The Devious and Divine: Sacred Sadism talks Eco-Fetishism and BDSM

Like many people, places, and things I find nowadays, I stumbled upon Sacred Sadism through Instagram. Scrolling through my explore page, I was confronted with an image of a couple posed with natural objects dressed in latex and leaves — I was immediately drawn to the post.

Sacred Sadism is a ecosexual line of impact play tools run by the creative couple Genevieve Belleveau and Themba Alleyne in California, which they launched in February of this year. The line is not only visually beautiful, but is hoping to introduce sex education, spirituality, and ecosexuality as a means of practicing BDSM.

Eco-sexuality, which started in the early 2000s, has been on the rise over the last few years, and has various definitions depending on who you talk to. Some eco-sex people believe that it means using sustainable sex products, while others see it as a sexual identity and want to include an “E” on to the end of LGBTQ. For Genevieve and Themba, it’s about eco-fetishism and feeling a spiritual and pleasurable connection to the Earth.

I talked to the couple via a phone call where we chatted about their future with Sacred Sadism, domination and submission in nature, and sparking a conversation of consent in BDSM.

Let’s begin with an explanation of eco-sexuality, and what it means to you. I did a little bit of research on my own because I wasn’t familiar with the term. I realized that it ranges from a queer identity to people physically having an orgasmic experience with nature.

Genevieve: Absolutely. Eco-sexuality is a term that I gravitated towards when I was planning this line and trying to figure out who this is going to appeal to, who is going to feel drawn to this, and what about this term am I drawn to. Ecosexuality can be the eco-friendly definition, but that’s not exactly what it means for our line and our practice. Eco-sexuality can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. For us, we are using it as a departure point to begin talking about BDSM and the principles of BDSM.

I personally grew up in the woods and have a really deep connection to nature. Nature and sensuality are very closely intertwined for me. That’s why I gravitated towards that aspect of eco-sexuality.

Themba: Yeah, in a simple definition, it’s attaching an eroticism to nature. For the line, we’re specifically going for this connection to nature and BDSM. A word we use a lot is “eco-fetishsm.”

Genevieve: Yeah, we have kind of considered ourselves an offshoot of the eco-sexuality movement. We are a little bit less of the idea that the Earth is making love to you—we love everything that’s going on in that movement. But for us, we are trying to shift the dialogue around using nature as a departure point to learning about BDSM. Because BDSM is based on these principles of domination, submission, bondage, discipline, etc. We are trying to draw a distinction between our relationship with nature—which includes our relationship with other human beings, animals, plants, whatever—and look at those actions as domination and submission. BDSM is a way to unpack and feel really free to explore those ideas within consenting BDSM play.

Could you talk about how your line is different from traditional impact play shops?

Genevieve: The whole reason I wanted to start the line was because I was really interested in BDSM but really didn’t gravitate to the aesthetic personally. I was finding myself caught in this erotic relationship with nature when I moved to Los Angeles. I was touching a lot of plants and feeling this closeness and affinity for plants.

And when did you start the line?

Genevieve: We launched on February 14th on Galenalia. We aren’t calling it Valentine’s Day, it’s a pagan holiday. I’ve been brewing and playing with the idea for the past four years. I met Themba, he was working with wood and already playing with making sex toys. We got married and started this project together because of our shared passion of nature and BDSM.

Are all of the products sold online? How can people purchase a piece?

Themba: Yeah, for the most part they are all sold online either through our Instagram or through our website. We have also been working with people to create custom pieces. We’ll do a dialogue with people about exactly that they want. We’ve been thinking about doing some consignment with some local BDSM-themed stores.

Genevieve: We have a list of stores. We don’t want to mass produce. Themba hand makes every handle, which is extremely labor intensive. It’s more enjoyable when Themba can play with the wood, listen to the wood, and make the piece that he wants to make. Or people can contact us and say, “Hey, I want a piece that looks like this and feels like this,” and then we can make custom-designs from there.

Themba: Yeah, we’re still trying to stress that these are functional art objects. Each one is unique and they are all very special and dear to us. It’s something you can hang on your wall and no one would know what it was. But it’s also very much functional as well.

Genevieve: That’s part of the ethos of the line, too. People who are embarrassed or in the closet about their kinky desires can just literally put it out on a coffee table. People can talk about it if they want, or it can just be a beautiful art object. But we do hope that it will open up the conversation and make people feel less closeted about their kink. Because I do think kink is a beautiful thing that should be out there.

Do you work at a particular space?

Genevieve: We work out of our home in Los Angeles. We have a big yard where Themba does the carving. Our house has kind of become a studio. There are little clusters of places where we are making things.

What are the products made of?

Genevieve: They are plant reproductions that we’ve sourced from local stores in Los Angeles. We try to get really high quality ones that are made of rubber, silicone, plastic, or a rubber plastic mix. They will last a long time. We always stress test them and make sure that they leaves, or plants, will hold up to really intense impact. We hope to eventually get our own silicone casting studio so that we can make own plants. But that’s a whole other bag of chips we have to get around to.

Themba: We also make products with a copper handle. It’s another material that we work with.

You launched not that long ago but do you have any thoughts on where you want Sacred Sadism to go in the future?

Both: Yeah!

Themba: Moving into an education space is something that we have talked about and getting the message of why we think BDSM and kink is so important out to people. Teaching them on how to play with actual plants is something that we are very excited about doing.

Genevieve: In a way this project is a catalyst for us to educate and speak to people. We’re both performers—that’s our background—and artists. Being able to get in front of people and actually being able to have live experiences with them is something that I think both of us are really drawn to. We would like to get on the education circuit. We already have a podcast where we talk a lot. (Kosmic Halitosis on iTunes and Podbean)

Otherwise just expanding the line. The floggers are just a catalyst for a conversation. It’s fun to make objects. We are going to work on insertables. I’m already working on a couple of wearable pieces that I’m going to be debuting in a month or so, probably. All of them are in the eco-fetishist fantasy world of Sacred Sadism which is a world where, as opposed to a master/slave situation, it’s a garden tender and a plant. If we were doing a theme, that would be the metaphor that we play with. It’s all very similar to traditional BDSM but there is a very distinct play space for it which is the garden, rather than the dungeon. Plants rule the natural setting as opposed to whips.

But yeah, we definitely have a lot of plans. We are not trying to become a sex toy company per say but we do like making the objects and see where the objects take us.