BDSM and Icarus’ Sky

I like to think that when Icarus flew, it wasn’t despite the sun, but because of it. He needed to draw closer to the one thing he didn’t understand, if only to find out how far he could travel and how much he could survive. He’d seen an untouchable mass of power and decided he would rather be engulfed by it than spend his entire life staring at it from a distance.

When Icarus flew, it was to solve the mystery of the sky.

For me, BDSM is as mysterious and powerful as that sky. Every time I reach a new extreme of pain or power, I head towards the unknowable. All I have to refer to is a mysterious mass of energy that may or may not engulf me in its intensity. That’s what makes this thing we do so compelling. My life might be full of love and daisy chains, but there’s something in me that *wants* the sun, that *needs* to know if this new thing might swallow me whole.


Psychologists say kinksters are as healthy as people who prefer their sex with a vanilla topping, and I think an attraction to power and pain is perfectly human and ordinary. Just look at our history: the Marquis de Sade died in 1814, and the Ancient Romans were kinking in 700 BC. Leopold von Sacher-Masoch wrote about sexual dominance in the 1800s, and Mesopotamia was engaging in sadomasochism in 4000 BCE. D/s is universally human, and it probably always has been.

Nietzsche said that if you fight the sun, you give it power. Fearing the hot core of our sexuality is inviting it to intensify in all the wrong ways. I draw towards it because I would rather be engulfed by it than spend my life wondering how it might feel.

Icarus did no wrong by wanting to solve the sky’s mysteries. His mistake was apathy over his own safety. When I stopped making that blunder, BDSM stopped potentiating harm. I could eat pain for breakfast and degradation for lunch and still have enough Pollyanna in me to make daisy chains to wear to dinner.

Every one of us is here because we feel comfortable enough with the sun to fly towards it instead of away from it. In turn, we’ve found that the sky is the least of what there is to discover. Up here, there are planets and black holes, asteroid belts and stars that make our sun seem tiny. There is friendship. There’s adventure. There’s an entire community of compassionate people to keep us company.

They’ve taught me how to live freely and unapologetically. They are the most open people I’ve ever met, and who can feel isolated under those conditions?

Icarus’ sky was never the true mystery. It was only a boundary to pass on the way to our destiny. That destiny is love.

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