If I weren’t a minister, I would be a sex worker. I believe it’s the sacred way in which sex can slice through the bullshit and get to the core of one’s vulnerability, openness, compassion and communication, if you’re doing it right. When I am intimate in the erotic, the boundaries of i and thou blur and in that space, there is God. My chest rising with soft touch and craving connection and play… the near-electric energetic pull from the other drawing my hands across soft skin and into places of exposure.
Not just any sex work, either. My kind of play is in realms of Dominance and submission, bondage, edge play, and calling the people with whom I might connect into a lightly scripted dynamic of delightful servitude. The growth in the way in which one can rise to my expectations, push past their own comfort levels into new experiences and a clearer picture of the human they have been created to be is divine.
Truth is, in claiming my Femme Dom identity, I am a better pastor. Having the space where I fully create and maintain the scene to my specifications, setting crystal clear boundaries with the people with whom I play enables my growth in ministry as well. So much of what I do in church I have no control over– the internal politics of power, the crisis of the old in becoming aware of the new, the fact that it can take years or even decades to move forward– that space where I am in charge gifts me with more patience and understanding at work.
Because sex is so tender for us humans, I am practiced at voicing boundaries and helping others find their own. I MUST know what will trigger my partners, I MUST know where their hard limits lie, and what can be pushed and what absolutely can not. I MUST know where bodies are sore and hurting and in need of a delicate touch. Further, where there is play, the boundaries of emotion weave in and out. I’ve found myself echoing pastoral language in conversations with partners often: “I can be your Mistress, but I am not your primary partner,” or, “I’m not your therapist, your parent, or your partner, and I don’t want to be,” or even, “My role here is to push you into growth: to build you up (granted, with unconventional tools) and not break you down, and sometimes that hurts…”
In risk-aware consensual settings, I play with the emotions of stigma: anger, fear, pain; and the erotic, the sensual, the transformative power of intense body play. I can fall into a prayerful space of the buzz of energy between partners and the deep places that we go, together, followed by the gentle pulling back up into the here and now, the safe space where there is care and love and cuddles.
Don’t get me wrong, the two do NOT mix in my church. There are all sorts of sticky boundary things (and I don’t mean the fun ones) around sex in general that I’m not ready to delve into with the same passion I might my lover’s arms. In practice, and from the pulpit, I am your friendly church-down-the-street preacher; comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, performing funerals and services, baptisms and serving communion, drawing visions with church leadership and taking people on mission trips to help them see God in community spaces. I visit people’s homes and listen to their stories, hearing their heavy emotion and offering it in turn to the divine. I am very, very careful with my boundaries, as clergy must be in any situation.
I just get all sorts of internally gleeful when we sing things like, “Blest Be The Ties that Bind…” and my internal prayer is so, so much more.