:: History of BDSM VII

History of BDSM

 

Emergence of Modern BDSM

Tracing BDSM in the modern context isn’t easy – as we’ve seen, there has always been shades of different aspects throughout history where restraint, pain, and unique pleasure were involved.

After the turn of the 20th century; however, things began to further emerge. There were a couple of specific movements that have seemed to influence modern BDSM that I’ll touch on in this post.

 

Leather Subculture & the Old Guard

old guardIn the late 1940’s, there was a gay male leather culture that emerged in the post war biker scene. Within it, there grew a tradition of protocols and rituals. The term “Old Guard” was created (and is often romanticized) from this era.

While leather is closely identified with the Old Guard, you need to know that there was a very formal hierarchy. These of course were the times when people dressed up. Etiquette was very important. Most of the S&M community was gay, but it wasn’t exclusive. And in the these days anything related to the words gay or BDSM was extremely taboo.

To gain entry into the club, a Master would apprentice you. You might receive a collar of consideration – followed by a training collar – then after years of training you’d receive your actual collar. High protocol was demanded.

 

Gorean Movement

Gorean SlaveJosh Lange (better known as John Norman) was born in 1931 and wrote a series of novels that were based loosely on Nietzschean philosophy as well as social darwinism. From them, a Gorean subculture emerged that places an emphasis on servitude and slavery.

Generally speaking in a Gorean relationship there is a Master and slave. While sex is an element, there is more of an emphasis on consensual slavery down to the finite details of positions and service.

 

Modern Erotica & the New Guard

In the late 80’s and early 90’s a new subculture appeared that the Old Guard and Goreans (for the most part) despised. This New Guard sought to change some of the traditions, fuse others, and find a new synergy.

BDSM began to show it’s face more and more in Hollywood and in paperback form. From 9 1/2 weeks to Body of Evidence, movie producers and directors began to show a different side to sexual relationships. And the underground movement soared in response. Where there is one market there is also another. Modern erotica and romance novels quickly began to sweep across the nation as different imagery and fantasies made their way into ink.

 

Post-Modern

post modernOut of the New Guard emerged a post-modern group that makes up the majority of the BDSM community today. There is no defined line that one can make to divide, as there are no set rules – no set protocols. If it is Safe-Sane-Consensual then it is tolerable and accepted.

With the rise of the internet and the increase in awareness that such a subculture exists (though it is still not embraced by society), the melting pot has grown beyond a definition.

There are D/s, M/s, TIH, DD, Tops, bottoms, switches, high/medium/low protocols. To some extent, some of these groups separate themselves from the others; and while they are not all the same, they all share some similar characteristics. The older movements still exist (Old, Gorean, New), and for the most part the don’t get along. But the post modern group tends to take what it likes from each one and mixes them together to create their own identity – not for the group, but for the individual.

:: History of BDSM IV

History of BDSM4620187099_a8ae743b30Modern Era

So, change was coming, and it came during the Victorian Era of all times – a time when being a prude was awesome.

In the 1700’s, a guy known as Marquis de Sade came along and tried to liberate sexuality. He wrote stories, plays and novels that was very pornographic in nature. He was a believer of extreme freedom and didn’t want to be in bondage (pun intended) to religion or the law. Eventually, he was be killed for his writings.

About a hundred years later, another fellow by the name of Masoch gained publicity for his writings. He wrote about a number of fetishes, and like any good author, it’s understood he did his best to live them out with his mistresses and wives.

Édouard-Henri_Avril_(8)Of course, not everyone thought these practices were okay. In 1905 (same year Einstein wrote E=MC2) Freud described sadism and masochism as physiological problems (apparently we’re not right in the head – I’m okay with that, btw).

And other people were okay with it too. Strip clubs and pole dancing became popular as the burlesque dancers brought new erotica to the prostitution business as early as 1830 – they’ve been a hit since, and are best scene in Motley Crue’s “Girls, Girls, Girls” video!

As motion pictures began to be developed, it didn’t take long for eroticism to make it’s way into the picture. In 1899, the world had it’s first porn star, Louise Willy. There were even interesting steam engine fuck machines – whoa! Did my great-great grandfather use one of these steam powered vibrators on my great-great-grandmother??

steampoweredvibratorThe Victorians took BDSM to new levels as dungeons, leather, pony-play and naughty school girls entered the scene (I’m full of puns today). Short run magazines filled the streets with erotic tales and new devices for bondage and flagellation were dreamed.

