Fifteen Years In- Addiction and Dissociation

Tonight I left the party early.  Pumping moving energy, fire flying around me, moans and screams and bubbling energy.  Tabs and drinks and slender women writhing on the ground licking lollipops while their lover fingered them.  Anime on the big screen, ropes and whips, and I left early.

It is the end of August, 2010, and I have been doing public kink stuff for 15 years now.  My scene-iversary was about 2 weeks ago.

Why is it that we do what we do?  Passion, need, communion, desire, connection, community?  Lust, depravity, shadow, fear, longing?  I sat in the mowed grass outside the house party with my best friend and we stared up at the moon singing Rainbow Connection while we listened to the cacophony inside.  Why do we do these, again, we ask ourselves.  When my passions lie nowadays in connection, coersion, ownership, possession, queer energy, and sexually being used (in some mash up), why am I at a mostly straight party yet again, throwing service rope?

I have danced in and out and through these questions before.  Two weeks ago I was at a play party and realized, halfway through breathing deep into a beautiful creature’s eyes, that I was drunk again.  That because I missed my former partners so much and felt so very alone in my core that I had let my social drinking become full blown using again.  Again.  The dance continues.

So I went dry.  So why am I at a party where one of the folks said he looked forward to having me drunk in his bed.  Why can’t you want me in your bed, sober?  Why can’t we go here eye to eye, love to love, cock to cock?  Add strobe lights, loud music, and a desire to not be doing all of this community and party dance thing, and we decided to leave early.

My friend, as we sit outside, asks me what sort of party I would prefer.  I flash to meatloaf, I flip to photo parties, I spin on feasting from nude women on Seattle floors.  Give me 3-10 friends in a private setting, with moderate level music and good food!  Give us seeder conversations and flirtation, playfulness and sexual tension.  I want parties where it could turn into deep philosophy, pure delight or hungry rutting at a moments notice.  Let it be tasty, comfortable, delicious!

I am so tired of, as Moo phrased it, Techno Mariachi.  Music that I can’t tell track from track, music too loud to talk.  I am so frustrated right now by yet another whipping, yet another spanking, yet another unconnected tie.

Do not mistake me.  Big parties, house parties, fetish balls- they can all be excellent.  Only 2 months ago I swayed in time with 35 hot leathermen of all shapes, sizes and ages (from 22 to 79) in a loft in San Francisco- hot tubs and group sex piles, fisting and tit pumps, single tails and lingering kisses.  I talked the night away, between groping and long smiles, feeling completely at home.  2 weeks ago in Minnesota I flew sideways in a self-suspension off the side of a jungle gym before feeding from the chi freely given of a blue-haired elf, and fueled up found the bravery to kiss a gleaming heart pounding before me.  Magic can happen, gods so often, at these events.

But these are connection, queer energy, sexual pig bottoming.  These were holding on for the ride and flying high on potential.  But the other half the time I feel I would rather stay home and watch a film, curl up with a bowl of popcorn, laugh at the dumb parts.

Sexuality is my full time living.  Ming once told me that I live in other people’s highlight reel.  That other folks get to do maybe one big kink event a year.  I do 1-2 a month.  Other folks hit a party a few times a year.  I am out almost every weekend in a different city, sometimes more than one a weekend.  It has, I am acutely aware, skewed my perspective.

If I demand excellence, why am I coming out when I know that I will not be engaging at a level of excellence?  Addiction and habitual behavior to mask loneliness and fears of abandonment takes many forms.  Drinking, drugs, yes- but submerging my desires in the easy route out of my head is a habitual behavior as well.  Disassociation has been an ally of mine for so long that I don’t always see it creep in, but there it was as blue wrapped around.  Would you like to tie me up?  Sure- what is hot about rope for you?  About playing with me?  She blinks, tells me that she just has not been in rope for a long time, wants to be decorated is all.  I become a rope dispenser, a vending machine for simple wants and needs.  I try to take it in for what it is, decide to not just sit there the lump, sure, maybe I will have fun being a pure artist.

But I’m not in my skin.  Again.

I flash back 15 years.  Victor Moray asks if he can use my back to teach someone flogging at Beyond the Edge Cafe.  I smile and bubble, sure Victor!  I take off my top and the two of them work back and forth… as I read The Stranger.  Only one person notices.

My friend tonight is out of it too.  After the second engagement (It wasn’t even service topping, as I was not present enough to really be of service, just a machine spitting out ebi ties) I ask if he wants to leave.  Folks drop- leaving so early? I have been here 4 hours, and too many folks are high or drinking heavily.  When I was one of them, that was easy.  Keeping on turning down it all is hard.  Why am I turning it down I wonder if I am turning off anyway?

