BDSM And Speedballing In The Art World

Back in a pre-internet age when kink was still crime, I found myself in a hedonistic world where galleries and orgies went hand in hand.
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Back in a pre-internet age when kink was still crime, I found myself in a hedonistic world where galleries and orgies went hand in hand.

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It wasn’t even called BDSM when I was a kid. It wasn’t called anything. No “fet” or “kink” or whatever. In those days it was considered a mental illness and defined by power crazy shrinks and vice squad creeps as a serious crime called “sexual deviancy.”

In terms of finding likeminded people, back before the universe became googilicious, the most you could hope for was a sleazy tabloid newspaper that showed up occasionally in dingy little drug stores. They’d be next to the plastic-wrapped Euro porn and “special information booklets.” For a fair wad of cash you got about a dozen coarse black and white photos on thick paper. They purported to be works of photographic art or of serious medical interest only. The shots feature stuff like some utterly hirsuite, full-bush German broad in a corset. She’d be gagged and bound in the classical S pose, but with a totally blank face. Or maybe there would some duffer in bad horn-rims, a Monty moustache and a frogman suit. Those old 50’s and 60’s booklets are now worth a fortune. I have an ancient perv friend who’s funding his retirement by selling that stuff on eBay.

The circle of aficionados I knew was never big and no one revealed much about themselves. It was strictly a Need To Know basis. And who could blame them? As some old money hypocrite with big social status, it was bad enough to be outed as a cock sucker and a sodomite. Throw in the fetish thing and a torch-bearing mob led by a pack of howling lawyers would be at the guy’s door in no time.

In terms of women, there were some hard-assed Domme bitches but cock eating female subs who could be gang-slammed weren’t very common and usually came with some rich porn asshole. However, there were a good number of tough bull-dykes, most of whom got off on ass-breaking femmes of either gender. So there really was no special way in or magic codeword. It was pretty ad hoc and secretive as hell.

My particular intro was kind of fluky. As a brainless young moron on the loose, I went along with getting pimped to closeted old money dudes by a couple suave art scene queers. I was bored out of my mind so they recruited me through a flamboyant junior high teacher I’d run into one Saturday afternoon on the way home from hockey practice. He showed me some galleries in a swanky part of town I’d never even known existed. The teacher told me he was doing me a favor – and he was – big time. Like most offspring of working class immigrant bozos, before I met the fags, I had not a single fucking clue about anything. I’d read one book of bad poetry and didn’t know art from a-holes.

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Ironically, the key was good manners and I had them well beaten into me very early on. So if you were a curious young butt-rider who also had some smarts, sincerity and kept his trap shut (except when servicing clients), you could eventually work your way in with an accomplished older guy. Y’know, someone who liked having a polite young fuck hanging around as a sort of protege. I learned a lot that way - about history, music, dance, all kinds of stuff. My best teachers were older queers who were well read, charming, fun and generous. They introduced me to the value of creativity.

Of course I never told my friends, family, girlfriends or fellow hockey players what I was up to. They knew I had an interest in art and liked artsy types but nobody nosed around very much. In truth, they didn’t want to know and imagine broaching that kind of thing with uptight squares: So… uh… how are the ass-fuck orgies going?

In terms of an actual ‘group’ that did stuff together, I don’t think we ever numbered more than four or five at any one time – and that was a big deal. In what existed of the up-front gay scene in that era, it was a bit looser but still very risky. A lot of blackmail went down, reputations destroyed and lives ruined. Most people were in the closet a hundred different ways.

My art scene fags ran a very conservative gallery as their pimping cover. It featured traditional representational paintings; landscapes, portraits, that kind of nonsense, along with some Inuit soapstone sculpture, all very respectable and eggheaded.

Meanwhile, out the backdoor they were hawking hot young ass to the art lovers, all of whom were well heeled doctors, lawyers, bankers, and such, arch WASPs with big discreet mansions in leafy exclusive neighborhoods. A couple of these characters even got me to do their hags. I’d go around posing as some sort of factotum, briefcase in hand, and bang the shit out of the old lady for them.

I worked in the gallery for a few weeks but got pulled cuz I’d made a side deal with the owner of a fashionable bistro down the street. He had a really choice 12-cylinder E-Type Jag. He was manly and in good shape, not some neurotic, flat-footed pinhead or fat slob I had to flatter. You’d have never made my restaurant guy for a homo. He actually knew about cars, could work on the Jag himself and he really drove that hot little bitch. He took me to hockey games, prime seats, and we went to a lot of boxing, always ringside seats. He was cool.

I’d already been rough-housed pretty hard and he appreciated that but also made me feel I wasn’t just a cum-bucket. We talked a lot while trying some good bondage shit, different kinds of rope and manacles, even bolted together some stuff ourselves. He turned me onto the Marquis de Sade, explaining a great deal about why his writing is so important. He was the first guy I’d ever gotten my whole fist and wrist into and he could take it. Then the bastard had to go and die of the plague. Incredible I never caught it off him.

Not contracting anything serious is all the more amazing considering I was also a shooting junkie and speedballer for a quarter century. Sometimes I think it’s just down to genetics. I have a doctor friend that’s joked about it with me, saying researchers should check out my blood. I know a woman like that too. She’s around my age and has fucked over three-hundred guys and can count on one hand the number of times she’s used a condom.

And who says there are no miracles?

Basil Papademos is the author of the BiLines Award winning novel, Mount Royal: There's Nothing Harder Than Love, and the upcoming novel, How To Fuck Your Psychiatrist