|the deviants' dictionary Briefing Updated 15 June 1997|
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The Roman method is devised to cause a slow, painful and spectacular death over a number of days. The main cause of death is suffocation -- the weight of the body on the outstretched arms puts pressure across the chest, making it hard work to expand the lungs under the ribcage, and eventually the victim becomes too exhausted to breathe. This can be achieved simply by fastening the victim to the cross (more likely a T-shaped piece than the crossed horizontal and vertical bars familiar from Christian symbolism) with ropes. Nailing the victim seems to add an extra barbaric touch, but in fact nailed victims would have died more quickly, the end hastened by blood loss.
If victims were nailed, it would certainly not be in the position widely depicted in Christian art. Nails through the palms would be too fragile and would tear off long before death occurred: instead the spikes would be driven through in a more secure position between the radius and ulna just below the wrist. Legs would not be crossed and nailed together at the front but instead nailed to the sides, again above the ankles in an equivalent position between two bones.
Simply roping the victim to the cross in a similar position would place the chest in a similar position and also eventually cause death, but even more slowly and agonisingly than the nailing method. The gay SM author Jason Klein died as the result of a solo crucifixion scene: perhaps a deliberate suicide or perhaps an experiment gone wrong.
However, by playing with a responsible partner this method does allow for the possibility of staging a non-fatal scene, by taking the victim down before the position becomes dangerous. It is also sometimes enough symbolically to fix a bottom to a cross with their feet firmly and safely on the ground. The powerful imagery is often enough.
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by David Stein
1. Forget about it if you're overweight and don't have excellent stamina. Even if it's not fatal, crucifying an out-of-shape chub for even a couple of minutes could easily result in severe muscle strains and even torn ligaments. And that suggests that even with a fit subject, it's a good idea to read up in advance on muscle strains, sprains, and related mishaps and to have appropriate first-aid gear handy (ice packs, heating pad, bandages, etc.).
2. Use ropes or straps, of course, instead of nails, and do not crucify someone without support for the feet; not even the Romans did that -- the end would come too quickly. It's less authentic, but I would provide some support at the elbows and shoulders as well.
3. Safest and easiest is to attach the subject to the cross flat on the floor and then hoist it into position. In any case, don't overdo and raise them too high, or you may not be able to get them down in a hurry when necessary. As far as the bottom's sensations are concerned, raising the feet an inch or two off the floor is as good as a mile. So if you don't have a suitable hoist, make the foot support broad enough so s/he can balance on it while you're fastening the arms. Or give them something wide to stand on that you can pull away later and quickly replace with a narrow perch.
4. Use quick-release knots or panic snaps at weight-bearing points. Always tie the feet last and release them first so the bottom can stand on his or her own while you're undoing the arms.
5. Start slow, with just a few minutes in full suspension. Jason Klein wrote that he found the position erotic for about two seconds, and then it hurt like hell and he wanted down. This is a very intense scene! Don't even think about crucifying someone and leaving them alone!
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A while back Rusty had confided to Sub4 that she wanted to be the bottom in a crucifixion scene. Sub4 and I immediately started thinking, discussing, planning, plotting. The first obstacle was which venue to use -- this was quickly solved when we decided to all go to the Labrys party at the Philadelphia Bondage Club space. This space is very well maintained by a group of gay men that once a month give it up to women. Sub4 and I made many plans back and forth discussing how the scene should be organized, what accessories were needed, and I was given some remedial tutoring on the religious aspects (hey! I'm a Jew -- what do I know about crucifixion?).
We got to the space and attired Rusty in a black loincloth and made her wait in the outer social area while we readied our area in the playspace. Sub4 wore a red gown (very Mary Magdalene) and I donned a cape and a hood and wide belt and boots all in black. I went forth and silently dragged Rusty to the play area. I laid her on a table and while I dripped hot wax onto her, Sub4 read some real sick religious words, her own 'Purification Prose'. Rusty writhed in pain. I scraped the wax off her body with a knife.
I then led her to the cross, which we had surrounded with 10 candles. I used rope to secure her bare wrists to the cross post. I crossed her ankles and tied them to the post. Sub4 added a 'crown of thorns' and some theatrical blood that dripped from her temples and her hands and feet and her 'gash' in her torso. She hung there looking very much like all the pictures of Christ that we have seen. I then added a modern touch and started using temporary needles on her chest. She shook from fear (never having been pierced before), and she shook from some of the things I told her about her own personal shame. I stopped at 3 needles as that was heavy enough for her. This was a perfect number as there was one for each: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
We removed the needles and took her down after a while. We led her to a whipping post at the other end of the room and used the same rope to tie her hands to that. She was then blindfolded. I then prepared to flog her as Sub4 cried out and begged for me to have mercy on Rusty. I ignored her. She then scrambled to read some more sick stuff from some religious book that K had lent to us while I flogged, and then whipped, Rusty until she collapsed.
We took her down and laid her out on a blanket and bathed her with warm water removing all the 'blood'. Sub4 changed into a white gown and I changed into a big oversized shirt with a big gold-sequined star that said in gold letters 'Behold Your Master'. We put Rusty in a white hooded robe and took her blindfold off. She was shocked that we were all in white. The lighting with all the candles was extremely eerie -- with us in white and the Gregorian Chants playing in the background, it seemed very spiritual. We then shared a rice cake as the body of Christ and drank from a pewter chalice as the blood of Christ and hugged as three very loving playpartners.
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