I’m not sure if this needs an adult subjects warning. It is art. And I’m not sure how to ask the question before you see the thumb nails on this page. If these subject worry you in anyway please MOVE ON.
This page has a wide variety of pleasures represented. Not all are sexual in the vanilla main stream sense. Some of these are about feelings that inspire profound experiences that in the traditions of Freud’s use of the word ‘Libido’ and ‘Eros’. Freud had all sorts of problems that came out of the limitations of his personalities, cultural and historical context.
To me though he crystallised and, in so doing, gave direction to a movement that has developed into a kind of self reflection that was missing from Western traditions of philosophy and mysticism. To me, one area that he was close to insight was on the importance of sexuality and gender in our development, our identity and culture. He sort to broaden and deepen this understanding by avoiding these most common emotionally laden words that inspire over simplification of its role in our lives and our experiences of it, thus libido and Eros.
He, his followers, inheritors and critics including those of us interested in honest and comprehensive self-reflection, self-development (whatever term you might use) understand the power of desire, of social connection, of a loving and compassionate knowledge of the inner dynamics of the psyche and cultural exchanges.
Freud’s essential duality of being has much in common with Tantra, Buddhist and Chinese anatomy of our psychology, with the limitations that dualistic simplifications can have. His opposites were ‘Thanatos’ (death) and Eros (life). I don’t want to go deeply into his theories because this is about my art, in a way my sexuality as expressed in my art. So this is about my translation of these ideas into my life.
So first let me say my sources for thinking about these ideas has been interpretations of Chinese and Indian traditions of mysticism, medicines and psycho-physical practices, like martial arts, dance, yoga, Tantra and meditation and vipassanya (mindfulness). I have not been a big reader of academic works, I have studied with practitioners, doing exercises for big sections of my life.
So lets talk about my experiential explorations of a variety if arts through different senses. Here’s a theory. There are arts and languages for every sense. In the West our Christian discomfort with the body means that the focus has been on visual and sound arts – painting, sculpture, music, poetry, other writing. Performance, ritual and theatre as the marriage of the other sensual arts targeting the emotions has been more or less controlled by authorities in the past and is all pervasive in the current age. Food and perfume for taste and smell get second tier acknowledgement as arts depending which western culture you find yourself in. While massage, sex and other forms of touch have been seen as evil until recently, the last century or so.
To think of touch in terms of the art and language has been off the map. It has been limited to specific emotions and sensation ranges and has been boxed into the pragmatic prison of reproduction. The word fetish originally was about an object, plant, art piece that had symbolic depth with real emotional consequences in ritual for magic. This emotional intensity meant, starting 1897 with Havelock Ellis, it was applied to practices and objects that unusually or differently sexually excite.
For me… in recent times Fetish uses the languages and arts of touch and theatre to possibly take intimacy and sexuality into the realm of theatrical and personal catharsis transmuting abject emotions into fun. Modern fetishes, like BDSM (Bondage & Discipline; Dominance & submission; Sadism & Masochism), open up the range of emotions explored, played with and associated with touch and sex. Now of course there are people, as in the mainstream, who get trapped into getting sexually turned on (including achieving orgasm) with just one set of actions with particular parts of their bodies, for example only getting turned on by naked members of the opposite sex and/or have their genitals stimulated. Fetish uses cross sensual fantasy and emotions, such as humiliation, rage, effort, exhibitionism, submission and/or dominance, role-playing for fun and/or sexy.