A young man is blindfolded with a thick leather belt. He holds his arms, which are bound in electrical cord, up near his head.
This photograph was suggested by Aching Blossom, and I have to agree that the most distinct part of the image is the model’s lips:
[My] favorite part of this image is the vulnerable look on his face, and the mouth especially. But notice how he’s bound with what looks like an electrical cord and they obviously tried this more than once, and tightly, because he’s got impressions in his skin where the cord used to be. So despite the improvisational wrist binding and belt-blindfold, there’s a real passion going on in this scene that’s reflected in the model’s face.
For those who eroticize power, as I do, the fact that vulnerability is sexy is viscerally understandable. That’s a part of what I find so hot about pervertible toys like belts used for bondage or neckties used as blindfolds; they bring to mind a certain authenticity that can feel like being given a welcome treat or heighten the feeling of being controlled by highlighting the whims of a lover.
Utilizing everyday objects for sexual purposes is very common and I find that it can be just as much fun as “gearing up” with specialty sex toys or specific fetish equipment. Yet, for the reasons Margot Weiss, Ph.D., elucidates in her research paper, Mainstreaming Kink: The Politics of BDSM Representation in U.S. Popular Media,
marketers have tapped into the allure and exoticism of SM sexuality to sell an ever-widening array of products creating an overwhelming pressure to purchase and consistently keeping “real BDSM”—itself a mirage conjured by consumer culture—available only to the socioeconomically privileged:
There is no question that mainstream representations of BDSM have increased dramatically, spreading further and further into popular culture. Instead of challenging systems of sexual privilege and power, mainstream representations of SM (both normalizing and pathologizing) reinforce the normativity of the distanced viewing subject.
As SM becomes more mainstream, the desire for something real, raw, and hard grows. This desire is elusive; it reveals itself when viewers are left feeling hollow and empty, disappointed that they were not sufficiently shocked or turned on (or, ideally, both).
Using the language of disappointment, they are protesting the failure of transgression, decrying the ways sexual strangeness is disciplined out of existence.
The sex appeal and sexuality you saw on the TV, in that magazine, and in the window display today are a marketer’s snake oil. This holiday season, remember that the best things in life are free.
Oh that mouth…