“There was no need to separate the things we do on Saturday night from the things we do on Sunday morning.” —Prince
I’ve found that, like as Prince says, prayer and play are not as far or as distinct as we often like to think of them.
Like I’ve said before, I was raised Catholic and, like Dan Savage, I wonder how much that played a part in my also being kinky. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that growing up Catholic “made” me kinky—I don’t think that’s how sexuality or kink work—but it did mean I grew up with a respect and affinity for pageantry and ritual. It gave me the ability to, with a few words and motions, reach a transcendent headspace away from the everyday.
And, while I’m skeptical of the study’s methodology and conclusions, even science seems to find a connection between prayer and pleasure. Hell, even the Vatican is trying to roll out a Tinder-like app—a Sinder app, if you will—that seeks to hook-up believers and the Church. No matter how we try to deny it or contain it, religion and sex are inexorably linked.
And part of me thinks it’s like Michaela Coel says, “Sex and God are like the two most taboo things [...] because it’s something that everyone’s so private about.” So often, we pray and play behind closed doors, locked away in bedrooms and confessionals. So often, in our most intimate moments, we do it alone or with just one other person, striving hard to reach a nirvanic state beyond ourselves.
Even when we do perform in public, in churches or dungeons, it’s among our flocks, communing with the like-minded, as we seek to connect with something bigger than us.
I remember my very first play party. It was during Easter weekend so, of course, there was a Catholic nun scene. It was the last party for a pregnant kinkster, before she took a break from the kink scene during her third trimester. So, as a send-off, her friends had devised a fallen nun scene, where she was handcuffed to her girlfriend, who played the fallen nun’s confidante, while they were punished by her primary partner, who played the scandalized yet titillated priest.
I remember watching and wondering how this could possibly be my life. Here I was, embarking on the most transgressive act of my life, only to come face to face with my finger-wagging childhood. Suddenly, all my excitement was being doused as I wondered whether I ought to be offended by this or not. Even as an agnostic in Catholic-recovery, this seemed the epitome of blasphemy.
I mean, it was not a good Catholic scene.
The outfits were thrift-store Halloween costumes. The plot and rehearsed lines were so corny, even the kinksters in the scene were laughing their way through them. Hell, even when they started reciting the “Hail Mary” prayer, they couldn’t even remember the words.
So, as the only one in the crowd who’d gone to Catholic school, I head-shakingly fed them their prayers, line by line. Becoming part of their scene. Being swept up in their scene.
In the crowd. In the laughter. In the ridiculousness. In the taboo. And, yes, in the joy.
The scene was bad. Corny and unrehearsed. It toyed with the offensive and yet…somehow, in that room full of giggling kinksters, the taboo had transformed into the transcendent. Had become about more than just those three kinksters. It’d become a communal moment, a shared experience. A profanely base, joyfully sacred, utterly human moment that could never have happened any other way and would likely never happen again. It was the definition of a you had to be there moment to ever truly understand.
I wanted to capture that moment in my story “Genuflect” in Sexy Little Pages’ Sacred & Profane anthology. That odd moment of conflict, where guilt meets pleasure, and somehow leads to clarity. I wanted to explore the undeniable truth that both prayer and play have a unique ability to shed light and insight on who we are and what we could be.
After all, like Prince points out, Saturday and Sunday just seem too close not to be connected.
Check out my story "Genuflect" in Sacred & Profane: Priest Erotic Romance, edited by the wonderful Torrance Sené, that's out now at all major online retailers and is also available in paperback:
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