From Janus 86
Soozy is the most committed submissive we have ever featured in Janus. Readers’ response to her presentation in issue 84 suggests that reality is always preferable to fantasy, for Soozy is no model portraying a role but the genuine article. The intensity of her attraction to our subject and her unique view of it made her an essential candidate for the Punishment Series, and in this scintillating authentic interview she lays bare her soul, earning our gratitude and admiration for the revelatory insights she imparts to us. Since the recorded conversation, however, Soozy’s relationship with her Master has come to an end owing to conflicts of devotion, and she has embarked on other experiences of a similar nature.
JANUS: How long have you been married?
SOOZY: Twelve years.
JANUS: Does your husband share your interest in dominance and submission?
JANUS: When you married him, did you know that you had desires of this kind?
SOOZY: No, not at that time. But later, when I realised that I did have those desires, they seemed as if they had always been there — really like meeting old friends.
JANUS: Has this lack of a mutual involvement in CP or SM caused a problem in your marriage?
SOOZY: No. We’ve always had a very good sex life, and we are open and honest with each other. My husband says that I am disarmingly honest, and it can put people off! But it wasn’t until I stumbled into SM that I actually found an arena where I could say anything about myself, without fear or hesitation.
JANUS: Explaining your desires in this area hasn’t inspired him to pursue them, though?
SOOZY: I would say that he appreciates my need, but he doesn’t understand it. He is wonderfully accepting and supportive, and he’s extremely perceptive generally, but on this subject he listens but only very occasionally does he hear. It’s the same with my spiritual needs — I go to church and he doesn’t.
JANUS: Are these two aspects of your nature — the submissive and the religious — quite separate, or do you see them as related?
SOOZY: I see the two as one.
JANUS: Is there then any sense in which your Master is essentially a priest to you, administering a particular kind of sacrificial sacrament?
SOOZY: There is an element of that, yes. I’m offering myself.
JANUS: Are you offering yourself to God?
SOOZY: Yes, I am, I think. I’m giving myself to what is beyond, to what is behind everything, and this is the most potent way I have of expressing that desire. OK, some people want a crucifix. Well, I find a whip is far more effective! (laughs)
JANUS: Is SM a form of erotic crucifixion?
SOOZY: Mmm. That sounds good, I’ll have to think about that. I can only say that I can share my feelings of spirituality with someone who also has the same panache for sexuality, at one and the same time — and I actually feel complete.
JANUS: Is your Master’s outlook the same as yours?
SOOZY: Well, I started by seeking a spiritual experience in SM, and he at first was seeking a purely sexual experience; as time went on, we both developed the other side.
JANUS: Would you ideally like it to be your husband who was your Master?
SOOZY: I think, ideally, yes; but personality-wise it wouldn’t be possible.
JANUS: Is there any conflict between your loyalties to the two men in your life?
SOOZY: Well, it can be difficult. The problem is where to draw the line between fantasy loyalties and actual loyalties to my husband and children.
JANUS: Is your husband jealous about your involvement with your Master?
SOOZY: What he actually said when I asked him about this was that he’s not so much jealous as envious that I have found something that is so fulfilling to me, and he has not found the equivalent for him.
JANUS: That’s quite extraordinary, if he’s not in the slightest jealous.
SOOZY: Yes, I know that. He’s an extraordinarily unjealous person. We both recognise that we are multi-faceted and need different experiences and relationships.
JANUS: How long have you been seeing your Master, and how often do you meet with him?
SOOZY: Two and a half years. At first it was monthly, but now I go to see him every Thursday afternoon.
JANUS: What do you think has been the main effect upon you of your involvement with your Master?
SOOZY: It has made it possible for me to feel sexy at any time, even all the time.
JANUS: Has it sexualized you as a woman?
JANUS: You have an aura of concentrated sexuality.
SOOZY: Mmm. Which I haven’t had before. I think it’s because with my Master I have a sense of his total recognition of me. With him I feel free — maybe because of the disciplines of SM.
JANUS: The classic paradox.
SOOZY: Yes. Because I am unfree in these disciplines I become free in myself. And recently I have been asking myself: Am I feeling this relief of being able to put together the spiritual and the sexual because I am going through the disciplines of SM? Or am I experiencing this fusion because I am with this particular person, who just happens to be involved in SM? The union of the sexual and the spiritual is so good because of the SM, but it takes a particular sort of person to want to involve himself in SM to get to that union. It matters to a very great degree who the person is who is the channel of the SM experience. He must be able to keep it within limits and appreciate that I have to be able to accommodate it with three children, a husband and a career.
JANUS: Do you have sex — what most people would consider to be actual sexual acts — with your Master?
SOOZY: No, not with him. But he does order me to satisfy other men he sometimes invites to be there, which is an exercise of his sexual power over me at one remove.
JANUS: And do you always obey these orders?
SOOZY: Oh yes. I literally do everything that he tells me to do. I’ve always made it clear to him that he can push me to the total limit.
