Body play, Fakir Musafar and endorphinic ecstasy
«I feel that most people live in a very, very small reality. When you do the sort of things I do, however, your view of reality suddenly becomes… big.» This is the final statement in the mini-documentary you can find below, and which I strongly suggest not to view if you think that some BDSM practices can be “too extreme”. The person saying it is in fact Fakir Musafar, the most important body play expert in the world and one of founders of the ‘modern primitives’ movement, with over 60 years of extreme research.
Fakir is a former advertising executive whose life was celebrated in a wonderful book, and without doubt he is the most active person in divulging the spiritual aspect of body modification practices (piercings, tattoos, brandings, scarifications and more). As he explains in the video, he gave an essential contribution to the culture of safety in this field, and it is also thanks to his work if you can now do those things without any serious health risk. Talking about this men in a sex context seems somewhat inappropriate: after all, what he does completely lacks an erotic side and can’t be considered ‘BDSM’… or can it?
Well, to be honest, no. But his activity has many common points with the games so many people worldwide enjoy. In both cases there are the refusal to conform to conventions, the curiosity to fearlessly explore what our body is capable of, the challenge with ourselves. And then, from a neurochemical standpoint, there is theendorphinic ecstasy.
If we summarize a concept that would need many pages to be properly described, what he calls an ‘out of body experience’ and what BDSM enthusiasts know as ‘subspace’ are physiologically the same thing, at different intensity levels. When the human body undergoes extreme stresses, it answers releasing molecules called ‘endorphins’ which are chemically similar to morphine and induce a feeling of absolute bliss. This is a very well-known phenomenon, which has been studied in cases as different as exhausted marathon runners, wounded soldiers, meditating ascetics and BDSM and body play lovers.
The ecstatic condition induced by endorphins earned different names through the centuries: ‘kensho’, ‘enlightening’, ‘talking with god’, ‘transverberation’ and many other noble and well respected terms. You should think twice before calling Fakir Musafar just a freak, or people practicing BDSM just “perverts” – those who played with these things was usually sanctified, and after all opening your mind is always good, no matter how you do it.
And now, watch the documentary.