothered me then, and it still bothers me today.

 

Here’s what I wrote back in August, 2011.

While the dominant in the background seems to be simply thrilled by the submissive’s hands-free serving tray/nipple clamp combination, I’d actually like to wipe that silly grin right off of his face.

What self-respecting dominant goes to all that bother, with maid costuming, lovely dark custom serving tray, not to mention the red nose ring leash, only to spoil the whole scene with the terribly ugly plastic soda pop bottle?

I wouldn’t be surprised to discover he also serves his guests wine from a box . . .

A substantial glass tumbler with an iced drink would have been far more appropriate, perhaps something like Chivas Regal on the rocks. Or maybe a nice Bacardi and Coke, if a mixed drink were more to his taste.

If a heavy tumbler and ice would have been more than this girl’s tender nipples could bear, I’d suggest the alternative of a simple glass of wine. If her limits allowed, I’d even like to see the wine bottle on her tray, along with the glass, and of course a corkscrew!

For my eye, the best option of all would be for the tray to hold a delicate champaign flute, filled and waiting for Master to toast her submission, and perhaps even her talents.

But for God’s sake, a plastic soda-pop bottle?

serve his guests wine from a box

Ya, no matter what I try to do, that damn plastic bottle ruins an otherwise outstanding image.

The host certainly serves soda pop straight from the bottle.  

Perhaps he really does serve his guests wine from a box?

It’s just so wrong.

Joy of Kink