Sex and Rage – our Revolution of Love


artwork by Becca Human @becca.human

When I was younger, I often found myself looking at pictures of the 60s and 70s and feeling nostalgic. For me, it represented a wilder time, one full of incredible firsts and dynamic beginnings. The Civil Rights Movement, as we know it today, was flourishing. Funk music was born, and whether you like it or not paved the way for Rap, Punk and other sounds of the anti-establishment. It was Angela Davis and screaming freedom. It was certainly not apathetic. Free Love was on the tips of everyone’s tongues, on the hips, on the lips. It seemed so exciting, I couldn’t help but feel I was born in the wrong era, one where…

We are living in difficult times. Perhaps, no, certainly, more complicated than it was then. Especially for the youth, it seems that our disillusionment with authority is complete. It only takes a quick scroll through your twitter feed to become aware of the abundance of varied and divergent views that contribute to the complexity of today’s current social and political climate. 

We are angry and we are tired, yet somehow, we are so full of Love that it hurts. We cry for what appears to be no reason. We become angry at the smallest thing like moody teenagers. We often feel like there is nowhere, and no-one to turn to. We consume drugs and alcohol and purchase clothes and phones and devices that distract us from our pain.

We seek warm spaces and familiarity, people who understand our pain, and therefore better understand the means to our joy. As marginalized communities, the need to stick together and defend ourselves becomes a very critical matter of survival.  

As a Sex Worker, I exist in a world that, to me, represents a realm of experiences so varied and complex that it can often feel overwhelming. The intersections of race, class and sexuality are so strongly apparent that to overlook Sex Workers as educators in these topics are at best ignorant, at worse dangerous. To ignore the wisdom of people engaged in the oldest profession in human history, is ridiculous. No one knows better than us the complexities of the human soul. No one knows better than Sex Workers the souls of the suppressed. No one knows better the minds of the Oppressors than Sex Workers. They tell us so themselves. 

Conversations with my friends and colleagues in Sex Work, about their own lives, range from experiences of extreme abuse and trauma to feelings of empowerment and liberation. 

It is important not to devalue any of these experiences. This is not to say that we should not prioritise those who need extra resources, support and/or care, whether emotional, psychological, educational or financial. We must find space to affirm the experiences of individuals, to not say that we know the quality nor the pain of someone’s experience. That no one is a statistic, and that everybody has the ability to heal as well as to harm. Because what becomes clearer, day by day, is the one thing that every human wants is power. It is our desperate need for power, to be heard, that is the thing that is destroying us. Once power is claimed, it is very difficult to let go. Hence why you see people who do not look like the typical white patriarch oppressing their brothers and sisters- it is fear. Fear of what would be done to them if they are so bold, so compassionate, as to relinquish the throne.

Sex and Rage began as a response to these ideas of Power. I was thinking of the 70s, of the connections between liberation and Sex. I was thinking of Betty Davis with her sexually charged sound, devastatingly female, unapologetically Black, and yet so wild that the NAACP encouraged people to ban her concerts. Not the right kind of female. Not the right kind of black. I was thinking of Audre Lord, loving ferociously and completely, with fierce grace, giving tribute to every single Lover and acknowledging this, each one cherished, each one essential. I was thinking of Marsha P Johnson and Silvia Rivera, resplendent in the flowers fragrant with their spirit and the colours of their pride, building communities based on Love whilst simultaneously being ejected from them, because Trans was not then the issue- it was, according to the community, a non-issue and a burden.I was thinking of Angela Davis, dedicating her entire life to Revolution, a Revolution of Love restless, roaming, going, not necessarily where she was wanted, but where she was needed. I was also thinking that we will never know all there is to know about these people. For they are Lovers and Protectors. After all, Secrets are different to Silence.

Sex and Rage is a movement that centres Sex Workers, Activists and Educators. 

By placing Sex Workers, of all descriptions, from prostitutes to porn stars, dommes and deviants, and those who champion Pleasure as essential to healing, at the centre of our discussions, we search for meaning in the Work beyond that which is most obvious- the release that is offered, lessons on intimacy and self-love, explorations on identity and race and gender. How do we become fully autonomous beings? Ones whose bodies are sensitive and receptive to pleasure, to change, to Love? How do we lay claim to that which is rightfully ours, that which our fingers can caress and our minds can conceive? 

