Wednesday, September 22, 2004

When S&M excites more than it delivers

S&M imagery and activity don’t do much for me. I’ve only experienced the latter once, when I stumbled on an S&M room in full flight, within an otherwise not-much-happening gay club I was at. At first, I was quite happy (and who would have thought?) to hit this guy – at his request – with a mini-whip thing, but I assumed that this act was foreplay and that after a while, we’d get down to it. Lesson learned that day: in S&M, there’s never any getting down to it. Well, maybe there is eventually; it’s just that for me, the delay is not so much appreciable as exquisite torture as downright boring and repetitive. With my last-ditch attempts to peel off the shirtless guy’s latex pants firmly rebuffed, I hung up my/his whip in disgust and walked out. (A gesture which, however insouciant it may read in print now, left me feeling like I’d been whipped at the time).

As for me finding the aesthetics of S&M frankly banal, I may be in a minority, certainly if this news story about a beer advertisement is anything to go by. A fairly typical photograph by the late Helmut Newton, bowdlerised with a green stubby has been labelled “provocative”, “outrageous”, “inappropriate”, and “of a man pulling down a woman's top”.

Err, call me twice-shy from past experience, but my take on the steely look in the depicted woman’s eyes is that the guy ostensibly on the fast track to sexual conquest will end up pulling just one thing on the night in which the photo is set – himself.

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