By the mid 1900s, modern BDSM began to find its identity.

:: History of BDSM V

History of BDSM

So far, I’ve discussed some sexual history from Egypt to India, and the Polynesian islands to Babylon.

courtlyloveAnd if you noticed from the previous posts, several places around the world had their views on sexuality drastically changed as europeans began to take over.

During the Middle Ages, sexuality was under direct control of the Church, and though you can be certain that many had a lot of it – the public talk wasn’t so sexy.

Open expression was pretty much looked down on. Sure there was “courtly love” – but that was more of an adoration. Celibacy was celebrated as king – and sex was for the married. Punishment for sex outside of wedlock could range from penance to death. In fact King Phillip had some dudes who were fucking his daughters disemboweled, and then sent his daughters to a monastery.

sexpositionsAs far as sexual positions were concerned – there was one – missionary. Everything else was taught as being unnatural. Women on top inferred that the woman was superior, so that was looked down. Coming in from behind? No – thats how animals fuck, can’t have that. Anal and oral sex were a no go, because those are for pleasure (and we can’t have that now, can we?). And of course homosexuality was punished by death.

cod pieceBut there was an interesting side. The codpiece. You know, the fashion accessory men wore that made their cocks look rock solid and emphasized their manhood. Quite an interesting irony, actually. I’ve seen some styles return, but I don’t think this one will.

And whether or not the Church condoned it or not (which they didn’t) – prostitution thrived. It’s easy to see why, with all the rules and regulations. In the words of Poison, guys (and gals) were “Looking for nothing, but a good time!”, and they found it in the brothels.prostitutes

:: BDSM History – IV

History of BDSM

 

 

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN

harem_beautyBefore we shift into more modern times, there’s one last historical group I wanted to touch on – the ancient near easterners. This area would cover Iraq, Babylon, Mesopotamia, Judea, and other areas.

 

There isn’t a ton of art work, but what exists is pretty erotic. Check out these pottery shards – hair pulling fucking from behind awesomeness!

sex-e1389288155331-965x543

2Here’s another shard, that shows the guy penetrating again from behind, as the woman is drinking from a clay pot, and the guy apparently drinking something himself. The local historians believe the drinking was symbolic of oral sex.

It seems the area was highly erotic! It also seems to indicate that the Babylonians believed in getting drunk while having sex.

Other pottery reveals different sexual positions, but the most common one is from behind. There isn’t discussion about specific means of entry – but one can only suppose that anal sex was fair game.

The pottery has been found in temples, graves, and private homes. It’s artwork that represents daily life it seems. In the Epic of Gilgamesh, sex is a human pleasure that should be indulged upon “let your wife delight in your lap”!

Hammurabi also had several codes to cover interesting things. There were laws that seemingly protected prostitutes. In ancient Mesopotamia, prostitution wasn’t a frowned upon way of living, and the women needed laws to protect their rights.

When Alexander went to Babylon (and Herodutus before him) – they were struck at how obsessed the locals were with sex. And it was probably the sex that kept Alexander there so long (he too, has some interesting stories about what he fancied)

Though the other cultures in the area seemed to have explicit views and artwork on sex, the Israelites seemed to have very interesting literature when it came to sex. On one hand, sex was procreation – but in Solomon’s book, sexuality is used overtly as an erotic image (check out this passage: “My beloved put his hand by the hole of the door and my bowels were moved for him”)

6a0105360252aa970c0168e5341eaa970cOther times, it seems that the ancient authors didn’t hide the fact that life happens: David had more concubines than you could shake a stick at and fucked his friends wife (then had him killed). On one hand, adultery and sexual impurity was something you could get stoned (killed) for, but on the other hand there was some pretty raunchy stuff, like Lot’s daughters getting him drunk and having sex with him. There are a bunch of weird and interesting sexual encounters throughout the Old Testament.

The Hebrews seemed to, after the building of the second temple to continue to further separate themselves from their neighbors, and of course many of their traditions and rules carried forward. It wouldn’t be long, around the late 300’s A.D. that these rules would begin to make a stage throughout most of Europe and only grow in strength. In the rest of the Middle East, the Muslims would also have similar strict laws concerning sexuality. And for quite some time, sexuality throughout the first millennium and most of the second would take a hit.

But it couldn’t be squashed completely – a change was in the air (and between the sheets!)

