30 Days of Kink Day 21: Favourite BDSM Book

Guido Argentini: From the portfolio Private Rooms

Guido Argentini: From the portfolio Private Rooms

Day 21: Favorite BDSM related book (fiction or non-fiction).

Probably Richard von Krafft-Ebing’s Psychopathia Sexualis about which I have waxed poetic on previous occasions.

It was the first book written about paraphilias and fetishes. Krafft-Ebing took the radical view that homosexuality shouldn’t be illegal. Scandalous.

Psychopathia Sexualis was supposed to be written for learned men (psychiatrists, physicians and people in the legal profession—it was used in court cases). Highly academic, it was a collection of case studies and the more salacious parts were in Latin (my copy had those parts translated into English).

The general public of 1886 weren’t put off by dead languages, though, as they immediately ran out and bought the book. It went through twelve editions and was published in seven languages during the author’s lifetime.

I’ve chosen it for this entry because it shows that people have always had fetishes (and it’s fascinating how the mores of the day shape those fetishes) and because it’s the first place I learned about pageism.

[I feel compelled to note that there’s a film that’s supposedly based on the book. Yes, I’ve seen it. Well. The first fifteen minutes or so at any rate. It’s the only film I’ve ever walked out of.]

More Argentini pictures from the Private Rooms portfolio here. (Very NSFW.)

Something of a Different Nature

Psychopathia Sexualis (Sexual Psychopathy) by German psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing was the first scientific catalogue of sexual deviance and perversion. The first edition was published in 1886 and it went through twelve editions in the author’s lifetime and was translated into seven languages. It popularized the terms ‘sadism’ and ‘masochism’ based on the names of the Marquis de Sade and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch respectively, though they had been in use prior to its writing.

A term that appeared for the first time was ‘pageist’. It was coined by a man called Mr. Z, whose history was Case 50.

As with all other cases, Krafft-Ebing first details the man’s familial background for psychiatric and physical disorders and then Mr Z’s physical problems. Then he describes the patient’s masochistic sexual fantasies over several paragraphs, which involved being flogged amongst other things. He then says:

While his masochistic fantasies and acts were entirely of a coarse, sensual nature, his “pageism” consisted of the idea of being a page to a beautiful girl. His conception was perfectly chaste, but piquant; his relation to her that of a slave, but absolutely pure—a mere platonic submission. This reveling in the idea of serving as a page to such a “beautiful creature” was coloured by a pleasureable feeling, but was in no way sexual. In it, he experienced an exquisite feeling of moral satisfaction, in contrast with sensually colored masochism, and therefore he could regard it as something of a different nature.

I also experienced a feeling of moral satisfaction at the idea of being an older woman’s pet. It felt pure, innocent, virtuous. It was the opposite end of the spectrum from the sexual thoughts I had about being physically punished in what I now realise would have been a mutually agreed upon Dominant/submissive relationship. It’s only recently that I see those two relationships can co-exist.

At the end of Case 50, Krafft-Ebing says:

What the patient designates as “pageism” does not differ in any way from masochism, as may be seen [1] when it is compared with the following cases of symbolic masochism and others; [2] upon the consideration that in this perversion coitus is avoided as an inadequate act, and [3] from the fact that in such cases there is often a fantastic exaltation of the perverse ideal.

[1] I’m not sure what the good doctor means by ‘symbolic masochism’ but I’m guessing he means service-oriented submission rather than being physically beaten. In that case pageism doesn’t differ from other types of masochism, no. Running around and doing errands as an unpaid page is no different from being a person’s table, really.

[2] Regarding sex as being inadequate—I certainly thought so growing up—the way I felt about whatever woman I wanted to serve would have only been sullied by intercourse. My feelings were larger, grander, encompassed the whole of the universe, and mere sex would be a disservice. It also seemed really boring in comparison to all of the other ways I could please her. I could do a hundred different chores and errands or one thing (I thought of sex as one thing—I was repressed).

[3] Fantastic exaltation? Check. I had that in spades. But that’s what it’s about—everyone gets to be bigger or smaller than who they really are. I big you up so I can be small and you can care for me and you can enjoy caring for me because you enjoy that. You enjoy being worshiped and I want to worship the hell out of you.

I still regard pageism as something of a different nature but more because there don’t seem to be a great number of us dying to trip around after older women, begging to do the filing and typing.

Would you like me to organise your binders, Miss?

That’s not a euphemism. I really mean it. Your binders are in a state.

The Pageist Introduces Herself

This blog is called The Pageist because I rather feel like the only one. Perhaps others will find their way here and we can all chat about the glory of office supplies and Dominants who appreciate a nicely organised desk.

