The fourth truly amazing installment in Cleo Dubois' ongoing series of autobiographical essays. Fantastic story, fantastic images, fantastic woman. Thank you, Cleo!!
CLEO DUBOIS is a BDSM Educator, ritualist, creator of the Academy of S/M Arts, and Leather columnist . A versatile sadomasochist whose private interests lay in caring sadism, switching and cross-orientation play, she came out in the San Francisco Leather Scene in the early 80's. Her two popular docu-films, "The Pain Game" and "Tie Me Up," are available on 1 DVD, "The S/M Arts Collection," on her website www.sm-arts.com, where you will also find details about the Erotic Dominance Weekend Intensives for Men and Women. She offers private guided play to individuals and couples in the privacy of her San Francisco area dungeon, as well as office and phone consultations.
My husband built me a beautiful little dungeon, everything my Dominant self wanted: a real play space, a room where the routines of our daily life do not enter, a sanctuary.
Of course I, Cleo the Domina, soon made it into my session space. A caring Mistress yet fierce, focused and sadistic, I often took my clients to levels of exploration they did not know existed. I sure scared a few and pleased many with my zeal! But, more than anything, I wanted Fakir’s surrender on my own terms while he wanted me to “do him” his way! It became obvious we had control issues!
We created a performance symbolizing our desire to release our unwanted baggage. We labeled many old-fashioned hard suitcases with our inner demons: fear, abuse, neglect, judgments, and obsolete Christian values… Fakir lifted the luggage with flesh hooks in his pierced chest through a pulley high up to the ceiling of a downtown theater in Santa Cruz. I cut the luggage loose. I was his traveling companion in the hangar of our bruised psyches. Our Torture Circus body performance made the local paper. Of course it did not “fix” our trust issues!
A word about the influence of our formative years: My father suffered from a lack of formal education and low self esteem. He did not tolerate challenges to his authority and was prone to fits of anger. My mother focused all her attention on her journalistic pursuits. In Paris, I attended a private catholic girl school. Bullies from the boys school a block away scared me as I walked by five days a week. My first kiss, pinned to a tree on my way home from school, was stolen by such a bully. Repeated sexual abuse in my young adulthood led me to “collect” gay men as friends. I felt safe, sexy and preferred their taste and wit. Not that it kept me from taking young men back to my studio to fuck, but no kissing or sleep-overs. Sexually promiscuous yet emotionally distant was my style. Years later in California, consensual SM play and exotic sex with Leathermen allowed me to experience true connections. Scenes were negotiated, boundaries set, safewords honored. Chaps, leather harnesses and boots added to my turn on!
As it turned out Fakir had a dominant mother and a quiet absent father. Perceived as an effeminate young “mama boy” he too was bullied, a lot. His queer tastes were buried deep in the bland vanilla culture of pre-1950 rural USA. An avid reader of National Geographic, he secretly began his maverick solo life-long experiments in piercing, bondage, corseting, branding, feminization, and even gave himself his first magic mark, a tattoo.
Looking back, I never gave up the close circle of friends I shared erotic energy and body rituals with, my spiritual and sexual kinky gay men. I brought Fakir into our circle. Besides, we both wanted a Top. “Every Top needs a Top,” right?
Fakir was too shy to act upon his desires for a man’s attentions. I sensed he wanted permission and gave it to him so he could give it to himself. A masculine partner who wanted both of us would be just right. Master M. was it: European fetishist, sadistic, bisexual, with an eclectic voracious appetite. He danced with us for a decade.
© Cleo Dubois 2009
Fifth installment coming in October! Read previous installments now:
My Academy of SM Arts is now enrolling The next Erotic Dominance Weekend Intensive is for Men: Tops and Switches, October 3-4 at the SF Citadel. Dominate with presence and passion, competence and compassion! Hands on playshops with our trained Academy volunteers bottoms, workbook and lots of personal attention from Cleo Dubois, Eve Minax and Selina Raven.
Anyone, Top, bottoms, switches, curious, partnered or not, visiting the San Francisco Bay Area is welcome to contact me for a private consultation or guided play in my San Francisco Peninsula dungeon. Email CleoDubois@sm-arts.com
Archival copies of Body Play B&W photo magazine: http://www.bodyplay.com/current/
Info on Body Piercing Intensives: www.fakir.org
SPIRIT+FLESH is a 50-year photographic retrospective of Fakir's body modifications and rituals plus images of those he inspired. It is a 296 page, three pound hard cover art book that graphically illustrates a broad spectrum of physical experiences: bondage, sensory deprivation, tattooing, piercing, fetishes, body rituals and modifications. Introductory text was written by Mark Thompson author of Leatherfolk. For more information and orders go to: