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There is no more lively sensation than that of pain; its impressions are certain and dependable, they never deceive as may those of the pleasure that women perpetually feign and almost never experience – Marquis de Sade

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“Teddy shouldn’t see what is about to happen.” – Jian Ghomeshi, ex-host CBC radio show ‘Q’

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We all love a bit of role-play in bed. Come on, haven’t you playfully held down your partner by the wrists as you made love to her? Given your partner tiny bites on the buttocks or the ankles? Tied her up (gently) to the bed posts and tickled her lips? (not the ones in front of her teeth, silly). Spanked your partner on the butt playfully, with a serving ladle? Whispered into her ear, “You have no idea what I’m going to do to you when we get home”, to which she shivered and said,” Ooooh! What are you going to do to me, Daddy?”

Of course you have. We all find these little games sexually stimulating. Strictly speaking, the above are all mild forms of BDSM – ‘Bondage, Discipline and Sado-Masochism’, in plain language – kinky sex.

Accouterments employed can be chains, steel-studded belts, whips, knives, hot wax, high heels, leather restraints and of course, role-playing in which one of the participants assumes a position of power from where he humiliates the other, who in turn loves to be hurt and degraded both, physically and psychologically.

Consider K2, the second highest peak in the world after the Everest, regarded as the scariest and physically most demanding mountain to climb, way more brutal than even the Everest. Not without reason is the K2 named The Savage by those who have attempted to scale it. (I posted a what-if on K2 and here it is… ***The Savage*** )

K2 demands the very last bit of endurance from even the best of the best alpinists and yet, among those who have been able to brave the steep icy slopes and the crashing seracs and crevices and the bone-chilling 60 mph winds, many have reported feeling a release, on finally standing on the peak, a sense that is almost like an orgasm, the ultimate high, achieved only through great physical pain. This is what BDSM might mean to those who practice it.

It is all about role-play, where one partner plays the dominant role, known in BDSM jargon as a dom. The dom can be the wimp you come across in your daily life, shuffling along, his head bowed. BDSM turns him into a lion, something that he is not, in his everyday life. Folk who are seriously into BDSM often choose roles that are a direct opposite of their regular persona.

The person in the submissive role, the sub, gives up control to the dom. In a similar case of opposites, very often those who love being whipped and beaten with birch behind closed doors, turn out to be alpha male CEOs in everyday life. They enjoy the release from the daily burden of command and responsibility. Subs are also the thrill seekers. The anticipation and the excitement built up (what is he going to do to me know? Ooooooh!) just makes them go crazy.

I once witnessed a very powerful Indian politician prostrating himself in complete submission before a freakish, afro-haired, utterly phoney Hindu holy man called Sai Baba. He reached out and placed SaiBaba’s foot on the top of his head as he knelt in front of the guy and Sai Baba did absolutely nothing to stop him. I could sense that maybe in a way, the politico was in the midst of a kind role-play of his own and that was his release from the tiresome exercise called ‘playing God’ that Indian politicos practice.

“Doesn’t he know that this funny-looking creep is a two-bit phoney?” I wondered to myself. Now I have a better understanding of why he did what he did.

And then there is the switch. Now here is a guy who is really having a ball. Switching from dom to sub and back to dom and then to sub again, for the same reason why we love to munch on a pickled gherkin between bites on a hamburger. The tingle of the sudden change in taste is exhilarating. Same thing with switching in BDSM, I guess.

BDSM goes as far back as slavery, the first recorded instance of the practice for sexual pleasure being a miniature bedside table sized sculpture found at Giza, dating back to around 2500BC Egypt, possibly during the reign of the legendary Pharaoh, Khufu, builder of the great pyramid of Giza.

Seeking dominance and submission has been in our DNA all along. BDSM is graphically described in the 4th Century BC Indian philosopher, Vatsayana’s epic Kama Sutra. Even today, one can find carvings showing erotic flagellation and bondage in ancient temples such as the one at Khajuraho in Central India. Indians have always been horny bastards.

The BDSM that makes the news channels is however, way rougher and goes by the generic label Rough and Kinky Sex. It is so rough in fact that most of us would find it disgusting and completely unacceptable. Organized medicine calls BDSM a mental and behavioral disorder that needs to be treated. BDSM therefore has an unfavorable social stigma attached to it.

In case you have BDSM leanings, turns out that you needn’t be concerned about being considered weird due to the stigma. In fact you might even feel like celebrating. A 2012 study concluded that BDSM practitioners are psychologically healthier and less neurotic than those with a more sedate sex life. It observed that practitioners are generally more secure than the general population and folk who get their rocks off through BDSM, tend to be more extroverted, more gifted with creativity and intelligence and more open to new ideas and experimentation.

The study however makes two things clear. One, that the apparent psychological pluses in being a BDSM practitioner apply more to the doms rather than the subs and second, BDSM is healthy only when it is consensual. Otherwise, modern psychiatry would label you as a sexual psychopath.

If your partner says, “Ouch, thanks, I just came”, you are a well-adjusted, happy guy but if she says,” Urgh, keep your hands off me, you sleazeball” then, well, you are a sleazeball.