JANUS: All right. We started by talking about your husband and your Master, but now I think we’re in danger of putting the cart before the horse. Let’s concentrate now on you, so that we can trace this experience back to its origin. When did you first feel drawn towards CP?
SOOZY: When I was a little girl I saw a television serial about young girls in a boarding school. They were assembled in a kind of drawing-room, leaning against a huge fireplace, relaxing and chatting together. I was impressed by how pretty they looked in their white dresses with puffed sleeves and high-waisted bodices. A matron was sitting knitting in an easy chair. She overheard one of the girls making a joking remark about something she’d done, and the matron said, ‘If I caught you doing that, I’d poke you with my knitting-needle.’ The way she said it was thrillingly awful. I throbbed down here, imagining the pain of being poked by a knitting-needle. It was like a great big ooooh inside me. I’ve recently reflected on the reaction I had then, and I think this explains my investigations into pain.
JANUS: What was your first actual experience of this kind?
SOOZY: It was an experience of domination, but without pain. Before I met my husband I’d had a boyfriend who once simply made use of me as a sexual servant. He lay back and told me to do all sorts of different things to give him pleasure. It was pure sexual domination, being used as a love-slave. I thrilled to this and the memory of it stayed with me for a very long time. But the feeling of being controlled by someone else, and the excitement that this gave me, didn’t occur to me consciously until the fulfilment of it with my Master.
JANUS: What motivated you to begin this relationship?
SOOZY: I read Story of O and then I started fantasising about it and I knew I had to experience it somehow. I felt there was a gap in my relationship with my husband, a sort of lacking, a need which turned out actually to be a need for erotic pain and domination. I found Nancy Friday’s books Women’s Sexual Fantasies and Men’s Sexual Fantasies very inspiring, parts of them. They were a guide to a kind of unexplored dissatisfaction within me, and fantasising about SM scenes became a process of self-discovery.
JANUS: How long ago was this?
SOOZY: About five years ago. At first I started buying books and sexy underwear — and wow, gosh, I never thought this would happen! I thought, it’s what I’ve always wanted, the impact.
JANUS: Did the sexy underwear make you feel good to wear it?
SOOZY: Yes, it made me feel good to wear it, it was answering things that hadn’t been answered before. I’d had a rather Victorian kind of background, you see.
JANUS: So was this a catalyst that opened you to new forms of erotic experience?
SOOZY: Yes, it certainly was. But the fantasies, the fantasies of being dominated and punished, remained and grew stronger. I knew that if ever I was going to act them out it couldn’t be with my husband, because he hasn’t got that side to his character. The fantasies seemed to have to do with the fact that I felt all bunched up inside. That wasn’t the fault of my marriage, but a depression that I’d had for many, many years. It was like being in a mental strait-jacket of a kind. And SM seemed to be the key to releasing it.
JANUS: When you actually embraced that fantasy was that a very sexually liberating event?
SOOZY: It was mental liberation — later a sexual liberation. It was an identification with actual pain and mental pain. I was able to have all that mental pain physically whipped out of me.
JANUS: Was it a transformation from mental pain to physical pain?
SOOZY: Yes, it was cleansing.
JANUS: We’ve leapt ahead again, because I wanted to ask how you met your Master.
SOOZY: It was through a magazine. A dominant man was advertising for a submissive woman who would act out a scenario with him. I kept rereading this ad, and then I discussed it with my husband. He agreed that I could write to him if I wanted to. So I replied and got an answer, and we corresponded for a while before meeting. And then he became my Master.
JANUS: What was your impression of him when you met?
SOOZY: I’m not allowed to talk about him directly, he’s only given permission for me to talk about what we do.
JANUS: I see. That’s quite understandable. What is it that you enjoy doing most of all with him?
SOOZY: I enjoy being whipped. I enjoy knowing that I’m prepared to accept that much pain as a sort of token of my love or giving.
JANUS: What do you actually experience whilst you’re being whipped?
SOOZY: I experience an identification with the total giving and acceptance that the meaning of the word love gives to me.
JANUS: You choose to see it as an expression of love through pain, but isn’t it possible that you’re just being used?
SOOZY: I like to know that I am being used.
JANUS: How far does it go? Do you ever feel that you are being tortured, for instance?
SOOZY: No. I don’t experience it as torture, even when it could be seen as that; not any amount of pain, because it is for him.
JANUS: Do you ever feel any resistance in yourself — not wanting this to go on?
JANUS: This can be dangerous unless you are absolutely sure of each other and safety factors.
SOOZY: It’s completely safe. He’s not at all wild but fully in control of himself, and mentally we’re very attuned.
JANUS: Are the whippings he gives you sometimes quite severe?
SOOZY: Yes. For some reason I can’t quite explain, to be whipped sums it up for me. It’s my way of saying unconditionally YES.
JANUS: Is the whip then the ideal instrument for you?
