Meeting the Devil at the Crossroads of Spirituality, Sexuality, Love, and BDSM

by Sensuous Sadie

"When you sleep with someone, your body makes a promise whether you do or not."
~ Julie (Cameron Diaz) in the movie Vanilla Sky

Back in high school there was a clear delineation between what was Sex and what was Not. We knew this because we all listened to Meatloaf's eight minute make-out song “Paradise by the Dashboard Light." Under the music and under our moans, the baseball commentator made it perfectly clear that he may have gotten in a few gropes, but that the home run Just Wasn't Gonna Happen.

We all knew, in some hereditary sort of way, that kissing was first base; above the belt was second, and below, third. Intercourse, of course, was the home run. My friends didn't ask me whether my experience was fulfilling emotionally, they asked me if I made the home run. They wanted to know if I had Had Sex (intercourse) or Didn't (anything else). And they weren't asking about anal sex, oral sex, or God knows what other orifice sex. They were talking about good old missionary vaginal sex.

Of course, even sexually unsophisticated adults know there's a whole world between licking your lips for the first kiss and taking a drag from the post-coital cigarette. Even as a foolish teenager, us gals should have been asking not whether you fucked (which was nice) but whether you came (which was real nice). Much easier for guys, since they get one with the other by definition.

Now that I'm scuba diving in the waters of D/s, things have gotten a bit more complex. In the beginning, I had some confusing moments describing my relationships to my friends. I didn't actually have intercourse with some of my partners, so did they count as lovers? By Meatloaf's assessment, I guess they didn't, but then my partner Bailey offered another option. He suggested I reframe how I defined sex, making love, and BDSM play. I ended up with a bunch of lists which kind of suggests I had gobs of lovers. Compared to some, I suppose I have, but from my perspective, I've never really had as much sex as I wanted, no matter how you define it.

On the love side, there's the list of men I loved who didn't love me (unrequited love). There's the men I didn't love, who loved me (a totally different list, unfortunately). There's the list of Real Lovers, guys I loved, who loved me back (a much shorter list).

On the sex side, there are the lovers, most of whom I didn't love, a few of whom I did, and some one-night-stands for color. There are one or two threesomes and a couple with women. There's the BDSM play with sex, and the BDSM play without sex, not to mention the BDSM play with love, and without.

Then there was the moment when Miguel kissed me after the fair, with lips tasting of maple cotton candy, and made me want to get on my knees, right there in the parking lot. But the kiss was all I got; I never saw the guy again. Does it have to be an overt dominant act to count? Or is it enough that he took me there, even in a moment which melted as fast as cotton candy on my tongue?

My mother taught me that my body is a temple. She was talking in terms of eating a lot of whole wheat bread, I'm guessing, but I think she also believed that when you made love, there was a holy blending of the body and spirit. Being of the eastern way of spirituality, I believe the mind, body and soul are one. My friend Elizabeth says the same thing, that when you have sex, there's an elemental and entwining exchange of energy at the spiritual level which remains long after the physical act is finished.

I figure she's right, as long as it's "making love" we're talking about here. I've had mind-bogglingly good sex with guys I knew, and with some I barely knew. I've had lovers for years I never loved, but who I had a darn fine time with. I've made love with a few who loved me back, and who may not have been the fuck of all time, but who had something magic.

Then there's all those same permutations for my D/s partners. Only with Moby did our souls meet on the love, sex, and D/s levels. It was more than just an exchange of magic; it was the most astounding experience of my life. The rough thing about having had a soulmate like him is that it's a hard act to follow. I've been to the gourmet eight-course meal, with a different wine for each course. I've had the dessert afterward, a dark chocolate cake melting on my fork and in my mouth. How will I go back to fast food?

It's for those reasons I'm generally celibate these days. I haven't been able to reconcile fuck-buddies with the gourmet meal. Maybe I've been spoiled forever. This watershed changed my mind about sex and love, and I can only hope I'll find it like that again. I might not, but I hope I never regret it.

I also realized that it's not about which list you put your relationship on. I know a lot of scene people who only do sexually oriented play, others who only don't. A lot of them seem to think the label is important in itself; as if being a purist was a point of pride. I read about how in Mexico there is still a strong cultural value on virginity in young girls (why not young boys?). So the girls have oral sex, anal sex, God knows what other kind of sex. Somehow, because they don't have vaginal sex, they're still virgins. It's the Bill Clinton definition of sex, the one that everyone except Bill knew was bullshit.

It's not about which orifice you use so you can pretend you aren't having sex. It's not even about whether you actually have intercourse involving a penis and vagina, or whether you use your tongue and their ass. It's not whether you actually tied someone to the bed and flogged them, or if you just whispered it in their ear.

It's all intimacy.

Define it how you want, but the erotic tension is in there somewhere, a strand as delicate as a filament or as powerful as a cable. Even so, it's only partly about the sex. What it's really about is intimacy, which covers all those lists and whatever new ones I come up with.

So when I tell you I don't do casual play, it's not just about whether I want to go to first base, second base, or whatever. It's really about the next time I go play baseball of any kind, it'll be the kind where I can feel his presence even before he touches me. The kind where my heart rests softly in his arms. Where I can give up my power for a little while or longer, even if it's only as long as an eight minute make-out song.


Sensuous Sadie is a BDSM columnist and edits SCENEsubmissions, a free e-newsletter for the New England area and beyond. She is the founder and leader (1999 - 2001) of Rose & Thorn, Vermont's first BDSM group. Comments, compliments and complaints, as well as requests for reprinting can be addressed to her at or visit her website at Sadie believes the universe is abundant, and that sharing information freely is part of this abundance, so she allows reprints of her writing in most venues.

Copyright 2002.