Burnal Equinox

March 5th marks the 1/2 way point of the year where we are officially at the furthest point from the night the man burns. It is the halfway point before the children return home.

If you have not been to a Burning Man event you may not be able to appreciate the life altering experience of WHAT it is. In theory, you do not have to have gone to Burning Man to be called a Burner. I think this is something that is either in you or not. But, having gone is something every single person in our community should experience.

This is like… well, I am a Veteran having served in the military. When I go to the V.A. or meet another Veteran from any generation, there is a tie between us. Being part of this community produces the same tie – I think.

So… 6 months from now I will be at Burning Man. Makes my heart smile.

Burner Relationships

In previous visits to the playa many of my lucky fellow burners have had the pleasure of playa-romances. Some are famous and some are discreet, but for the lucky ones who have romance that extend beyond the Black Rock it’s a magic unlike any other.

Other people I know, myself included, have become so smitten with the idea of a burner-lover/best-friend/etceteras have found networks to extend the search into the Mundane World. Sites like Burning-Singles.Com as well as various networks on Tribe.Net wantonly draw in people seeking other burners to partner with.

The sometimes ambiguous sexuality of many burners can either leave the field wide open or reduce the field for the more picky seeker of love.

Gender Identity

Is the idea of a Burner partner realistic or more along the lines of the elusive unicorn? Think about Burner men, of darn near any orientation, there is a fantasy life of glitter and fairy wings in their heads that is sometimes hard to attach to. Even when making their transition to the world outside of the Black Rock many do not easily re-attach. While others merge quickly and invisibly into landscape; are they still a desired partner if they assimilate well into the default world?

Burner GirlsAnd Burner women? There is an uncommon strength and independence in a lot of women, noted by this author, at Burning Man. But there is a surprisingly high number of women who are self objectifying or responsive to male objectification; also noted by in a previous article from last year. Both these extremes play out and attract different potential partners for various reasons. However, the Burner female coming back to the default world seemingly exists between these realms of reality with more ease that their male counterparts.

These roles that unfold on playa versus the default world somehow even out on some levels, which is where burning-singles.com, Tribe.Net and ePlaya play out for the other 52 weeks of the year.

There are no statistics on the success of Burner relationships or one psychology defining the success or failure. However, in observation many Burner romances are sustained within the community. Yet, as the relationships age, it seems almost invariable that one partner will turn their back on Burning Man and move on. How they come to terms with it will also determine the survival of the relationship.

In a few cases, one partner decided they were completely done with Burning Man but allows and supports the other to continue that relationship on their own. It happens.

Open Relationships

The issue of promiscuity and sexual exploration have been associated with the culture among other indulgences. What I am taken by are the way some couples have accepted reduced boundaries thinking that would create more freedom in the infrastructure of the relationship.

Lately I noted a lot of couples splitting up right before and after the most recent Burn. In many of these cases, the perception of having a flirtatious and open a relationship was presented to an interested party. When it was acted upon the result blew up in their faces. Seems like it is titillating to consider playing outside or within the relationship, but when it is acted upon without caution it ends up destroying the trust in the relationship.

In spite of a loosely set mutual agreement, or even a spoken understanding, playing with the bonds of the archetype relationship often result in disaster. Going into a relationship leaving the door open for a potential additional partner stretches the bonds and sanctity of the relationship leaving insecurity and doubt in potential collision of individual ideals.

One of the more famous camps at Burning Man deals with these issues head on in an educational series; Poly Paradise. They offer a great series of classes for couple or individuals exploring a Poly lifestyle.

Conclusion

Whatever the makeup of your relationships and the romance that ensues from it, being smart about advancing it is key. Burner men and women are often gregarious and experimental, but we are all programmed with ideals and expectations. Often people like us are open to exploring with those limits or tolerances. Men and women of this ilk can offer a lot, but stability? Before jumping into the unknown or opening a door to something that can unsettle what you already have get an education. Do not go into it blindly.

That minute of that the idea of going poly or experimenting with an alternative relationship might not really be the solution to the success of the partnership. Do some research.

Buis. Side of Burning Man

So, I was posting the new page Decompression Digest today when I realized that just recently I remember reading an article in The Examiner how Burning Man, LLC sued someone for using the word “decompression” in their advertising. I always hear haw fervently BMorg protected their name, been warned a few times be people who were excessively nervous, but never really saw much enforcement before.

Larry Harvey and Marian Goodell - The Business Side of Burning ManThis writer definitely believes in protecting the brand and the principles of an organization like this, which is why following Burning Man, LLC letter about coyright that went out to the general community I wrote the BM legal office describing both web sites managed by StudioSK (me) because of the use of the name “burner” in both titles (LVBurners.Com and GayBurners.Com). Each site contains a disclaimer about how this site is not a product of Burning Man, LLC or has any affiliation.