The body is through that which we experience the world. Our abilities to experience touch, taste, texture and tone are as varied as there are sentient beings in this world, and yet society is structured in such a way that it prioritises only a small percentage of beings to enjoy the fruits of everybody else’s labour. Those with money, with power, who don’t need wheelchairs, or welfare, or “Why Not’s?” whose skin is not tourmaline, amber, bronze or brilliant with tears. Sex and Rage centres those who have reached those bottomless pits of despair and are doing the work to rise above. Sex and Rage holds space for workshops that touch both body and soul, understanding that, in the material world, if one is not free to navigate the autonomy of their own sensations, then their mind is not free to explore the potentialities of their own existence. In this vein, Sex and Rage’s facilitators explore Sensory Domination, with Indy B, Body Worker and Domme, where people can “explore the different languages spoken in the play of domination/submission,” and understand the rhythms of these roles in our daily existence. I personally facilitate workshops such as Self-Defence and Intimacy, where we see how martial arts can not just be a life-saving skill, but create a personal relationship with a dynamic, sensual body.  

We understand that it is not safe to have every space open to all. We prioritise those who have burned, are burning, to their very ashes, and are at the point of rising as a phoenix. Those whose spirits have been crushed, only to have found their very essence, and who desire others to find theirs. It is not the job of the marginalised to teach those with more money , time and opportunities why, exactly, they are experiencing privilege. But we must be honest with ourselves. We must find ways of contacting these people, and creating dialogue, and holding space, in more creative and diverse ways, if we are to make a substantial change in this world. We are carefully creating spaces that are open, for example, to white people, held by white facilitators who are already doing the work, so that people of colour are not called upon to hold these spaces again and again, at the cost of pain and frustration. We are making spaces for cis-men where they can learn to become accountable for their often violent actions, by exploring their own abuse and suffering, and embark on journeys of personal self-love, acceptance, exploring their Loving Potential.

Sex Workers can be the catalyst for this alchemy. We understand, better than anyone, the intricacies of the human mind in its most vulnerable state. On a daily basis we come into contact with people with power, excessive amounts of power sustained without Love or Awareness, who are destroying the world, destroying us. And they must burn, burn as we have, in the fires of Destruction and Transformation. In the material world, they are the ones with privilege, with their fast cars and glass towers where they can shut themselves away and ignore the rest of the world burning. But it is Us who have the privilege of spirit- it is Us with fuller hearts, with more Love, full of the kind of Rage that bursts through our tingling spines as wings through which we can fly upwards, higher than the towers, higher than the moon. It is us who know God.  

There is a reason why great revolutions always start with the Erotic, the Sensual. A life without pleasure, is barely a life at all. When creating healing spaces, we do so out of the need to greater feel more beauty, more joy. One’s own body should be, and can be, the most ultimate healing space, in whatever way it functions. A hand executing a poem, painting the colours of the Sun, of the moon. Your genitals trembling at the caress of a lover’s hand, or your own. The belly rumbling with the force of a deep, primal laughter. 

For the first time, I am not nostalgic. I am very much rooted in this time and place, in this very moment. There is work to be done, and it takes a sense of the environment to do it. I am learning to speak my truth, and that journey is long and arduous, because there are many truths. But I take comfort in the fact there is only One Absolute Truth- that of Love.

The time is now. This is our revolution.

Becoming Venus: transforming identities


This is my first post on the blog, and I guess I’d better start with a little bit about who I am,  and why (as people who have known me a while may wonder) I have decided to take on the name Black Venus- well, that’s Madame Black, or Lady Venus, to you.
I’m hoping that this post will clear a few things up, and set the tone for what’s to come in this blog.

Most sex workers, from prostitutes to dommes, use a pseudonym. It’s a way of staying safe, of course, protecting yourself from obsessive clients and prudish employers from stalking you and ruining your life. But it also serves another purpose- it’s a part of you, an essential, sexual part of you, that blossoms forth and is offered to the world- it is just as valid, and in some ways, just as complex as the “real” you, in the sense that it informs greatly the person who wakes up every day, makes their bed, and stands, naked and alone, ready to confront the many challenges of life.