My colleague, Kenny, 40 and still single, is a devastatingly charming Jamaican creole who trolls the St-Laurent and St-Denis cafes and bars every weekend, looking for ‘conquests’. He succeeds often and even takes a woman home on the very first meeting sometimes. Kenny is into light BDSM, like the fun scenarios I was talking about in para-1 of this piece. From the frequent bruises and bite marks on his neck and arms that he sports like badges, Monday mornings, it looks as if he has many converts. Last weekend things might have gotten a bit outa hand. Monday, Kenny was heard yelping ‘ouch! ugh!’ while taking a leak in the locker rooms.

History has shown us that kinky behavior and famous personalities are identical twins. The English author, James Boswell, indulged in an isotope of BDSM known as arborophilia. He liked to rob his crotch roughly against tree trunks, often  lacerating his penis and testicles before reaching orgasm. The explorer, Sir Richard Burton, liked to be flogged by his mistresses, while Gregori Rasputin wanted his immense member tied tightly around its base with a string that cut right through and left a bleeding welt. Fyodor Dostoevski was so involved in sado-masochism that he was known as the Russian Marquis de Sade. Adolf Hitler  specialized in coprophilic sado-masochism, which the 40-year old Fuhrer-to-be regularly performed on the reluctant 21-year old daughter of his half sister, in his Munich apartment in the late 1920s. The girl was so disgusted that she once said to her mother,” My uncle is a monster.” Within a year, not able to stand the abominable practice, the girl took her own life with Hitler’s revolver.

The entertainment world is replete with kinky folk too. Angelina Jolie used to love feeling the blade of a knife on her skin before Brad Pitt happened and Lady Gaga has sex in a see-through nun costume with crosses piercing her nipples, while Britney Spears is all whips, paddles and handcuffs. The biggest business in Hollywood is the BDSM paraphernalia business.

One more name recently got added to the stellar cast of celebrity BDSM users – Canada’s most popular radio show host, whose daily show ‘Q’ on CBC is broadcast over 200 radio stations in North America – the crown prince of cool, Jian Ghomeshi.

First, about the guy. I am not well acquainted with his show but any Canadian who spends long hours driving to and from work like I do, has heard him on ‘Q’. He impresses me, no question about it. Jian Ghomeshi is a charming and charismatic host and listening to him interview a female celebrity gives one the sense that she is about to have an orgasm, the way she gushes.

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Jian Ghomeshi. Figures, why women flip for the guy (Photo courtesy: http://www.jian.ca)

Ghomeshi comes across as a perceptive interviewer, his tone easy-going but no-nonsense, honest, professional and intelligent but never snooty or condescending. He can hold his own and has put many a cranky celeb jerk in his place with good-humored straight talk that has turned them around and made them behave with more restraint as the interview progressed (remember the Billy Bob Thornton interview? Billy Bob Thornton – what a prime piece of jerk meat).

My impressions of Ghomeshi have always been positive, even though I don’t go in for the kind of topics that his show is famous for – dissemination of arts and entertainment events. He has built a career out of sounding like someone you can trust. He knows his subjects and he knows his audience and he knows how to speak to them, no question about it.

Or shall we start referring to Jian Ghomeshi as a radio host and star, in the past tense?

Possibly. His future in radio certainly appears uncertain as of now, after revelations that he lead a double life – as suave, debonair and charismatic at work and social gatherings and a violent BDSM practitioner in private.  Over the past few months, a daily that has a made a name for it’s exposés, the Toronto Star, approached Ghomeshi with allegations that he had sexually assaulted at least three young women half his age, grabbing them by the hair, punching, slapping and slamming them against the wall during and prior to having sex with them.

Invariably, before he began assaulting them, he would take a stuffed teddy bear that stood on a counter by his bed and turn its face toward the wall, saying, “Teddy shouldn’t have to see what is about to happen.” And then he proceeded to beat them black and blue. The teddy bear had been with him ever since he was a small kid in England where he spent his childhood.

Given his legendary mastery in exercising control over any conversation and that famous honey-garlic voice of his, Ghomeshi might have led the girls to believe that the sex would be just a bit kinky and fun. Jian Ghomeshi’s biggest constituency, his female fan base, is sure to thin out significantly after the recent allegations, unless he manages to put on the tried and tested I’m-the-celebrity-victim show.

It finally hit the fan when one woman, probably beaten up and then jilted, went to Ghomeshi’s employers, Canada’s national broadcaster CBC, and spilt the beans. This in itself wouldn’t have been sufficient, except that a number of other young women followed suit and revealed the gory details of Ghomeshi’s BDSM picadillos to the Star and other media outlets, including his employers. CBC fired him last weekend.

Ghomeshi claims that the rough S&M sex was consensual and the fact that none of the women went to the police after the attacks, with one of them even going back multiple times for more, bolsters his claim. It is a strong reason why he will probably get away with it.

However, one hopes that he will recognize that he has a problem and seek therapy. In any case, his dismissal had to have been part, the sexual thing and part, the resentment that key figures at CBC had toward him for playing the preening goose that lays the golden eggs (which admittedly, he really was) and treading on senior toes like an ‘arrogant tyrant’ as many at CBC saw him to be.

At the end of the day, the question still remains – why? What gave Jian Ghomeshi his Jekyll and Hyde personality? Why did he enjoy inflicting pain?

Could it be that when he was a little child in his little bed in England, Teddy frequently turned to face the wall when he saw things that he was not supposed to see?