©Jack Fritscher. See Permissions, Reprints, Quotations, Footnotes
LIFE IS A LEARNING TO
Written November 1979, intended for Drummer, but published instead in the alternative to Drummer, the avant garde Man2Man Quarterly #7, July-September 1981. This theoretical feature essay, with its considerations of bondage, death, and changing consciousness, was written and published before anyone had heard of AIDS. The references to death indicate gay attitude toward death before AIDS when enterprising gay business types dreaming up a completely gay culture, cradle to grave, thought it would be wonderfully gay to have gay funeral homes with gay designer caskets and gay cemeteries. JF, April 23, 1998
LIFE IS A LEARNING TO
We are born believing the Human Fallacy: we have control, and we have free will. Only to a point. As we learn, through the hard-knocks lessons that life visits upon us, or the lessons that we seek, if we remain wise (that is, open), we realize, while maybe standing bored and thinking in a bar, that to mature is to learn detachment, that every day is a little death, that death is not necessarily bad, except to gayboys who do not understand manly detachment, and cling untowardly to the Gucci/Pucci material plane. Currently, the trend among masculinist men is to unload possessions so they can travel light.
CONSIDERATIONS ON THE CURRENT HIGH GAY DEATH RATE IN SFO
Harvey Milk was the first faggot to die. Since Harvey, gay death has come out of the closet, and maybe too far out, what with the new phenomena of “Gay Wakes,” and on the East Coast, “Gay Cemeteries” where the coffins have Alligators on the lids.
Stick with this, okay? We Gays are a developing nation as a subculture, and parallels often help us figure how to keep on inventing the Brave New World of Homomasculinity.
Queers never used to die, except as suicides at the end of novels, films, and plays. Death was so unnatural as to be a taboo subject. For a long time. Until Harvey.
The same is true of something as basic as bondage. Some guys think that bondage is totally unnatural. Shows how literal they are, and how little they understand about how we learn from our bodies to our heads/spirits/souls.
SEX GAMES: HELPING TO UNLEARN THE RELIGIOUS MIDDLECLASS LIES
Bondage is an exercise in learning to let go of what we perceive to be primary expression of control: the freedom of basic, willed, physical body movement. To learn this detachment, to learn to surrender arms’ control, to accept the active passivity of having your physical movement restricted, even in a mondo sleazy gameroom, is growth!
Bondage is worthwhile, the way the contemplative life is worthwhile, as a life-death lesson. Bondage is a yoga-like yinyang experience. Once a man, who has broken western taboo that you must be at all times physically free to move, finally has submitted to total and complete immobile bondage, has relaxed into it, has investigated it and felt it from the inside out, and even has cum to the uncontrol of it, he has learned a basic lesson of cosmic discipline and cosmic truth how to detach, how to surrender control, how to get off on the lack of control, knowing that control is not gone, but just transferred from the self to another, whether in the bondage scene to another man; or, in death, to the Force, the Oversoul, the Chaos, or Whatever one chooses to call whatever Big Jello there might be behind all this.
When your body gives up the control it thinks it has, then your mind can finally begin to relax. Hooded and bound, you are out of the world. There is no distraction. There is only your physical body tied into place; then emerges your self, your ego, your astral body. Once your physical body is tied, your astral body becomes as free as in sleep, but better than sleep, because your conscious mind is awake, is experiencing, is recording.
You drift internally, down through all the incredible movement inside your hide, down to the chakra of your belly, and you begin to find your center. (Your center is not your head or your dick.) Your energy is throughout your whole body. Your energy is not in your head alone. When you live in your head alone, or follow only your dick around, you become disturbed.
Almost gay-ly, Wordsworth said, “The world is too much with us late and soon, getting and spending.” Once that world’s superficial mirror, which reflects back falsely to your eyes that you in all your cinched up leather, or your strangling tie and three-piece suit, are in control, is gone, then you begin to see that Earth is but a rest-stop with playrooms. This planet, like the house of your body, is not the end of your self’s journey. Earth is a way station for your internal consciousness, that deep down knows it is, right now, in this time, in this flesh, on this planet, in bondage.
Our out-of-body experiences, short of PCP, are rare.
Small wonder at the world’s fascination with space shuttles, space probes, and investigations of time warps: these are all very literal acting out, and expressions of, on a material, physical level of the self’s desire to let its internal cosmic consciousness continue its journey.
BODYBUILDING: ULTIMATE BONDAGE TRIP
We have been taught that to move is to be free, and to be free is the obsession of every ego. True freedom, however, does not exist on the physical level, because your body is the ultimate disintegrating, finite container. You are contained by your flesh.
Bodybuilders jerk off (believe me, I know!) talking of the ropes and cords of their muscle. Bodybuilding itself is a literal, self-imposed, and often desperate attempt at achieving total socially acceptable bondage.
Any man who has developed a heavier than normal sense of musculature realizes, if he is at all sentient, that bodybuilding is the ultimate bondage tripwrapping your all too solid flesh up in itself. This is not to put bodybuilding down. Having lived two years with my bodybuilder lover, I know that bodybuilding, like bondage, because it IS bondage, can be a very physical medium to be used to transcend up the spiritual way to the astral. (Unless the bodybuilder’s consciousness is fucked up on steroids.) Transcendence is the pure conjuring of the astral body of the spirit that comes in through your body, and then launches out from deep inside you.
If you are a man in pursuit of the pure essence of masculinity, the varieties of bondage can help guide and teach.
CUMING: FREEDOM IN BONDAGE
Cuming, any cuming, no matter how you get yourself to orgasm is the only freedom finite men can ever know.
While you’re cuming, nothing matters not rent, not food, not loved ones, not even physical life itself. Any man who has ridden his own orgasm, the way a good cowboy rides his horse, knows that during his cuming, he could die, would, in fact, willingly die, because anything else on this planet has got to be less than this.
The French, wise in the psychology of sex, call orgasm “le petite morte,” the little death. Heaven, if there is one, where all these currently dying homosexual men presumably are going, better, at the least, be an eternal orgasm. If it’s not, then it’s just another fucking shuck, and the Moral Majority are welcome to it all by their loathsome lonesome.
BONDAGE DISCIPLINE & DAILY LIFE
Modern life, as we live it, mostly working, etc., is simply what you do on this planet between cumings. What we do, occupations, recreations, friends, everything, is just filler to rest on between the high energy conjurations of cumings. Orgasm is ALL, some/most feel; too bad it doesn’t last longer. Perhaps the next best thing is foreplay that works both longer and on a lot of levels. Enter men’s increasing interest in total bondage experience!
Maybe, just maybeand all the above may be just a hunk of crapto surrender completely to other hands and other intentions in total bondage is a wholesome discipline, necessary in these mad, mad, mad, mat times; and, as Desiderata counsels: Beyond a wholesome discipline, a man should be gentle with himself.
Bondage may be a very sophisticated sex-game that keeps your ass and your act together. Guys who haven’t tried it, shouldn’t maybe knock it. Most of bondage’s critics are themselves tied up in relationships with gay-bows and with gay-knots no sailor ever knew.
A man leading an active sex life often needs the balance of a long, quiet, contemplative bondage scene.
All he has to do is find an excellent top, relax into it, get off on where he goes, and grow from it.