When I was 19, I made the decision to become a stripper. It was born out of desire, more so though not entirely, as opposed to necessity- something that I have grown more aware of over the years as the debate around choice and sex work has become deluged with confusing and often derogatory remarks and people, sadly, speaking for and over others. Choice is a privilege- but the parameters of choice are complicated, and what dictates choice are different for everybody and, in fact, how we handle a given set of choices is often the very thing that constructs our identities- but this is a topic for another post.

I’ve been Sativa Mist for the past six years. Six! It was conjured up by me and one of my best friends, both of us weed smokers, in a puff of excitement one afternoon before my first audition at Metropolis strip club in Bethnal Green. I’d gone to see Parliament Funkadelic, one of my favourite bands, play at the Jazz Cafe with my mum (dancing on stage with George Clinton is still one of the highlights of my life) and at the end, his granddaughter, Sativa, came out on stage to rap. Wow. I thought, and as most people do, paradoxically, ironically when they come across something original, I plagiarised it for myself. When I told my friend Sam, lying with the ubiquitous spliff dangling from his mouth, “Mist. Sativa Mist. Cause you’re coming out through these clouds.” And the rest, as they say, was history.

Sativa was the things I was not. A fierce bitch in leopard print with a wild ‘fro. I would never have approached men in bars, and in my daily life, I mostly wore baggy jeans and loose shirts, had only had sex a handful of times, with a handful of awkward boys, and was frustrated and was seething with a burning, sexual energy. In the strip club, I was given not just a moment for that, but a platform. Despite being intelligent, I had been failing college miserably. Troubles I had had in my personal life had left me questioning parts of myself and my identity. But Sativa was confident, sexy, unbothered. She didn’t question herself- she was too busy being herself. I was a terrible hustler- a great dancer, but a terrible hustler. I had conversations with men at the bar over philosophy and Parmenides, but pocket diving I hadn’t quite grasped yet. I jumped from club to club, never making much money, but intent on exploring- exploring my identity primarily as a sexual being. I was the odd one with hairy armpits and charity shop dresses- I had more than one odd look thrown at me in the early years, from clients to House Mums- but those early years were formative, and I’m glad I did it my way.
I fell into wrestling because a punter at the last strip club I worked in noticed, as a lot of people do, my bulging calf muscles, and asked for a wrestling session. Over the last year and a half I have begun the foray into Domination, which fetish wrestling contains elements of- I love it more than I ever possibly thought I would. Again, that’s a topic for another post, but it was in the fetish wrestling and domme scene that I, both Sativa and M., began-  started beginning- to really find themselves. By a lot of people standards, I’m pretty new to this- but I’d say I have talent.

Wrestling, as you can imagine, is much different from stripping. A strippers aesthetics are, generally, hyper-feminine. Lots of makeup, hair extensions, skin tight dresses and heels. Big breasts and lips are de rigeur.
The wrestling and domination world was a different kettle of fish. Yes, there still exists silicone and weaves, and most girls choose to be hairless. But physical strength is desired. And not just desired- idolised. I’m not saying that strippers aren’t strong- quite the opposite, to survive the strip club, you have to be a bad motherfucking bitch, sometimes ruthless, and be able to deal with rejection either on the chin or to ignore it completely and carry on jabbing your target until you have him where you want him- namely, the VIP. Pole dancers are athletes, without a doubt. I respect these girls immensely. But it’s intense. It can be draining on the system, so many late nights and partying for the dollar.
In wrestling, for me personally as an athlete, I feel a lot more healthy and in control. There isn’t a pressure to drink and do drugs. I’m able to use my background in martial arts, something which is notoriously hard to make money from unless you are in the top 5% in the world, or teaching every day. I’m respected for my physical strength and ability to engage and endure combat. I don’t have to hide it like I felt I had to when stripping. Many of us wrestlers  don’t wear makeup- you’d sweat that shit off in no time. Of course in sessions Dommes often do, but it’s at her discretion, not a requirement. There’s a big rejection of mainstream ideals of beauty and desirability in the domination world. Domination is about subversion- subverting heterosexual norms and identities. It’s about finding relief from what is perceived to be normal. I find the scene much more egalitarian. More body types and looks are accepted. Women are worshipped, and their boundaries are always to be respected. A Domme or wrestler will never tolerate a cocky client or playmate- respect and the Dommes boundaries are constantly affirmed.