I find when writing anything on these site, legal words roll through my head, even before the idea of protecting the brand; which is a very close second.

It is what it is. I am writing this because when I started the previously mentioned page my mind reflected back to that article and how many times I have to carefully pluck my words to honor the unwritten contract I have with Burning Man. (pause) Wait, I guess I signed an agreement last time I went to Burning Man.

Wait, when I registered on ePlaya.

Er, uhm, my paperwork for my 2010 art project for Burning Man, LLC.

Basically, it’s everywhere. They are a corporation and at the same time is promoting the principle of Radical Self-Expression. If I were to ever become a Regional the contract would become official and binding on a new level, but I still honor all that.

This article is not a smooch the the legal ass of Burning Man, LLC and it’s registered Trademarks (sorry Dan), but something I felt like writing because of the wheels turning in my head with each of these creations. I have to make sure I do not cross the line. Anyone does, when it comes to playing with other peoples business.

Believe it or not, and only a few people know this, I actually was told by Marian Goodell in a very pleasant conversation that one of my previous posts really came close or stood on top of that line. Provocative was not a word I would use on that article from last year, but Marian said is was not as benign as I felt it was; especially since it dealt with a sensitive issue in the BM world.

The plus side is, some people at BMorg got to know me a little. The drawback… I can’t think of one. Hopefully the drawback won’t be people at BMorg getting to know me better because I would jump into that pool in a heart beat.

Bottom line is that myself and anyone posting on my sites, or anyone on their endeavors, have to be careful about the things we are representing. It leads us to respecting the bigger picture as well. So when I go into a long circle to get to a point sometimes with carefully worded phrases please understand.   🙂

Read more on the Business Side of Burning Man on LaughingSquid.Com

Playa Sexuality

Sexuality and Burning Man… people outside of BM have often described BM as a place where people to get all fucked up and run around naked. Essentially, that wraps Burning Man up in a nice neat cloth for them.

Stiffy LubeMy arrival to Burning Man for my 2009 virgin year came with a warning from OhTony: “If you go to the playa expecting to get laid you will not”… of which I took to heart as well as working on eliminating any other expectation as noted in one of my recent blogs.

Sex, in a way, is another form of self expression. Some people express themselves badly, some awkwardly, and some rather indulgently. There are plenty of camps that will let you play out your fantasies even if it is something you (or your straight buddy) might only do during these 8 days. According to a Ranger I know he is surprised whom he sees enjoying themselves at the Downlow Club in the shadows.

People come to Burning Man playing out their fantasies and upon returning to the default world assume their Clark Kent identities. It can’t be all spandex and light wire, huh?

Orgy camps are everywhere and even in our own little communities listed right on Gay Burners there are some playful huts to engage in those indulgences.

When you think of playa sexuality:

  • I am the same on playa as I am in the default world. (50%, 5 Votes)
  • I swing other ways while on playa and get my freak on in the default world. (20%, 2 Votes)
  • I am a hedonist, so what's the point? (20%, 2 Votes)
  • I explore the fruits the playa offers, but refrain in the default world. (10%, 1 Votes)
  • I am not there for indulgence. (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 10


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Sexuality is even taught! Camp Beaverton has a whole series of classes about varying sexuality and their own guru Dr. Reid (www.reidaboutsex.com) and others teaching the delights of strap-ons and other techniques.

Comfort & Joy TentThe hedonistic part of Burning Man is an extension of people expressing themselves and with this liberation comes other unbridled behaviors that occasionally come dripping with pheromones. But, do not let that be your motivation for coming to the playa, because the magic of this desert will smack your dick right into the dirt. OhTony said it best and it is advice well taken. Go to Burning Man for the experience and leave the expectations with your dirt angels.

One camp I ventured to with a “straight” couple I met had a large white tent actually marked “orgy” and there was a beautiful young man standing outside who bid us welcome. He assessed our dynamic quickly – 2 dudes and a chick – assuming that we were seeking carnal pleasures, which was inaccurate. We were told we were all welcome irregardless of orientation to come play. It was 1pm and we were really looking for a steam bath we heard about.

The discovery of this orgy tent between 6:00 and 7:00 on A was a footnote placed in the back of our heads, but later my 2 ‘hetero’ camp-mates went back to find the same tent and said they could not find it. Was it a mirage?

