J is a short man in his early thirties. Pearls of sweat run down his forehead, trying in vain to protect his face from Delhi’s inexorable summer heat. The jeans, shirt, and glasses he wears are so normal, that he could be one of million Indians. Merely the incessant movement of his eyes are unusual.
“I want to be bonded, and my flesh should be eaten over a couple days,” says J with excitement. “I also want my penis to be skinned and then to be made into socks, so that a lady can wear them.” J does not seem to be “normal” after all – whatever the philosophical definition of this “normal” is.
J is into BDSM, which stands for a combination of abbreviations: B&D for bondage and discipline, D&S for dominance and submission, and S&M for sadism and masochism. Under the bottom line, BDSM could be described as erotic activities that do not have to be necessarily sexual and which include power role-playing as well as extreme sensual stimulation.
Mostly BDSM does not go to the extremes that J fantasises about. For instance handcuffs, blindfolds, hot wax, and spanking are a part of BDSM. However, hard-core tickling, enemas, golden showers (urinating), and electro stimulation also belong to this subculture.
If power role-playing for sexual arousal is part of BDSM, actually everyone – no matter whether bottom or top and even if unwillingly so – is into BDSM. Hence, some power-horny politicians and businessman might be dirtier than we assume. (Not a surprise, I guess).
Of course J has a real name, but he does not want to disclose it. He prefers to be called “slave to be hunted” or “deer slave”. When I explain to him that those sobriquets would be too long for the article, he looks a bit disappointed. I do not want to make him more insecure, and so I do not tell him that it would sound a bit strange as well.
Unlike the West, it was not easy to get hold of someone who is into BDSM in India, a country that is in many aspects still, say, helplessly attempting to preserve traditional values, such as prenuptial celibacy.
J, the “slave to be hunter”, was not utterly keen on meeting a journalist, but after his mistress – a dominatrix, who he is submissive to – ordered him to meet me, he agreed. He even arrived early which is unusual for Delhi, where coming on time means to know how late the other person is.
Although he is being offered a chair, he wishes to sit on the floor and does so, after his mistress gives him permission. The short Indian shrinks even more. In BDSM there are dominant roles, submissive roles, and switches, who switch between the two. J is clearly a submissive, especially to the feet of the mistress.
While he explains to me that he is a married software engineer who has a young son, he keeps staring at the mistresses’ feet. (Now I know why he wanted to sit on the floor: the two-feet-view). Before I can ask any further questions, he ignores me and asks the mistress: “Can I lick your feet now?” She refuses and orders him to answer my questions.
When he is asked about his sexual penchants, he forgets the distraction for a moment and answers enthusiastically in a high-speed verbiage. While I am trying to organize the scattered heap of broken English, I understand that he is obsessed with female feet and loves “cock and ball torture”.
“I burnt my penis with a lighter and crushed it with brick stones or with female shoes, among other things,” he says. He even poured chilly on it. I suppose everybody expresses his predilection for Indian spices in a different manner.
Generously he offers to show me how he “crushes” his penis. After the epiphany of a smashed sausages with chilly powder abducts me for a moment, I kindly refuse, even though I am trying not to disappoint him again.
Maybe I should offer him my feet as compensation? Looking at the two distorted accumulations of bones, sinews, flash and skin – a lot of skin – that I call my feet, I reject the idea instantaneously.
Perhaps I ask the wrong question, when I enquire what he thinks about people who believe he is sick. “Tell me where it’s written that normal intercourse is what god has instructed us to do,” he answers slightly agitated. “Animals hurt themselves during sex or even die after the act. For example, the penis of the lion bleeds after copulation. Those who think it’s sick have not seen the world.”
Could it be that J is not entirely wrong? For is “normal” not a social variable determination? At least that is what Michel Foucault, one of the greatest sociologist of the 20th century argued. Otherwise he would not have quoted Fjodor Dostoevsky in the beginning of his book Madness and Civilization: “it is not by confining one’s neighbour that one is convinced of one’s own sanity.”