I’ve been Sativa for six years- that’s a long time, but it’s nothing compared to the amount of time I know I’m going to be doing this work. I’m a different person at 25 to who I was at 19. My behaviour has changed massively over the years- I am more confident, mature, and I have such a greater awareness of my sexuality now, and it’s fluidity. Its colours are Black- depth, absorption, adaptability, and White- Venus, light, reflections. Both black and white reflect my ancestry, also. So for me, being Black Venus is part of me expressing a side that is much more dominant, sexually expressive, and in control of her desires and behavioural patterns. Sativa is still here, completely, predominantly as a wrestler. Personality wise, Sativa sometimes gives in a little, let’s people off the hook- Venus, on the other hand, leaves no room for that at all. Venus realises the transformative powers of domination, and puts that into effect- always.

Representation of Sex Workers in Pop Culture

So, I’ve been silent for quite a while- I’ve been a busy woman, and this pandemic means we are living, as the news doesn’t tire of telling, in unprecedented times. That means unexpected appointments, meetings, socialising when and how I can, being creative and exploring new avenues of work, activism, facilitation and of course, sex work. For those of us who are used to precarious living circumstances, like many sex workers are, while this time has been extremely difficult for many of us, in many ways we are used to this bullshit, lack of representation, lack of government funding, lack of resources, lack of respect etc. Anyhow, I recently wrote an article for gal-dem about the representation of sex worker in pop culture. Have a read of the excerpt below, and then follow the link to check out the article.

In other news, I’ve been reading Foucault’s History of Sexuality. Fascinating stuff. I really dig it- so far (I’m waiting for him to get problematic, but then again, that’s fine. We always feel like we need to agree with everything our favourite philosophers/politicians/celebrities say- that’s for another article.) My next article will be my views on this work, so stay tuned. I’m back and I’m focused.

Stay safe, everyone.

From FKA twigs to Hustlers, we need to rethink how sex workers are portrayed in pop culture

More and more, sex workers are being used for aesthetics in popular culture, here’s why sex workers should be telling their own stories and experiences.

Still from ‘We are the Womxn’ by FKA twigs

Sex work is one of the most stigmatised professions in the world, and yet people remain fascinated with the lives, images and fantasies the media creates around sex workers. Strippers, in particular, have a long history of being portrayed on film. In the last decade or so, the mainstream view of stripper culture has had a bit of a renaissance, with exotic dancers becoming a part of pop culture iconography – and when it comes to renaissance and pop-culture, FKA twigs is the queen. 

FKA twigs’ image has morphed over the years to become a cosmic amalgamation of Elizabethan lace and baby curls dipped in molten chrome. With a background in cabaret, once being a staple at The Box in Soho, she’s been honing her skills in the last few years in the art of pole dance, and she’s become exceptionally good at it. But recently, she’s been attracting some criticism from members of the stripper community, with claims she has been deleting comments from social media by sex workers and of being a “culture vulture”…

“Self-Defence begins with the belief that you’re worth defending”

I’ve practiced Martial Arts since I could walk. I grew up in gritty gyms and slummy sports halls. Both my parents were Karate-Kas, so when they went training, they brought me with them. I sprawled on greyish-green mats that smelled of sweat and dedication, watching my parents and their friends wreck pads, and each other, in a flurry of fists and kicks. My mum taught a Saturday morning class in a dodgy snooker hall (it was a club in the evening and a studio on the weekends, and always smelled of smoke) in Harlesden where we lived. On Mondays it was at the Tabernacle in Ladbroke Grove. When I was 17, I started practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and a decade later I am in love with the art more than ever. Self-defence has always been more than accessible to me- it’s a normal, part and parcel aspect to my life. And I’ve never really thought much about it.   