Pageism is a form of service-oriented submission. It took me awhile to work this out. Below are the first two essays I wrote about it. Most of my posts will be about more general aspects of the lifestyle but these essays are a good way to kick off this site, as pageism is how I relate to D/s and BDSM.

The original essay was written in August of 2002, when I was in my mid-twenties.

The second essay was written in February of 2015, in my mid-thirties.

Original Essay on Pageism

I usually subscribe to the philosophy that learning new things about oneself is an inherently good thing. Because even if it is a bit disturbing, you are still expanding your horizons, exploring why you are the way you are, etc. That does not mean that every time I learn something new about myself I greet the information with a smile on my lips and a song in my heart. No, sometimes when the light of realisation is shone on a heretofore-darkened area of my personality I gasp in shock (when I found myself singing along with the new Celine Dion, for example) and sometimes I laugh out loud and frighten my cats. The latter reaction was in order when I found a spot-on description of a facet of my sexual self that I was unaware of and certainly did not even know had a name.

I am a Pageist.

There, I said it. If I left it there the only people who would have the foggiest clue as to what my kink is would be devotees of Richard von Krafft-Ebing. Krafft-Ebing was a German physician and Professor of psychiatry. He preceded Freud and Kinsey in the cataloguing of kinky sex. He is perhaps most known for his Psychopathia Sexualis, which was probably the first book published and sold under the guise of ‘medical education’ that went on to be a best-seller among lay society. It was a compilation of the most bizarre sexual deviancy cases he witnessed or heard about in his practice of psychiatry. It was the first to chronicle the kinks that moved beneath the veneer of repressed Victorian mores.

Then again, if those rumours about Prince Albert are true then I think the Victorians were having a lot more fun than they wanted to let on about. He had some pretty radical ideas for the times, for example he thought that homosexuals were not mentally ill, just a smaller portion of society. Certain groups of the religious right are still trying to catch up to that one.

But I digress. Back to my pageism. For my birthday I received a copy of Psychopathia Sexualis and was happily reading along when I arrived at the section concerned with masochism. I have never considered myself to be a masochist; in fact, when someone tries to get uppity with me I have always found it to be a huge turn off. Then I stumbled upon a paragraph-long description of pageism. One of his patients described himself as a ‘pageist’ and at first I thought it was someone turned on by books or bookish people—this would be an accurate description of my romantic leanings, but I could not figure how that fell under the category of masochism. It turns out that a Pageist is a person who wants to be a page or slave to a beautiful female. It is not a sexual relationship because the act is not seen as adequate to the depth of emotion involved. Krafft-Ebing argued that this was an act of ‘symbolic masochism’ wherein gratification comes from platonic submission, from acting out a sexually masochistic relationship minus the sex or physical humiliation. Suddenly all of my Anne Robinson fantasies made sense (was that too much information?)

Alas, my pageism is not pure. The technical description was of a person who wanted to serve a beautiful young woman and my romantic leanings have always veered toward the more mature women of the world. I like the idea of being a slave to a cold, demanding older woman. Eternally grateful and devoted. My ‘owner’ would have affection for me, much like one has affection for one’s pets and likes to show them off, especially if they are well trained or particularly beautiful. I would be treated very much like a pet in fact, or a doll. She would groom me and choose clothes that I always liked and were quite flattering. I would be madly in love with her, but she would only view me as a possession.

 

Currents Thoughts on Pageism: An update to my original essay on pageism

This is an update to the original essay I wrote after discovering the term pageist and realising it applied to me.

My first thought is that my writing has improved by a large margin over the last twelve and a half years. I had to resist the urge to edit the original, overblown text. Who knows what I’m going to think of this current piece in twelve years.

In regard to desires there have been some changes. The physical ideal is the same (older, intelligent, sophisticated, etc), but she is no longer cold or demanding. There’s genuine warmth, love and adoration on both sides. She is protective of me.

This is a reflection of a healthy Domme/sub relationship, whereas what I wanted before would have been a person with all the power using it against someone who idolized them. So that’s progress.

Having my clothes chosen and being treated like a pet (meaning favourite, not animal) still appeals greatly.

There is also a definite sexual element now, and though it can be disciplinary or sadomasochistic it’s always consensual and she always takes care of me afterwards. Doing her chores and generally obeying to the best of my ability in non-sexual matters still provide what the original pageist from Krafft-Ebing’s book called ‘moral satisfaction’ and nothing pleases me more than pleasing her. She’s always sure to let me know when I’ve done a good job.

I’m no longer a possession, I love as violently as I am loved.