Scared catI’m pretty jaded when it comes to kink, but every now and then I still see things that freak me out. When that happens, I have to decide how I’m going to react. In some cases, my first instinct is to shriek something really suave like, “Oh my gods, that’s insane!” or “Are you kidding me? You actually like that?”

But then I get curious. When something provokes a strong reaction, it’s a sign that a part of me has been brought to the surface that I need to examine. So instead of running away from whatever I’m feeling I try to get in touch with it and figure out what’s going on.

A few months ago I was at a CSPC play party and saw a scene that both appalled and fascinated me. A Master and his two slaves started by putting down a couple of large tarps. I got distracted (ahem) for an hour or so, but finally came back to see what the tarps were all about. I thought they might be doing a body painting scene, and it would be fun to watch. Boy was I wrong.

The scene was well underway when I returned. The two slaves were naked now and stood facing the covered table, bracing themselves on their hands, asses presented. I saw blood and at first didn’t understand what I was looking at. Then I realized that both of them had long, thin cuts along each ass cheek. As I watched, a single-tail flicked out to lick at those cuts, making blood trail down their legs and sending little droplets flying.

The crowd of people watching stood well back as the Master whipped his slaves with precisely placed snaps of the whip. Neither of the women made a sound. I was transfixed. I’d never witnessed that much blood in BDSM play before. The lines of red streaming down their thighs shocked me.

(Edit: I just spoke with this Master, and he tells me it was a Derlin cane, not a single tail. Just goes to show how freaked out I was!)

The Master and one of his slaves are friends of mine, and I decided to say hello to him while the women cleaned up. He stood off to one side talking with some other people when I approached. He turned to me as I said hi, and I saw that he had smeared blood all over his face.

Yep. That’s when I freaked. I couldn’t meet his eyes for more than a second because I just couldn’t stop staring at his face. I managed a brief bit of small talk before slipping away. I like him a lot; he and I have played together many times, and I have a great deal of respect for him and the one of his slaves that I know. But I couldn’t stick around and talk with him when he was painted in blood.

I’ve been thinking about that scene and my reaction to it. What was it that bothered me so much? The obvious answer, of course, is the blood. Self preservation tells us that bleeding = life threatening danger. We want to make it stop as soon as possible. Then there’s the fear of disease. But I’m not really squeamish about blood when confronted with it in everyday life. I actually enjoy having blood drawn when I’m in a doctor’s office. And I’m attracted to stories about vampires (something I have in common with a hell of a lot of people to judge by book and movie sales). So why did it make me freak out this time?

Blood gift There is something primal about deliberately making another person bleed. It reaches beneath the veneer of civilization. The scene brought to mind primitive practices like warriors bathing in the blood of their enemies or hunters drinking the warm blood of their kills. In modern culture, these things are taboo. But no matter how much we try to distance ourselves from them, they are still a part of the human psyche. And what could possibly be more intimate? That was the most intense display of submission and Dominance I have ever seen. To give your life blood to your Master. To take that precious fluid from your slave and bathe in her trust and surrender.

I’m not advocating that we all give in to such primitive urges. They are taboo for a reason. But it was fascinating to see them explored in a safe, consensual way. It brought me in touch with a part of myself that I might not have examined otherwise. So I thank the Master and his slaves for giving me that gift.