There is a difference between using drugs and having them use me.  Symbiotic use of ethneogens in controlled energetic settings is one thing, and I do walk the path of sacred plants once in a very blue moon.  But regular use, or more, a need to hide behind a shield, a wall, a castle with deep moats is another.

I don’t remember my past life window between 1955 and 1979 or so.  A former client tells me I was his wife then.  But I do remember the early 50s.  I remember wearing a tweed pencil skirt sitting on stage with rapt attention as Aldous Huxley spoke.  I remember fighting a few weeks later with my beau.  I remember the loneliness.  I remember the cold water as I hit it, from the bridge.   It is my only firm memory of suicide, beyond my dances near that line this lifetime.

But I close my eyes when I am walking dead, and remember the ashen taste in my mouth from the lands of the dead, remember…

Life is so full of light, of shadow, of thunderstorm clouds and lingering kisses!  The notion of walking through it behind a mask, shielded myself from being here on this plane when I know how well to be here, so very here… it seems like such a waste.  Why am I spending four hours in a half lived half dead disconnected space when I could be wringing deep work, changing the world, having fantastic conversations, or curling up with a good book?

This is not about this party, these friends.  This is about how I interact in this world.  The world at large, and the world at kink as well.

I think I need to reinstate my “no going out without intent” rule again.  I did this a few years back for a while.  That before I go out, I have to gut check myself, make sure I have a reason I am doing it beyond a feeling of guilt or empty obligation.  Because I have not seen my friends in a while is a valid reason, because I am afraid my friends will not be my friends and guilt trip me that “it has been so long” when it has only been two months is not.

I may also just be low on juice for being social- my “alone” batteries and “small group only with no obligation” batteries having run low.

I am thirty.  I have now been part of the public kink community for half my life.  My first slave boy was my age when I started topping him.  And I am sitting now at a computer desk much like the one I had at that age.  Full circle.  Similar habits, spirals in and around, new lessons each time.  I have no interest in taking twelve steps, or diving into pharmaceuticals to lock me into being here.  But the thoughts are fresh from two weeks ago, two weeks without a drink etc.- it shouldn’t feel like such a big deal.  And yet, somehow it does.  It feels like a really big deal tonight as I stare at the collection of booze in my house.

The gold is heavy on my neck.  Heavy lessons to re-learn, anchor into my skin.  Two weeks to my wedding to myself, one week until I dance through silence and pain, three weeks until I help others fall in love with land I love so well.  And I find myself facing the addiction and dissociation work again.  Again.  But I know I am waiting on the other side of this work, I see his eyes, her eyes, their eyes wrapped in fur and feathers.  I hear growls and moans and sweet lips singing songs.

Fifteen years in.  I look forward to the next fifteen, ever more present to me and the world.

I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it.
It’s something that I’m supposed to be.
Someday we’ll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.


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.


  1. Time is precious (I’ve found, for me) and I encourage you to grasp, seize, cradle, caress, hold dear to the things that make you joyous, the things that make your inner being sing with not just pleasure but with the knowledge that this (whatever-it-is)is the best possible thing for you.
    So, go to your parties, seek out your connections, but it sounds like much of that has become work. You sound like a work-a-holic, being ground down with days and nights and weeks and months in the office, and maybe you need to step back and have some time with the (metaphorical or real, you be the judge) wife, kids, home, boat on the lake, sunday morning newspaper, birds singing outside your window, cool breezes as the sun sets.

    Are you taking a honeymoon with yourself? I think that sounds like a glorious thing to do, even if it’s just a day or two where you don’t let anyone else intrude on your newly confirmed love. 😀

    Have you been half-asleep, and have you heard voices?
    I’ve heard them calling my name.
    Is this the sweet sound, that calls the young sailor,
    The voice might be one and the same.

    (This comment brought to you by honeycake and the promise of barely sipped at coffee–lifeblood– in my jammies on a Sunday morning)

  2. The coccoon is gettting tight. Beautiful is this restless post. What will your sober metamorphosis be? 🙂 *hugs*

  3. I love that it was “The Stranger” you were reading. How very appropo.

    As far as the doing things for the right reason, the thing I do for myself is listen for the word “should” in my head. If I’m telling myself I “should” do something, ten to one it’s not the authentic thing for me to do. “Should” usually means it’s somebody else’s voice talking, not mine.

  4. spiritual gifts and callings possess a validity independent of the individuals who accept them. Almost always, working in transformation, one is invited to transform -to shed interference and pare down layer by layer toward the pure frequency of love.

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