Regarding our own camps, I heard a lot about “Jiffy Lube” [now called Stiffy Lube] and made that my first stop there late one night. It was a tent discreetly placed almost behind Comfort & Joy. Although I like a good play-time, the vibe and presence was dark and carnal in a way that was not my cup of tea. Yet, it looked like it could be a fun place for quick and discreet fun. Alas, I made the decision to go to Comfort & Joy for another flavor of entertainment.

Charming and energetic performers took the stage on one and of the large tent while they attracted an audience, the opposite site of this tent was lined with air-mattresses and on them people paying varying degrees of attention to the show. Between shows the action intensified. It was so comfortable in that camp and the entertainment varied enough where it was not all about sex, but almost a microcosm of the gay Burning Man experience unto itself.

It’s not all about indulgence, sex and drag performers…. no. Camp Stella is a dry and sober experience that I missed in 2009 but look forward to spending time at this year. Yes, I rolled my balls off last year, but I plan on coming a little more sober this year for my own reasons. Maybe Stella will be the people to share that with?

So, sex at Burning Man is plentiful and there is no reason to go looking for it because it will find you if it is meant to be. Breathe in the experience like playa dust and embrace anything that comes your way. There is more than sex out there, there is more than getting high, but even with all those things keep your mind and hearts open and participate in as much as you can.

Gay Male Identity@ Burning Man

Having spent my virgin year at Burning Man in 2009, I went as a blank slate. Although I had almost a year in the Burner culture in Vegas, experiencing the people there was almost culture shock. In my personal burner blog, I wrote a trip report detailing a lot of observations. I noted there was a lot of differences in the area of how women were treated and sexual identity.

Burning Man is a sexually charged place. It is as if for every ten camps there is one related specific for sex. Orgy camps abound, there is a wide use of drugs, and people dress in outlandish costumes bordering on silly. Or… is this the 70’s sexual revolution when gays were finally telling the world they were busting out of those closet.

While attending, I observed and watched as many people as possible. In spite of the “radical inclusion” principle in Burning Man and “radical self-expression” I found many straight men deeply insecure in their own sexuality. Incidentally, there was a lot of objectifying of women by men or by themselves in order to get attention.

The costumes and the unleashed behavior of the heterosexuals and repressed majority of the default world represented in the sex, drugs, and the party-hearty were the things WE queers already went through in the 70’s in mass; what many gay youth do to rebel already. We have lived this.

Frankly, I found the queers of Burning Man living closer to a default comfortable existence while the heteros acted out under the guise of being “creative” while being simply ridiculous.

Am I being too hard in my assertion? Is it fair? What matters is that the arch-type has shifted. I see gay people comfortable with their identities, selves, image while the heterosexuals are scrambling in insecurities with identity and sexuality.

This was a blanket analysis while not defining all heterosexual men. There were some major differences in the men I met out there and the expression of who they were. Preconceived notions were turned upside-down.

  • There were a lot of men with long, beautiful dreads and skinny, malnourished bodies that I find particularly sexy in my own sick world. They represented the conceptual hippie man. (Side Note: Fucking Hot!) Yet, ironically these men I expected to find liberal attitudes, but what I discovered was almost consistent inner conflicts with their own sexuality; or mine as it were if I was the one flirting with them.
  • There were strong male personalities, often easily defined as the narcissist, or egocentric male who were so indomitable in their pursuit of anything there was no concept of failure. They were handsome men strong in their sexual identity and confident without the time or need to entertain my flirtations. If they did, it was  out of kindness but were quickly excusing themselves for their pursuits of the female.
  • The average man anchored in the world was a grounded and humbled soul, yet few and far in between. He took flirtations with a smile as if entertained and charmed with them. His sexuality was not in question, but nor was it a driving force in his life.

Not to get lost in what this article is about… it is focusing on the male sexuality of Burning Man reflecting the Gay Male. While the feminine spirit is strong and a force in Burning Man that is formidable, my perception is that it was lost in the glare of the overwhelming amount of women objectifying themselves.

Through all this interaction, the gay people blurred into the background almost as the heterosexual couples blur into the background of the default world. They were not trying to make a statement with regards to their orientation or sexuality while the counterparts were screaming it from the trees (not literally).

When two young men walked through center camp holding hands I just watched them for a little while and was touched by their comfort in their world, with each other, as a unit. Meanwhile, a naked man walked by with four or five fake penises next to his own; all of them looking real and really confusing onlookers. An older man strolled through with brightly colored latex chaps and a g-string barley concealed under a thin layer of tutu.

Gays in the Burner World… well this whole thing came from San Francisco 25 or so years ago. Though I only met one of the founders of that age, I see in this a distinctly heterosexual white male celebration of self exploration. The gays did that, doing that on another vibration, but left feeling like the ones looking back waiting for them to catch up. Them.

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