say that all things tend towards equilibrium, which the
dictionary defines as "a condition in which all acting
influences are canceled by others, resulting in a stable,
balanced, or unchanging system." It's not so much
that that state is attained, but, like a swinging pendulum,
balance is kept. As soon as an object veers too far one
way, it returns to the middle, if only on its way to the
Over the years, I have been amazed at the non-sexual,
non-Leather aspects of those into sadomasochism. Contrary
to popular wisdom, the Leather world is inhabited by those
we'd least expect to indulge in such fantasies. Doctors,
lawyers, ministers, judges, successful and powerful men
and women from all walks of life share SM experiences.
I don't have the statistical data necessary to prove my
point, but having met hundreds of Leather tops & bottoms,
I am sure that their average education is higher, their
incomes greater, and their power and authority well above
that of the statistical American norm.
Why does a prosperous, intelligent, and successful person
enter the "dark" world of Leathersex? To regain
and maintain his balance. Let me cite a favorite example.
Charles is a loan officer at a major metropolitan bank.
He is responsible for the management of loan portfolios
worth millions of dollars. He grants or denies credit
to fortune 500 corporations throughout the Midwest. He
is wined and dined by men of power and prestige. Yet,
when he enters his Leather world, it is as a collared
"dog-slave". He eats from a bowl on the floor
and gives his Master whatever pleasure his Master requires.
His "two lives" are in complete juxtaposition.
Each of them is real, vibrant, and fulfilling. Each balances
the other and makes the other possible, desirable, and
Show me a one-sided coin. None exists. The round Yin-Yang
symbol, with its equal and contrasting white/black design
illustrates the principle of complimentary balance.
Some call it escapism, but it can be a viable alternative
to stress, pressure, and self-destruction.
When the Master or Mistress reddens an ass with whips
and paddles, he or she is dominant, aggressive, and assertive
of power, realizes the warrior side of the self. And if
this aspect of self is down-trodden, ignored, denied in
other areas of life, at work or in family for example,
in a Leather scene it can grow and exercise. Likewise
when a controlling, directing, and powerful individual
relinquishes those aspects of self by becoming, for whatever
short span of time, an obedient, submissive, and worshipping
servant, he or she regains balance.
In either case the end result is often a catharsis of
Because of the self-defined and mutually accepted limits
of Leather sex, (i.e., safe, sane, and consensual), emotions,
fears, anxieties, and pressures may be released in a structured,
supportive, practical, and non-destructive way.
What makes this balancing activity more interesting is
to observe it over the course of time. One notices the
real phenomenon that activities change as other elements
in one's environment vary.
In my own life, when my career shifted into areas of less
authority, less pay, and less responsibility, my sex life
became more dominant, more Leathersex oriented. Later,
as I found my needs to dominate satisfied and as my income
increased and my personal power improved, I began looking
for someone to serve.
In writing, it appears (I hope) that all of this is very
well-thought out. In truth, our actions can be as mystifying
as the universe. Reflection and dialogue may reveal some
of our motives, may explain part of what's going on, but
we only understand in part.
Simply put, I don't have all the answers -- and your usual
Leather sex scene is much more physical, more emotional,
and more earthy, than will ever be recounted in print.
After all, in spite of anyone's pontification, the first
goal is pleasure. We do this because it's fun.
Over time and with experience you'll find added dimensions
in "dungeon-play". The balance that we naturally
seek brings us into wholeness. The most satisfying scenes
recognize, each in their own way, the uniqueness of the
participants and the various ways they experience themselves
and each other physically, mentally, emotionally, and
There is love and lust, pain and pleasure, sensory overload
and sensory deprivation. In the end, the "best scenes"
bring balance, a strange and quiet state of inner rest.
It may sounds corny to say, but when all is done there
remains a peace that hums within, even as we re-enter
our lives and the pendulum swings on.
1999 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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