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Interview with AhhSi – Ayzad, BDSM and the “deliverance from the yoke of mundane”

This interview was originally published by AhhSi

 

It is hard to talk about the Italian BDSM scene without mentioning him. AhhSi had the pleasure of chatting with Ayzad.

You may have stumbled on his name in a bookstore even if you aren’t into extreme sex. But if you are part of the BDSM scene, it is highly probable you already know him. Ayzad is one of the most prominent alternative sexuality experts in our country.

AhhSi had the pleasure to meet him and ask him a few questions.

 

  1. Hello, Ayzad! Please introduce yourself, talk about what you do.

Hi, pleased to meet you! I am a recovered journalist, and I have been studying unusual sexualities for quite many years. Besides finding them interesting and often fun, I discovered they frequently offer a brilliant window onto ourselves and onto many social phenomena – so I report the results of my explorations in books, articles, conferences and more.

My goal is to help people to serenely live their sexuality. To that end, I work as a personal coach for those in need of a hand for finding the ideal strategy to overcome their uncommon erotic issues and I organize themed events. I occasionally contribute to research projects, and at the beginning of this year I launched an initiative to spread a healthy approach to sexuality called The Sexual Explorers Manifesto. In a nutshell, I do plenty of things and yet my name remains mostly associated with the popularization of BDSM.

  1. When did you discover BDSM, and what is it to you?

Just imagine, my first curiosity toward this type of eroticism appeared so long ago that it was still called ‘sadomasochism’, like the pathology. My practice and immersion in the BDSM culture began 31 years ago instead, and I haven’t grown tired of that yet.

During all these years my relationship with BDSM of course changed along with my normal personal growth. Today I believe I can say that for me it isn’t just a fine erotic game where «one person directs the experience, the other takes a listening role to the sensations and emotions chosen by the dominant partner, and they together explore in a controlled and safe way power dynamics that can get very intense», as a dictionary would say, anymore. That aspect certainly exists and remains very pleasurable indeed, but I also now live BDSM as an experience that is philosophical, somewhat political and I would dare to say ‘spiritual’ – for pretty broad definitions of that term.

  1. What would you recommend to someone newly approaching BDSM?

To keep firmly in mind that its pornographic portrayals are as realistic as the story about the pizza delivery boy invited to a fabulous mansion by a bunch of nymphomaniac models in mainstream porn. Reality is much less spectacular and at the same time much more engaging and intense than in the common portrayals of BDSM.

The best approach also involves not trusting too much the tall tales – maybe in good faith, but unrealistic – of those who only know these things through the Internet. Today you are just one Google search away from finding numerous opportunities to meet like-minded enthusiasts in any city: happy hours, parties, courses, conferences and more. And you always have my books: only a few are available in English too, but you can download their free previews to get an idea of what they look like. After all, I write them specifically to help the readers avoid the countless misadventures that often happen along this kind of explorations.

  1. What is the Italian BDSM scene like, and what could be better about it in your opinion?

Unfortunately, it is really patchy, in more senses than one. Besides a very varied quality between different cities and groups, often it is still driven by the narcissism of (both male and female) characters who are only looking to build an alternative identity for themselves in order to compensate a subpar original one – or looking for fresh meat to have fun with. Which is a very noble intent, no questions about that, but it manifests as a thousand tiny groups fighting with each other over nothing at all, preventing the creation of a true unified community.

The result is that everybody is always ready to demand and profit from the many little efforts made by good-willed enthusiasts, but next to nobody is then open to contributing – not even just by keeping quiet instead of trying to destroy it all. If we just could get over this attitude, which is sadly an innate Italian trait, we’d have every quality needed to prevail over fabled scenes like the German or the London ones.
Having said this, if you make a careful selection you can find true pockets of world-class excellence in Italy too. In the physical world, I mean, since the online one is a veritable disaster of incompetence and lost opportunities.

  1. Talk about your Sadistique party, and tell us how did it begin and why we should participate.

Sadistique is a monthly BDSM event that began thirteen years ago, so we are now close to its 150th edition. It is held in Milan, Italy, in a themed club and it is a sort of institution for the Italian kinksters. Most participants of course come to play with furniture, conditions and partners they hardly have at home, but they can also just socialize at the bar or chat with old and new friends.

Every month the party also offers a short workshop on a different aspect of extreme eroticism, a kinky art exhibition and a photo set where you can have your portrait taken by specialized professionals. The entry ticket is definitely affordable, but to attend you are required to follow a proper dress code, and single men undergo a stricter selection at the door in order to avoid the dreaded “men’s club effect”.

Sadistique was created by two BDSM lifestylers who hated having to travel abroad to find good play parties. In the beginning it was a crazy gamble: just think that it is still held on a Sunday afternoon, an odd time that was the only available slot at the venue when we started it. Over the years however it grew and got better and better, and today it is a recognized mainstay not only for Italy but in the European scene as well.
The reason to participate can be only one: the enthusiasm of living an extraordinary experience. If you look at the pictures and contents of the various editions, such enthusiasm will probably become irresistible for you too.

  1. What are the strongest emotions for those into BDSM?

I recently wrote something about that. Giving an answer valid for everyone is impossible, but at the end of the day I believe that the deepest meaning of these experiences is having the opportunity to explore (ourselves, our sensations, emotions, etc.) at the highest levels, without prejudices or moralism, but also in a highly safe context.

Sometimes feeling the edge can be experiencing an ordeal of extreme suffering from which you come out stronger and prouder; sometimes it can be recognizing in your partner’s gaze a connection and empathy never felt before. Simply allowing oneself to play with such uncommon forms of pleasure can be a wonderful deliverance from the yoke of the mundane in itself.

  1. Please explain the foundations of these games: consent, negotiation and safeword – and why they are vitally important.

In just a few phrases? Maybe I’d better invite you to the workshop I will run on these topics on April 8th, right at Sadistique… or at the least to have a look at the articles I have written on the subject. In a nutshell, however, these three pillars of BDSM have two very important functions.

The first is to trace a clear boundary within which you can do anything, but safely – both phisically and emotionally. The second aspect is that they “force” people to automatically and pleasantly develop empathy and respect toward their partners, and this is the foundation of any type of relationship.
In this seriously critical era for the relations between people and between genders, adopting such principles would be a great solution for those into the most traditional sexuality as well.

  1. What would you say to those believing that BDSM is for crazy people?

I’d say I pity them somewhat, because they evidently let prejudices drive them, and they never sought information about the reality of extreme eroticism. If they had, they’d know that serious BDSM people are so obsessed with preventing and avoiding risk that they sometimes look as anxious as those grandmas who insist you overdress not to catch a cold.

The problem is not having to forcibly love a type of eroticism that, clearly, is not for everyone. The real issue is not having developed a critical approach toward the world itself – and the result is ending up with people like Trump and religious fundamentalists masked as politicians.

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