:: History of BDSM iii

History of BDSMMoving to the islands of the Pacific, I thought I’d share some sexual history from some of the most beautiful places on earth.

POLYNESIAN

men tattoo polynesianAs with many places, it can be difficult to understand sexual behavior because it’s a private matter. We learn a lot through artwork, and literature – through indirect means.

The polynesian islands were untouched by westerners for a very long time. Captain Cook made his voyage in the 1700’s along with others and they documented a lot of what they encountered.

There existed different forms of bondage and slavery, and there was a “kaup” system – an elaborate pattern of rules, and punishments that governed relationships.

The concept of marriage didn’t exist. Ellis in 1782 said “there are no people in the world who indulge themselves more in their sensual appetites than these “ of the Hawaiians.

I like the sound of that.

3_Samoan_girls-1902Because of the climate, nudity was more of a norm than seen as being sexual. They played in the water without clothes, they surfed naked. Nudity was also a symbol of death or punishment, of submission or an appeal for forgiveness as well as a sign of respect. Whoever met the King was required to unrobe themselves and lie down prostrate.

People of the same class were allowed any type of sexual behavior. The same word for “orgasm” also means “joy” – pretty cool.

There weren’t any restrictions on positions. Shared masturbation, sex between uncommitted couples, having multiple lovers were all acceptable. Sex was good and healthy for everyone – young and old.

Sexual exclusivity wasn’t practiced except for maybe 20% of the Polynesian cultures. Relationships came and went. Having sex with someone else wasn’t a cause for separation, because holding spite or malice towards another was looked down upon.

Women often had sex because it would be rude to say no. It was a compliment to be asked to have sex. There wasn’t “rape”, but there did exist “romantic abduction”.

Because the Polynesian cultures didn’t have any stigmas about sex, marriage, and other related matters, they found a freedom from many of the fears we often face today. They instructed not only how the “hows” but also the “whys”. Sex wasn’t about what was to be avoided – but a passionate act between two people shared themselves with each other.

maya-gabeira-surfing-naked-espn-the-body-issue-surfing-610x373

:: History of BDSM ii

History of BDSM

Continuing from earlier, I’m moving to the East as we see how the history of sexuality has led us to today.

Kamasutra5INDIA

India has played a major role in sexuality, notably because of the Kama Sutra. I’ve been to India, and I can tell you they are still a very sexual people.

The earlier attitudes of Indian sexuality comes from Hindu, Buddhist, and Janism texts as well as the Vedas. They speak of sex, marriage, and rituals.

Sex was primarily seen as a mutual duty between lovers (primarily husband and wife) – each were to please each other mutually and equally. Sex was typically a private affair (even though there is voyerism in their artwork). Kamasutra1

The Kama Sutra is probably the single most important sexual piece of literature ever written. The Kama Sutra had elaborate positions and discussions about sex.

It also mentioned allowable ways and places to strike ones lover.

But as the English and Islamic cultures arrived in India, sexuality was given an adverse blow – sex became a duty.Khajurahosculpture

Still, there remained a tantric philosophy that lingered – that sex was a sacred act, one that was part of our spiritual journey. Some elements of tantric sexuality avoid ejaculation.

That part sucks.

 

 

japaneseJAPAN

Sexuality is treated as a central role in many parts of Japanese history. Japan has also had a strong history of being a ‘shame society’ – where honor is most important. This brings a fresh air of service and humility that we often miss in the West.

geishaOriginally, the Geisha wasn’t a prostitute – she was a trained woman in serving a more holistic approach to sexuality – she knew the arts, music, and conversation.

Women were seen as subservient to men in most respects, though it’s difficult to view their culture through Western culture. The service wasn’t necessarily degrading. japanese

Japan also gave us the tea ceremony, bonsai, shibari, food play, and the art of bukkake among other fetishes.

 

 

chinaCHINA

One of the books I’ve had in my library for years is called the I Ching, in it, sexual intercourse is one of the main ways to understand the world. Heaven it seemed is said to have sex with the earth.

Sex of epic proportions!

China as a long history of moments of sexism. But their literature shows an interest in affecttion, unabashed sexuality and all around open mindedness about sex.

In Taoism, sex is a joining energy – something that provides health and wholeness. Dating back to the Han dynasty, sexual activity was seen as a spiritual activity. Ming Dynasty

While women were typically given a place of inferiority, don’t be mistaken – Taoism requires an equal pleasing for both partners.

