When I was in high school, I found religion.
It was, perhaps, the most mundane, mild-mannered religion possible – Presbyterianism. My family had never been religious at all. The most we ever did was set up a creche at Christmas and say grace at holiday dinners. I never went to Sunday school and was never taken to church by my family. As I figured out later, this was due to my grandmother’s history. She had been Episcopalian, and when she divorced her alcoholic, violently abusive husband in the 60s, the church was not happy about it.
So, why the sudden interest in Jesus? Simple. There was a boy. I was 15, and he was the charismatic hotshot in speech and debate class. And he went to church. As it turned out, the same church as a friend of mine. So, off I went to youth group.
I never did get anywhere with the boy, but I did get religion. I had a conversion experience and everything. I was hooked by the hope, faith and charity. Over time, my zeal faded, but I retain a fondness for the J-man. I lean more towards Unitarian Universalism these days, being the intellectual elite that I am.
I really liked the high school church youth group. We did charity work, and we sang songs, and we had fun together.
Sometimes, we played a game called Evangelism. If you’ve ever played Sharks and Minnows, or something similiar, you know the premise. Everyone stands on one side of the field and runs across, while the “shark”, or in this case, the evangelist, stands in the middle. In Sharks and Minnows you get people by tagging them. In Evangelism, you pick them up off the ground and say, “Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you, Jesus loves you!”
The guys ususally took this as an opportunity to get in full-on wrestling matches, while the girls would feign outrage and put their hands up. “Oh no! Don’t pick me up!”
Well, most of the girls. My friend and I opted instead for wrestling. When someone tried to pick us up, we struggled and resisted. We scraped and clawed, and did everything short of throwing punches.
I didn’t find it arousing, exactly, but I can’t say it wasn’t a visceral thrill. Being forcibly picked up for Jesus was the closest thing I had to rough sex, and I liked it.
I’ve never really been able to replicate the all-out, intense experience of force and resistance of Evangelism. That kind of suspension of disbelief in BDSM is hard to come by. No one wants to do injury. And we rarely play in a field or on a gym floor, where we could have the luxury of space and a soft landing underneath. In a dungeon or large play party, it can be really disruptive to others.
Playing at being forced to do things we want to do is a central theme in kink, but the raw physical expression of that dynamic is rare. I didn’t just want the boys to pick me up. I wanted them to subdue me. I still like that idea. I don’t know if I could physically subdue someone else, but then, maybe that’s why we don’t do it that ofen. There are other ways of suspending the reality and living in the fantasy, if only for a little while.