It wasn’t until I started facilitating a queer fight club with an artist, now friend, who reached out for a queer, femme of colour martial artist on social media, that I began to think of the multitude of ways my upbringing in martial arts gave me an embodied sense of philosophical and feminist practice. Our workshops, which combine martial arts, herbalism and movement meditation, centre the QTIPOC (queer, trans, intersex people of colour) community. Our workshops are embodied and emotional observations that explore physical and meta-physical methods of self-protection, self-care, and self-love. These sessions, funnily enough, were my first foray into London’s queer scene- I found it both comforting and surprising. I hadn’t heard of the word ‘non-binary’ before. I’d never been in a room with so many queer people. And I’d certainly never considered the fact that martial arts can often be inaccessible to our community.  I’d grown up with my mother coming home from competitions with black eyes, matching circuit times with men in training. I’d grown up around Black men consistently proving their abilities, winning the World Championships a multitude of times. Women and people of colour engaging in self-defence practices was nothing new to me. But I realised my inclusive experience of martial-arts was not necessarily common- it was something to celebrate. But also, coming into the realisation that I myself was queer, and how important bringing myself into queer community was for this understanding, came with the realisation that although the Dojos (martial arts schools) I have always existed in are open-minded spaces, marginalized identity has never been centred. This is not necessarily a negative thing – when you come to train, you come to train. The focus is on the Self, on being centred, on harmonising Spirit. These spaces are for everybody. But this is conditional – to first walk through the doors of an academy, to engage in your first self-defence class, you have to know, or be ready to begin to know, that you yourself are worth defending.

For me, Fight Club was an initiation into queer culture. Being queer is something more than a sexuality- it is a way of life, identifying your being with liberation, with freeing ways of existing, of loving. People engaged in “alternative lifestyles” often find themselves at the mercy of capitalistic exploitation – experiencing institutional racism, gender-based violence, assault and harassment. Many sex workers I know are queer. Whether nurtured or neglected by society, the healing nature of our work is often at the expense of our own physical and emotional safety and boundaries. We may be drawn to the work out of necessity, or instinct, or both, or neither. Healers come in many different forms. There is virtually not a single sex worker, person of colour, womxn or queer person who has not experienced a threatening or violent situation, specifically in intimate and domestic situations. The normalisation of sexual and gender-based violence are a direct result of systemic misogyny, and it is sexual minorities and marginalised communities who experience this type of violence most profoundly. As blood trickles down, it is often femmes and queer-presenting people who feel the brunt of societies aggression and are left to pick up the pieces of our own, and everybody else’s, lives. Misogyny and hypersexual representations of femininity that we are exposed to as soon as we are born, often render us ill-equipped when it comes to dealing with intimidation and violence of a sexual nature- not just physically, but emotionally- and sometimes, when it comes to community, strategically and supportively. For womxn and minority groups, at once engaged in the struggle for social equity, in work that defies capitalism such as healing and community organising, struggling to make an ethical dime all the while fighting for respect and the freedom to be ourselves, we are constantly and underhandedly met with the message we are not worth defending, not by the state, by our educational, religious and social institutions, nor by our partners or employers – or by our own selves. By this same token, and to be discussed in a future essay, we must also be aware of how men become contributors to this violence- by their own experiences of physical and emotional abuse, shame, encouragement to suppress vulnerability and non-heteronormative sexual feelings, there is a devastating effect on these men’s lives and of those around them.

A womxn’s body is so often under scrutiny, particularly in times of vulnerability, it seems strange that when something violent or damaging is inflicted upon us, people’s reaction is often to look away and ignore. We need to remember that by being bystanders to such situations we are taking the side of the offender, and dis-enabling people to take agency of their own healing after experiencing harassment or surviving assault. I have been assaulted several times – self-defence helped me look after myself, physically, in those situations. But in the situation where I was spiked, for example, self-defence had more of an impact in the days following. The difference with this situation was that when it happened, I thought I had been around friends- I found a lack of support from several people I trusted, and that was difficult. Being aware of the well-being of the community is something that is stressed in any good martial arts class, when it’s practice as a sport is secondary to it’s primary function of building resilient and self-aware individuals – standing up for ourselves, and showing solidarity for and offering protection to those who are oppressed, is absolutely practicing self-defence. Self-defence is also withdrawing from places, and people, who don’t make you feel safe- not just dodgy men in dark alleys, but friends, partners, mentors, and anyone else who is knowingly or unknowingly engaging in neglectful or abusive behaviour.

