Fetish, Gardner, and the Scourge

For some reason, I feel driven to write about sex – well, not sex.  Fetishes.  Fetishes are those feelings…those needs that you have, perhaps from a prepubescent age, that are sexual, but not related to a directly sexual act.  Depending on the type of fetish, it may become a lifestyle.

This post is being created because I people watch, and often, fetishes are the butt of everyone’s sexual jokes.  “I don’t do that” someone will say haughtily, when I know of an instance where someone engages in that behavior because they can’t help it.  But, those with fetishes and alternative desires are not diseased.  The engaging in the behavior is a choice.  They are not weak for having strange urges.  And that discrimination, less recognized than that against homosexuals, but no less hurtful – upsets me.

Because fetishes are of interest to me, I have accumulated a fair amount of knowledge over the years – as any exploratory teen would attest to.  Within that knowledge, I have found many ‘case studies’ of those people who, as mentioned before, had these urges from a prepubescent stage of their life, before they knew what “sex” was.  Are fetishes genetic?  Do they run through families or the father or the mother?  What spawns fetishes, if they’re not genetic, but present in prepubescent stages?  People with fetishes can’t *all* have screwed up childhoods or abuse stories.  Most don’t.

And those who have fetishes are not driven to those, and kept beyond their abilities to use their brains.  By this, I mean that, people with fetishes are intelligent!   Just because something drives them, doesn’t mean it controls them.  They can even go so far as to discuss their lifestyles with dignity and a fair amount of contemplation.

And this brings me to my next point.  The “Sacrifice” within a Gardnerian ritual involves the scourge.  You scourge the initiate as their test, and the act, itself, is very ritualized.  The act, though perhaps not intended to deal a massive amount of pain, is certainly not intended to deal pleasure.

How then, are those who follow the Gardnerian traditions expected to participate within the rituals, if they possess any sort of domination/submission, spanking, whipping, or other masochistic fetish?  For men, how are they supposed to kneel, skyclad, and receive their strokes without reacting to it as they have in the same instance, with their partner wielding a similar instrument?  How are women supposed to live out their ‘darkest’ fantasy of being whipped, while maintaining proper etiquette within the circle?

Is there something inherently wrong with becoming aroused in a circle that was not cast for sex or the Great Rite?  Is there something inherently wrong with becoming aroused during the scourging process?  How about the binding?

We value sex as pleasure, yet it has its place, too.  Should there be an alternate ritual process for those who enjoy the beating?  Or are we made – regardless of fetish – somewhere deep inside, to all get a little aroused from the scourging?  Was Gardner, from whom we receive the scourging rituals, himself a sadist or a masochist?

Does this bring into question the integrity of the rituals at hand?

I will try to tackle these questions at a better time than 2 o’clock in the morning; one by one.  Any comments?

Double Bind: Sex

I won’t go so far as to say I grew up in an active Christian household. But my parents, probably like the majority of Christians in America, hold the ideal that the most important, the only true religion, is Christianity, with one God, and Jesus. They never pushed it onto me – don’t get me wrong. But, between that overall feeling and the general atmosphere of my town, I learned two things:

  • Sex is bad.
  • Sex should not be mixed with religion.

Of course, Wicca teaches the opposite. Sex is a life affirming action that we respect and hold to be respected in the highest. Sex should be revered. I also learned something from growing up that is equally hard to overcome:

  • We don’t talk about sex.

Now, here, I come to a slight problem. Between these three, how am I supposed to perform any group ritual? All initiation rituals involve some sexual aspect to them. It is hard for me to come to terms with the idea that my rituals may turn me on. It seems as though the arousal would be distracting from the true purpose of the ritual. But is it?

I hesitate to speak of which parts of the rituals would leave me aroused, but suffice to say that there is always the possibility. Arousal aside, I see much of life being acted through various forms of domination/submission, some of which are played out in our rituals. Life, sex, and domination/submission go hand in hand in hand, and I realize that the acts are an integral part of not only our religion and its rituals, but also, life.

But, I am also working off of the assumption that purification, through the scourge, must be painful.  Pain is bad.  Therefore, purification must feel bad.  But…what if…we accept the pain for what it is?  Fear is the only thing that makes anything excessively painful.  So, if we switch up a few things, we solve the puzzle.

  • Pain is not bad.
  • Fear of pain makes it feel bad.
  • Purification does not have to feel bad.
  • Don’t fear purification.
  • Ritual does not have to be validated by painful purification.

Since sex was not painful, I did not before, classify it or arousal under “pure act”:

  • Sex is not bad, nor is it painful
  • Sex is okay to include in ritual
  • Sex is a pure act

Now of course, I understood these to a level before today.  But the change between understanding these concepts, and being comfortable with them is not always the easiest.  Does anyone else find themselves in a situation similar?