Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to chat up a few men who are not involved directly in the Leather/Kink community.
Granted, the reasons for our interactions weren’t necessarily to talk. However, more and more, I’m finding that my quest for carnal satisfaction involves more than just the need for physical gratification. I find that sexual encounters are more satisfying and fruitful if there is some other type of connection involved in the dynamic. So, I make it a point to have some real life, face-to-face interaction.
I was describing to him my own perspective of our community and how my view of my place in the community influences my day-to-day interactions. After hearing my take on being of service and building connections and bridges, his response caught me off-guard. He told me that my approach was very spiritual and based on religious teachings. In my head, I kept thinking the two are totally unrelated, but I also had to recognize that the spiritual component of my sexuality is equally if not more important than the physical aspect.
A couple of weeks later, I read a piece by writer Patrick Mulcahey, who had interviewed members of ONYX, the group for Leather People of Color. Repeatedly, the members of the club described what they believed to be the club’s key to success. Each member interviewed saw their interaction with others in the community as a Ministry. There it was again – the use of spiritual principles in a community where sex and sexual activity are the focus. After some thought and mulling over, I realized or probably remembered that in many ways, the two – spirituality and sexuality – are very much intertwined.
Ministering to someone and being a Minister are very different. Ministering to someone is an activity, an action that addresses an expressed or obvious need.
Bootblacks are a powerful example of the activity of ministering. Not only do bootblacks provide for the care of boots, gear and those things we believe that define us as leather folks, bootblacks also tend to the need we all have to connect with another human being. For those brief moments, at least in my experience, sitting in the bootblacks chair not only restores my skins but it also restores my soul.
Taking the time to disconnect, having someone massage my feet, engage in conversation and releasing tension actually seem to energize me, because it brings me back to myself. I’ve seen kink class instructors who not only are able to provide technical expertise (being a Minister) but are also able to minister to the needs of their chosen scene participant through how they interact and with what they do during the aftercare component of the scene. Whether it be providing water, holding them, talking or just having skin-to-skin contact can and does make a difference in how both parties will experience and remember the scene.
Ministering is about addressing both a physical need and a soul need that will only take place when two people are connected. However, it is born of a desire to be of service, and that is independent of role identification.
Somehow, in our evolution as a community, we seem to be moving away from ministering to our community and becoming more about being Ministers. The drive to have a title, a position, a symbol of our importance (think Covers) has superseded the desire to be of service.
Being a minister is a position of power; ministering to others is an act of empowerment for everyone involved. The feeling of empowerment, at least for me, is pretty sexy. It doesn’t always lead to sex, but it does lead to satisfaction.