Down to the mats

They went down to the mats. Two bodies pinning each other down in turn, elbows into chests and knees into groins. Ferocious passion bubbled up as smiles became growls became moans. A full nelson became a sign of affection. Hair pulling spoke of their desire.

When all was said and done, they looked up. The eyes of the crowd were on them, and their experience changed. They looked around and one of their best friends had been watching, and it changed again. Their former spouse was then seen walking away… transforming the encounter once more.
If we are used to connecting in erotic encounters behind closed doors, we may only be used to those of us in the play we are doing affecting the experience we are having. If you and I are wrestling, the scene is about you and I wrestling. Two people, two journeys, coming together on this road to walk it together. After we are done, the scene was about two people, having walked the road together.

But when we play in public, the meaning of the experience can change based on the other. We may have tunnel vision during our scene and have it be about two people, walking a road together. But then we look up, and feelings can shift. Emotions of pride, embarrassment, erotic charge, anger, uncertainty or delight may mix with the original experience.

That’s right, I was the one walking the road with them. That’s right, we just walked that road. Is it okay that we walked that road? Are ya’ll okay that we just walked that road here?

The scene itself becomes transformed in retrospect. It is no longer about two people (or however many were in your scene). It is now about the two of you in a context of a greater whole. With each set of eyes you catch, you form a new triad that your scene is about. The catch of a smile, a blank stare, a furrowed brow, each cast our scene in a different light.

Each face we meet, however, does not change what the scene was. It was two people who went down to the mats. They pinned each other down in turn, elbows to chests and knees to groins. Passion bubbled, smiles became growls became moans.

The story we tell ourselves is what has changed. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter what the viewer is doing. Sometimes it does not even matter if the external viewer was anyone other than out “normal” self, returning to the space post-scene. Our moment of passion, that was what it was, can become the story of being “swept up in it all,” “something that was so unlike me,” “a scene we have waited a long time for.” Those are all stories. The scene was what was.
Specific individuals can affect those stories even further. This is because they are not just a generic set of smiling eyes. They are the smiling eyes of our best friend. The story becomes not just “yum, nice scene,” but “yum, nice scene, go you!” They are not just the wide eyes of staring back at you. They are the wide eyes of your child who walked into the room at some point. The story morphs and changes, even if the actions that we did were identical. Context is key.

When it is just the two of us, in the moment, we are the only two with us. Playing publicly, when we notice that public, changes that. Perhaps not much in some situations, but in striking ways at other times. When playing at parties, there are people who do not act like their private self at all, the context of entering the space being enough to shift their internal story enough to take hold long before play begins. Some pairs prefer to play publicly because they get turned on by who they both are in public play spaces. Some prefer to play privately, delighting in the privacy of the two of them as they are together, alone.

But are we really alone? Thoughts of others can also change the scene. Two people who went down to the mats, pinning each other down, changes its context when we remember that your former lover and you loved this type of play. Without the consent of the other party, this has become a threesome. Each scene we do might feel like an orgy of context unless we pause, breathe, and come back to the moment.

One could ask which of these experiences the authentic one is. Was the two of us on the mats, when it felt like the two of us, the authentic one? Or was it inauthentic, having set aside the context of our lives? It becomes a round-robin of logic and philosophy that spins in circles.

Until we pause. Breathe.

They went down to the mats. Two bodies pinning each other down in turn, elbows into chests and knees into groins. Ferocious passion bubbled up as smiles became growls became moans. A full nelson became a sign of affection. Hair pulling spoke of their desire.


If so moved…



Lee Harrington

Lee Harrington is an internationally known sexuality, relationships, and personal authenticity educator. Having taught in all 50 states and in 6 countries, he brings a combination of playful engagement and thoughtful academic dialogue to a broad audience. An award-winning author and editor on gender, sexual, and sacred experience, his books include “Traversing Gender: Understanding Transgender Journeys,” and "Sacred Kink: The Eightfold Paths of BDSM and Beyond," among many other titles. He has been blogging online since 1998, and been teaching worldwide since 2001. Welcome to his world, and your chance to expand your mind and heart alike.

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