The words at the top of the page, “self-defence begins with the belief that you’re worth defending” is a mantra that my teacher often reminds us of in class. With these words, he reminds us, not just that we are important, but that part of our practice as martial-artists is to remember that we are- and to remind each other of this, too. It is impossible to learn how to defend yourself without having a community, however small, who is also engaged in your development. My teacher reminds us also that “self-defence starts in the morning- when you first get out of bed.” Self-defence, healing, progression-life- is war – but, it is a war of love. In order to win, we must take each day as it comes. We must start the day aware, aware of the challenges that we may possibly face, the trust that may be broken, the lies that may be told – the love that may be given, the joy that may be shared.

Self-defence practices should be at the very root of community building.  We need to start by remembering that we are worth defending, and we need to remind our friends and communities of this too. The Black Panthers were not only effective community organisers who provided medical, educational and legal services to the Black community, they also upheld the belief that it’s members should take up arms and learn how to defend themselves and the community. We should continue this legacy, with a constant reminder that we are worth defending. Through self-defence we can empower our minds, bodies and spirits, on an individual and collective level. With training, dedication, dialogue, debate, reflection and love, in the name of justice- we become warriors.

The Magic of Fetishism

The fetish is, then, first of all, something intensely personal, whose truth is experienced as a substantial movement from “inside” the self (the self as totalized through an impassioned body, a “body without organs”) into the self-limited morphology of a material object situated in space “outside.” – William Pietz

Have you ever had an orgasm that was so mind-blowingly incredible there was something almost divine about it? Had a cosmic connection with somebody, or something? There is something inherently spiritual about the realm of the senses. We are on such a never ending search for the ultimate sexual experience that it can seem at times, our lives are just one long erotic pilgrimage. (Life’s not so bad when you put it that way…)

When you see someone who is to you attractive, it is almost impossible not to look, to not be drawn in by their presence. Or maybe not their presence- it could just be their massive breasts. Often you are not sure why exactly you are attracted to someone- you just are. It’s palpable. Energetic. Sometimes it’s massive breasts.

When breasts bring peace Insta

But what about when that feeling is not triggered by something typical – mesmerising eyes, clear skin, massive breasts- what about when that fetish is something like a specific kind of shoe? Or latex? Or really, really big expanding breasts? (Yes, that is a thing.)

We’ve come a long way when it comes to connecting the dots with the spiritual and the sexual.

In the same way that religiosity and post-colonialism has affected our relationship with Spirit, so it has affected our relationship with Sex, in all it’s forms.

The title of this blog post- The Magic of Fetishism- came to me before I even knew what I was going to write about. To be honest, I will probably come back to this topic in future. It is way too interesting and complex to leave alone. It has always interested me that we use the word fetish for both spiritual objects and for sexualities that are considered divergent- perhaps because the two, sex and spirit, have in ancient traditions been entwined. The way we have learned, in a monotheist, post-colonial context, is to approach both Sex and Spirit is that there is only one legitimate experience, that of the almighty, external God, and that of the hetero-normal penetrative sexual act. But really, if we’re being honest, it is impossible to say what a “normal” spirituality or sexuality looks like- it’s different for everyone.

The idea of the fetish comes from concept of Idols and Idolatry, like the Golden Lamb in the Old Testament. It’s this idea of idolatry that is so fundamental in Monotheism- the taboo of worshipping a so called false god, likened to the experience of finding sexual pleasure in a subversive or non-erotic object or scenario. For the communities that have used and use what we call fetishes, these objects were imbued with powers that only they, and more specifically, the initiated priests and holy people of the community could fully understand. Many artefacts or Fetishes are now found in Museums around the world, stolen from their ancestral homes and robbed of something important- faith and context. It is with a Colonial mentality that these objects were relegated to curious primitive icons, and astute language ascribed to metaphysical concepts removed from the violently linear force of monotheism. The ancient connection with pre-monotheistic spirituality and sexuality was apparent, but the connection is not something easily discussed in language, particularly European languages. For example in Tantra, a meditative practice in Hinduism and Buddhism, the Lingam, symbol for Siva, and the Yoni, symbol of the Goddess and creative power, have since the British got a glimpse of these sacred symbols been associated with the literal Phallus and Vagina of the God and Goddess.

