Sex and love around the world, or: they do this everywhere!

If you have always wanted to see a CNN reporter visit a shibari class, as well as a nudist club and a professional Dominatrix, I have got the show for you. In Christiane Amanpour’s Sex and Love Around the World, she visits six different cities to explore.. Well, yes. Sex and Love. And as the fourth episode is about Berlin, the kink-capital of Europe, of course it is that episode I would like to recommend you kinksters watch.

Sex and Love and Japanese bondage

This episode starts in a shibari class, of which Christiane narrates:

I was expecting leather and chains and dim basements. Not sunlight and yoga pants.

Christiane Amanpour

But sunlight and yoga pants is what she got. The teacher explains to her that there are different reasons to engage in rope bondage. Shibari can be about aesthetics, it can be therapeutic (letting go of or taking control) or kinky. Consequently, in shibari it is possible to have different levels of experience, from suspension that feels like swinging in a hammock to stretching beyond your limits. This class surprised her because of the intimacy and care, making this one of the most positive mainstream representations of bondage I have seen yet.

Sex and Love: Berlin

Sex and professional Dominatrices

In contrast, Christiane spends less time with the professional dominatrices. The stories these women tell is a familiar one: their clients are mostly men in their forties who are married and expected to lead in every part of their lives. Therefore, they visit the dominatrices for release from this pressure. Sadly, the positivity that was part of the bondage-section is absent in this part. We do not see Christiane herself engage with the Dominatrix who is interviewed. Instead, there are shots of men on their knees and a lot of high heels walking around.

Here, this show falls back into the trap of depersonalized and cold mainstream representations, especially when Christiane says that these are perfect examples of sex that is completely disconnected from love. Which is true if you talk about conventional coupled-for-life-love. But it completely disregards the intimacy that is possible between a dominatrix and her client. The one positive thing to take away from this is the dominatrix’ message for women who want to enhance their love life:

Get undressed. Learn from us. put your latex panties on. For women it will help their sex lives and make the sexuality more pleasant for them.

BDSM in India

If this episode gets you hooked, then you should check out the third episode on Delhi as well. Not only does it talk about dating culture; caste and relgious divides; and the Indian transgenders; Christiane visits a BDSM community. Though they ask to remain anonymous, they show great courage in discussing their practices and relationships in this setting. Placing much emphasis on consent, BDSM practices are almost presented as a medicine for Indian harrassment culture. The people in this community talk about safewords; care; open relationships; and fear of discrimination. Which makes it feel like any more Western BDSM community that I’m familiar with. This changes when they address the Kamasutra, tying into the rich and ancient culture filled with depiction of erotic experiences in religious texts.

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