Confucianism seemed to squash all that though, making sex more of a taboo topic in public life – but taosim remained in the background, eventually springing up in Japan where it grew stronger.

This last picture is from a sex museum – a little bondage on a big cock!

Chinese Sex Museum

:: History of BDSM

History of BDSMBefore I get into looking at a few things, I would like to preface them by saying that BDSM as we know it today isn’t that old; however, there are splashes of it throughout history. And while there was a lot of actual sexual slavery going on – I do not condone anything that isn’t consensual.

Sexuality seems to have always been an area of life that the masses felt one way, while a minority felt another. In my opinion, it’s something to be celebrated and participated in with jubilation and reverence both.

Back to history.

If you look at ancient cultures you will see some elements of dominance, sadism, bondage – even if they might have been used differently. I think it’s interesting to look back at it. I think it’s interesting how sexuality has changed from culture to culture and see how it evolved.

I hope it’s a fun journey. I’ll start with Egypt, Greece, and Rome.

Egypt

3446659781_430b9e6198As with most ancient cultures, there is probably more that is created than actual. So many want you to believe different things, they tell stories to push their agenda – and never cite any sources.

In Egypt, there are only a few depictions such as the Erotic Turin, and there are some discussions in the Book of the Dead, as well as in their mythology.

Is she squirting?                                                             Pull that Hair!

 turin_137bturin_132b

       

 

 

It is understood that sex wasn’t taboo as it is in the West today. Sex was important – from birth to death, and rebirth. There are stories of necrophlia and sex with gods. Sex was believed to take place in this life, and the life to come. There are tales of adultery, masterbation, exhibitionsim and others. 3446950325_8e9444c9f2

The noble class (as usual) had a wide range of customs. There are specific articles of clothing worn. Ramses had 8 wives and over 100 concubines. And there’s plenty of stories about the Pharoah’s masturbating into the Nile too.

That’s what I’m going to do when I visit Egypt – come into the Nile.

GREEK

Ancient GreeceTo the Greeks, sex was enjoyed between people who respected each other. It was to be enjoyed freely to the point of realtionships between a man and a younger male partner – don’t be mistaken, these were the same Greeks of Sparta and Athens who could kick your ass.

greeks loved cockThe male body was especially glorified in artwork. The Greeks loved sculpting themselves in the buff. It’s obvious by some of the artwork, that the Greeks loved cock – look at the size of that thing!

Aristotle once asked why people are ashamed to admit they want sex – in other words, if it’s something you want – then explore it. It’s not that the Greeks didn’t like sex – they loved it. But even today, many people regard sex as a taboo topic. Some things don’t change.

amphoraSex was celebrated. There were slaves of both sexes, concubines, prostitutes, marriage. It was thought that Zeus created us originally as ‘whole’ – i.e. no male or females, and then when he got pissed off, he split us up, and since then each half has been looking for the other half.

The Greeks also enjoyed a good whipping.

 

ROME

800px-Pompeya_erótica3The Romans drifted a little from the Greeks – sex was emphasized within marriage – even as there were countless whorehouses and orgies and by the look of their artwork, they enjoyed pretty much everything with anyone. Prostitution was legal, and the body was glorified in art. Artwork began to change towards the end of the second century BC and it became rarer to see male nudity.

Many of the Ceasers were sex-crazed including castrating their partners and marrying them, having sex with their mothers and sisters, sexual encounters with very young boys and girls, and orgies of epic proportions. It would follow that if the Ceasers enjoyed sex in this way – that many others did as well. Certainly, Pompeii is one such example where sexuality was at the forefront.Roman Voyerism

Sexual slavery was common place. It was a core feature of Roman slavery. Slaves were property under Roman law and the owner could use them as they desired. Sexual service was expected from the slaves and concubines.

 

Sexual_scene_on_pompeian_mural_2The Romans enjoyed anal sex with men or boys – where they “took it like a woman”. They liked a woman on top. They fucked prostitutes, and liked oral sex as well. Voyerism and group sex is common in artwork as well. Mastrubation was seen as a lesser release but still something to partake of.

 

640px-Roman_oil_Lamp_with_erotic_motif_05This is an old oil lamp on the left – when blow jobs make in onto your household lighting pieces, you know what’s going on when the lights go out!

I really enjoy their artwork. I lived near Pompeii and visited a couple of times, you could feel the difference in the air as you walk around and wondered exactly what it was like back then.