Insta @seedypics

In fact, they are sacred symbols with ineffable powers in and of themselves, representing something far larger than earthly sex. This has caused many people to seek out Tantra lessons as a form of having “divine sex” but some could argue that this is an exotification of an extremely ancient esoteric practice, that has nothing to do with the physical body. For this reason, I was hesitant in drawing parallels between the different types of Fetish, because it can so easily become exploitative. But there is an undeniable connection with the way we have come to view both spirituality and sexuality, as things that are happening outside of ourselves, to us. Also, the fact that our sexuality often cannot be explained in words, much like spiritual fetishes, can only be explained by the initiated- ourselves, our chosen partners or lovers. Whilst religious fetishes are often kept away from the public in darkened shrines where only the initiated may go, in the same way people with sexual fetishes may be silent – fetishes are taboo not just because it is deemed morally unacceptable, but because it is a thing both complex and highly personal for the individual. Both spirit and sex has everything to do with the alchemy of our senses, which is something sacred, different for everyone.

It is this mindset, one of substituting something that is supposedly fundamental and real with something that is crude and primitive, that has been applied to the sexual fetish. It shouldn’t surprise us when Freud, who introduced the term Fetish in a sexual context, demotes fetishes as a substitute for the missing female penis:

When now I announce that the fetish is a substitute for the penis, I shall certainly create disappointment; so I hasten to add that it is not a substitute for any chance penis, but for a particular and quite special penis that had been extremely important in early childhood but had later been lost…That is to say, it should normally have been given up, but the fetish is precisely designed to preserve it from extinction. To put it more plainly: the fetish is a substitute for the woman’s (the mother’s) penis that the little boy once believed in and – for reasons familiar to us – does not want to give up.

So if somebody finds their pleasure in a shoe or in being bound with ropes, we have a similar perspective that it is only a secondary sexual experience, as opposed to being a complete one in an off itself. True, sometimes they can be part of a larger situation, role-play or scenario where sexual acts revolving around the genitals are involved- but a holistic sexual experience is about letting go of what is perceived to be the “right” way to have sex. I think this says a lot for Queer sexuality. Being a Bisexual woman whose primary sexual experiences where almost exclusively with men (read, boys) it took a lot of deconstructing around my preconceived notion of what sex is when it came to understanding my body and what it desires- that the highest form of sex is not necessarily penetrative, that there is so much more to the sexual experience than thing 1 in thing 2. A while back I wrote an article about how I perceive queerness in fetish- for me fetish, particularly in the FemDom world, is subversive to the heteronormative experience and therefore essentially queer. Understanding desires around Fetish are an extremely important part of understanding our sexuality- and doing so unbridled by the reigns of patriarchy.

For me, I would definitely say I have a fetish for being dominant. That doesn’t mean I’m bossy or demanding all the time- quite the opposite. For me, the release comes from being in total control, as for others it is the feeling of complete submission. It is an energy, something which in itself is not dependent on an isolated sexual gesture. Some people experience that totality with a shoe, for example, and often that shoe will need the context of it being worn on a woman’s foot. The image of the foot, with the arches extremely curved by a stiletto, the promise of slightly wrinkled soles and the toenails hidden by a layer of shining polish- these feelings of gain and loss of power, shoes and feet, are different symbols yet can inspire already complete sexual feelings in an individual.

The depth and diversity of sexual motifs is limitless, and are a fundamental part of our sexuality. Understanding fetish as a means in and of itself is an important part of accepting ourselves and each other, without being dictated by what is considered right or wrong. When I have a session with someone, we are both entering a world whose very foundations are intimacy, consent, and fantasy. The release I have seen on peoples faces after play, including my own, shows me how very essential these experiences are to holistic well being.

In the microcosm of the Self, our individual sexuality are as unique to us as a fingerprint. Many of our sexual desires are rooted in memories and moments brimming with personal depth and meaning. We need to open up the possibility of sharing our experiences, to understand the vastness and diversity of sexual experiences and help people to feel comfortable and safe in their sexuality, whatever it may be. There is certainly magic in Fetish- the magic is that we are sexually and spiritually autonomous beings, in the temples of our own bodies.

I would love to hear about your opinions, and suggestions for future blog posts- email me or dm me @blackvenusinfurs