Vaguely J remembers the first time his penis got hurt. He was about five and naked, when a woman stepped on his penis. Whether it was on purpose or by accident, he cannot remember. It is no coincidence that, according to sexologists, this time of our life is crucial to the development of our sexuality.
His entire childhood he was attracted by feet of women, but only when he came into college did he find out through the Internet that there are many people like him. “It was good to know that I am not abnormal,” he says, while his eyes wander once again to the feet of the mistress. During the time he was working in the supposedly freest country of the world, America, he had the chance to explore his sexuality even further.
Without the internet, he also wound not have been able to meet his mistress, who he initially approached by asking her about a “martial arts training video shoot”. That the mistress was supposed to kungfu-kick him with her high heels was only revealed later.
“I also fantasise about polishing female feet with the blood of my penis,” he points out . “And I want someone to drive over my penis with a wheel, but that seems to be difficult.” (I guess it is solely depending on the size of his penis, as there are by far enough insane Lori drivers out there).
Just the mere thought of it makes my own little J shrink back into the defensive hiding position. J, on the other hand, is not afraid of loosing his manhood and all the “fun” to be over, since he has done almost “everything” to his penis and it is still functional, he explains with pride. I do not entirely believe him, but the scientist in me is too incurious to take him up on the offer to show me how he crushes his “carnal immortal”.
“Further, I have that fantasy of being hunted down by women like a deer and then to be skinned,” the “deer slave” continues. He once arranged for such a meeting, but the women never showed up. That was in the “liberal” USA, which was, unlike India, a paradise for someone like him.
He also dreams about being shrunk to a one millimetre high dwarf and then to be placed into a woman’s shoe, where he would pass out and die. At least that explains his Facebook picture, which depicts a tiny man getting crushed by a female foot, and that he paid the dominatrix 20000 rupees (£230) for the last session, merely to get trampled by her, while she was wearing high-heels.
20000 rupees is quite a lot for one session, especially for someone who earns about 720000 rupees (£8400) a year. Besides the psychological factor of submission, his propensity for feet is not uncommon. Female feet are a symbol of sexuality in many societies. Many biologists argue that the size of female feet indicate the oestrogen level and hence femininity. Women with smaller feet tend to have more oestrogen.
His wife does not know about his fantasies, even though she sometimes crushes his penis, allows him to massage her feet, or to ejaculate on them. To the displeasure of his wife, he does not like “normal” intercourse and stopped altogether after his son was born.
Except for some strangers on the internet, nobody knows about all his fantasies, since he is afraid of being rejected, anxious that his “normal” is not their “normal”. After all, India is not (yet) America. “I feel lonely sometimes, and only after I have my sexual fulfilment, I feel satisfied until the lonesomeness comes back,” says the sexual Sisyphus.
“I don’t worry about my family,” he adds, “when I die there will be enough money for them left.” J is indeed not afraid of death. “When I die, a woman will wear my penis as socks, so I will somehow live on.” (At least, until the socks are worn out). Every man has his idea of immortality, the same way every one has his religion.
Sigmund Freud wrote about a “Todestrieb” (death drive) later also known as Thanatos, a universal principle which stands opposed to the principle of Eros, the will to survive. In J’s case it seems that Thanatos intensifies Eros until the point where Thanatos will triumph altogether.
Before J leaves, he gets his reward for answering all the questions – more or less – patiently: he is allowed to kiss and massage the feet of the mistress, but without licking them, as she commands him strictly. The kneeling devotee does it passionately, as if it was an oblation to his goddess.
Again this reminds me of Foucault, who wrote that “the possibility of madness is therefore implicit in the very phenomenon of passion.” Lastly, J inquires whether he could wait five hours nearby and come back later to sleep at her feet as a rug. A totally “normal” and passionate rug, I suppose.
* Picture by The Trial