Dear Matisse: A beloved friend with decades of BDSM experience wants to crucify me at Burning Man—no nails and a tiny footrest. She'd be subjecting me to various torments prior to the crucifixion. I'm in great physical shape, tan, and I've got close to 40 years of experience as an extreme masochist. I just want to be certain we have all the bases covered, safety-wise. How dangerous would it be for me to be naked and barefoot? Also, I'd like to fast for this. Does that seem reasonable?

Oh, the wacky Burning Man people. Every year, I get more e-mails like this—BM must be becoming kinky-performance-art heaven.

Is it reasonable? Not particularly. I'm not saying you can't do something like this, you understand. I myself have done what I'll call a light crucifixion. I didn't actually hang the man up, but I made him drag a big, heavy cross around, did the crown of thorns and the scourging, and pierced his side. However, I couldn't find a suitable cave to serve as a tomb, so I had to buy a coffin instead. And let me tell you, people look at you funny when you try to buy a coffin "to go."

I'm in favor of including religious themes in kink, but yes, let's talk safety. No, you shouldn't fast, and no recreational drugs, either. I think artfully bloodied robes would be the best idea, but failing that, you should at least be wearing tons of high-SPF sunblock. The Burning Man FAQ specifically recommends you not go barefoot. Putting nails through someone's hands is a bad idea, too, so I'm glad we're in agreement on that.

As charming as it sounds, though, I think you should stop short of actually getting fastened to your cross, even with its tiny footrest. In researching my own scene, I learned that one possible cause of death in a real crucifixion is lack of oxygen—something called positional asphyxia. Standing with your arms extended, with even some of your weight hanging from them, is a very stressful position. The torments traditionally leading up to this main event are exhausting, and the victim gradually loses the strength to lift up his chest and fill his lungs. The pain, the sun, the people, the intensity of the experience—all of this may impact your oxygen intake more suddenly than either you or your top expect. And once someone's breathing gets wonky, there's a lot of bad stuff that can happen.

There's also something called suspension trauma, which happens to rock climbers and window washers. Briefly, it means that if you stay upright for very long without using your leg muscles, blood pools in your legs. If you then faint, but are still held upright, it can be fatal within 15 minutes.

So I'd consider those safety bases uncovered. My suggestion: Build a cross and carry it, letting your top beat you from place to place. And when it gets to be too much, entreat passersby to carry it for a while. It'll be Biblically accurate and less likely to result in a genuine execution.

Kink Calendar



In honor of the Fourth of July, a two-day party to celebrate independence from monogamy, with dinner and live music. Bring your sparkler and stay all weekend. Go to or e-mail for info and reservations, orientation required for all guests and new members.



Shop from local artists and merchants of all things pervy, with live demonstrations throughout the day. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746,, noon—6 pm, $1 to shop only, $15 to shop and attend all demos, adult ID required.


This amazing event at the stylish W Hotel will begin with food and drinks and close out with an exciting Texas Hold 'Em (Down) tournament. Scheduled to attend: current and former Seahawks players, Greg Lewis of the Denver Broncos, Orlando Huff of the Arizona Cardinals, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and Death Cab for Cutie. The smart money's on the football players. W Hotel, 1112 Fourth Ave, 274-5873, $100, 6:30—11 pm.


The Olympians are a gay men's nudist social club that meets at a private Snoqualmie location. Notice: This is not a "clothing optional" event—get naked or stay home. For location go to or e-mail, 1—7 pm, $5.



A mellow, social lounge atmosphere for enthusiasts of the visual and sensual aesthetics of bondage, whether by leather restraints, mummification in plastic wrap, or elaborate suspension in hemp rope. Wet Spot, 1602 15th Ave W, Building E, 270-9746,, 6 pm—midnight, $10, membership required.



A friendly discussion group for women of all orientations, the WWC meets monthly to answer questions and provide resources for women new to the Seattle BDSM/fetish community. Hot Dish, 2255 NE 65th St,, 7—9 pm, $3 suggested donation.