SOOZY: Yes, a single-strand heavy whip about six feet long. It’s a rhino whip, it really hurts me.
JANUS: Do you usually get it on one part of the body?
SOOZY: Usually my rear and thighs. I would say the ultimate is being chained up spread-eagled, and the most painful is with a thin whip into the thighs.
JANUS: Is that also very arousing?
JANUS: And does that make you come?
JANUS: With other stimulation or without?
SOOZY: It can be just from the whip.
JANUS: Is coming that way a different feeling from intercourse?
SOOZY: It is the same sensation as when I masturbate. It’s very personal.
JANUS: It must be quite unusual to be able to do that.
SOOZY: To be able to cope with the pain and use it to reach the heights I have to be able to say that I am receiving this because I want to give pleasure — totally giving myself to him.
JANUS: Is it sometimes extremely painful?
JANUS: And does that directly excite you?
SOOZY: It directly gives me pleasure, because I’m giving what is demanded of me to him.
JANUS: It sounds like the ultimate fulfilment. Is there anywhere further to go?
SOOZY: It’s very strange, I always come back to the whipping.
JANUS: Do you think your Master has a lot of respect for you?
JANUS: Do you think he loves you?
SOOZY: Yes. SM is a way of expressing my love, but it is a love beyond everything. You know the scripture, ‘The kingdom of heaven is within you’? Everybody has their own method of getting in touch.
JANUS: I think most people never get in touch with that. And the route you are taking with your Master is so different to the accepted spiritual paths to this awareness, although religious flagellation was practised in medieval Christianity and the cults of the ancient world.
SOOZY: It only seems different, because people misunderstand it and discriminate against it.
JANUS: Why does it work for you?
SOOZY: I think because I’ve had a lot of mental and emotional agony in my life, and the first time the whip went ssssh it stopped all that. It exorcised my inner pain, because this pain was so intense; it was pure.
JANUS: Is it always severe?
SOOZY: No, not always. There’s also a soft side, when we talk together a lot and he is very gentle with me. When I give my body for him to use it can be quite harsh; I’ve never come away not hurting. But it’s always tempered by care, he’s watching my every reaction. I trust him implicitly.
JANUS: That’s essential. But could you stop the whipping if you wanted to?
SOOZY: I’m sure my Master would, but I’ve never asked him to. I’ve never wanted him to stop.
JANUS: Do you agree beforehand what you’re going to do?
SOOZY: No, I just give myself up completely into his hands. I love to be open and vulnerable in this way, as his slave; learning to accept hurt as a positive thing. The whole basis of our relationship is, ‘What is pain? Pain is love. Love is pain.’ That is the beginning and the end of it all — that the pleasure and the pain are one.
JANUS: What does this unity of pleasure and pain mean to you?
SOOZY: Love. This is what I felt in my fantasies before I ever experienced it. What I liked about Story of O was the total way that O could give herself, and I thought I would love to love someone that much to be able to say yes to pain. Submitting to being whipped was her proof in saying, ‘I love you this much and more. The whip is the token of how much I love you and how much more I want to love you.’ It’s like a cross to me — like a form of worship.
JANUS: Is it also therapeutic for you?
SOOZY: It is like a therapy, in that I can put all my little pains into that total pain, and let go. I can bundle up all my problems and get rid of them in that incredible experience. I love the discipline of it, the rules and the obedience, and the drama of it. I can express any emotion I have in me, and it’s accepted. I can talk about how I feel about everything, and it’s all understood. My Master responds to the fullness of my personality, but he also sees me as a sexual object.
JANUS: I think that whatever happens, you need to be brought face to face with the truth and not be allowed to escape from that.
SOOZY: Well, that’s what I like. I want to use the austerity of that world to release me and cleanse me, and bring me through to the lightness of spirit that I know is there.
JANUS: I think one thing this experience can do is to strip away everything that is not of the essence.
SOOZY: That’s how I see everything. That’s what it’s all about.
JANUS: What sort of qualities does a Master need to help bring this about?
SOOZY: Strictness, stringency… a strict disciplinary approach, not done with a hard face, but firm understanding unwavering in its application of what is necessary. Firmness and strictness from someone who is at one with himself. Someone who would not need me, or leech from me, but someone I could respect.
JANUS: You mentioned masturbation earlier, and this question has to be asked. Do you masturbate to fantasies of being dominated and whipped?
SOOZY: Yes. It helps me to focus on them. My Master often orders me to masturbate in front of him, and also every day at home.
JANUS: Does sex feature in these fantasies too?
SOOZY: No, they are more about being controlled, and letting go within the security of the control. They are a dramatic expression of my belief that I am — and everything is — in God’s control. In the theatre of the Master and slave, I act out that belief. Submission and humiliation are not the same as humility to the truth, and that is what I am really seeking.
JANUS: That’s making your Master into God.
SOOZY: Yes.JANUS: Soozy, thank you very much.